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Splendide Mendax: False Label Claims About High and Rising Alcohol Content of Wine*

  • Julian M. Alston (a1), Kate B. Fuller (a2), James T. Lapsley (a3), George Soleas (a4) and Kabir P. Tumber (a5)...


Are wine alcohol labels accurate? If not, why? We explore the high and rising alcohol content of wine and examine incentives for false labeling, including the roles of climate, evolving consumer preferences, and expert ratings. We draw on international time-series data from a large number of countries that experienced different patterns of climate change and influences of policy and demand shifts. We find systematic patterns that suggest that rising wine alcohol content may be a nuisance by-product of producer responses to perceived market preferences for wines having more-intense flavours, possibly in conjunction with evolving climate. (JEL Classifications: D22, L15, L66, Q18, Q54).


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Splendide mendax: Nobly untruthful; untrue for a good object. We are grateful for data provided by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. The work for this project was partly supported by the University of California Agricultural Issues Center, the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis, and the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. We received helpful comments from various colleagues and conference participants, including Kym Anderson, Abhaya Dandekar, John Freebairn, Greg Jones, Alan Olmstead, Kevin Novan, Aaron Smith, Karl Storchmann, Daniel Sumner, Andrew Walker, and an anonymous referee.



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Splendide Mendax: False Label Claims About High and Rising Alcohol Content of Wine*

  • Julian M. Alston (a1), Kate B. Fuller (a2), James T. Lapsley (a3), George Soleas (a4) and Kabir P. Tumber (a5)...


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