Wine is more alcoholic than the label says, according to new research

Researchers at the University of California found that 60 per cent of bottles surveyed had more alcohol content than stated on the label

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Anyone feeling a little bit under the weather after a week of festive boozing may have consumed more than they realised - as bottles of wine have been found to contain more alcohol than manufacturers claim.

New research by scientists at the University of California has found the alcohol content of 60 per cent of the bottles was an average of 0.42 per cent higher than had been stated on the label. 

The study of 100,000 bottles of wine from all over the world published in the Journal of Wine Economics found that Spanish and Chilean wines were most likely to have understated alcohol contents. 

The discrepancy - although it appears minor - can have severe negative effects if the drinker is unaware - they could find themselves accidentally over the drink-driving limit or it could have serious unforeseen consequences to their health.

But manufacturers were reportedly aware of the discrepancy with several admitting to researchers that they altered the percentage of the bottle to make it meet customers’ expectations of how strong their wine should be, the Daily Telegraph reports

Professor Julian Alston, of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis - who led the study - said: “A discrepancy of 0.4 percentage points might not seem large relative to an actual value of 13.6 per cent alcohol by volume, but even errors of this magnitude could lead consumers to underestimate the amount of alcohol they have consumed in ways that could have some consequences for their health and driving safety”.

The news has prompted fears from alcohol abuse charities that companies were misleading their customers for profit and called on the government to tighten rules on alcohol sale. 

Tom Smith from Alcohol Concern told the Telegraph:  “We need the Government to ensure accurate health warnings on alcohol products are made mandatory, as is standard practice in other countries.

“The public should be able to make informed choices about their health and drinkers have a right to know what they’re consuming.”