Alcohol Strength in Wine has Risen – Unit Measures to Change

The average bottle of wine has increased from 9% in 1978 to 12.5% today, and wine drinkers’ women in particular may be at risk without realising how strong that glass of wine really is.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has announced its first revision in almost 30 years of the method for assessing safe levels of alcohol consumption, in recognition of the increasing strength of drinks and larger measures.

The ONS said new guidelines are needed because drinks, particularly wine from the New World have become far stronger.

A small glass of (125ml) wine has up until now been classed as one unit of alcohol and because of the rise in strength, the new measurement will be one and a half units.  A medium glass of wine will become two units and a large glass three units.

Drinkers at home and in pubs are now using larger glasses and the flawed belief that one normal glass represent one unit has led people to drastically underestimate their intake.

Women are advised to consume no more than 14 units per week, while the figure for men is 21.  This now equates to three large glasses and 1 medium for wine drinkers per week for women.

The changes to alcohol units introduced by the ONS could place an additional 1.75 million Britons (1.2 million men and 550,000 women) above the threshold considered safe!

Millions of drinkers who unwind after work with a bottle of wine will be alarmed at these figures and the recalculation will also double the number of those who are already drinking to ‘dangerous’ levels to 3.3 million.

Ian Gilmore, the president of the Royal College of Physicians and the chair of Alcohol Health Alliance said “As a nation we are drinking above the safe limits and putting our health at serious risk doing it.

Hotter Wine Growing Regions Produce More Alcohol Strength

Wine grown from the cooler regions of Germany and being drunk in Britain back in the 1970s and 1980s had an average alcohol content of nine per cent.  However, the proliferation and increased popularity of wines from hotter regions brought with it much stronger strengths of between 12% and 14% alcohol by volume (ABV).

Australia, South Africa and American wines have become firm favorites with the British wine drinker and Jeremy Beadles, the chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said that the hotter climate in those countries causes the grapes to contain more sugar, which in turn leads to the wine being more alcoholic.

Admission to hospitals and levels of alcohol addiction more so among the under 18s is bringing Britain’s culture of excessive drinking to a dangerous high level of serious health implications.

According to a study form the Nuffield Council on Bioethics last month, deaths from alcohol have doubled to 8,000 since the early 1990s and statistics show the number of under age drinkers on treatment programmes have risen from 4,781 last year to 6,707 this year.  That’s a 40 per cent increase!!