-9-富山から References::Kenichi Shimizu, The Science of Wine Kodansha Bluebacks B-1240Liquor tax: Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%85%92%E7%A8%8EWhat’s your tolerance? Label alcohol tolerance by market:Wine Australia: https://www.wineaustralia.com/news/articles/label-alcohol-tolerance-by-marketLiquor tax list: National Tax Agency https://www.nta.go.jp/taxes/sake/shiori-This bottle shows 8% ALC/VOL on the label. However, the component analysis shows an alcohol content of 6.62% at a temperature of 20°C.◆ Alcohol content on wine labelsWhen we talk about ‘alcohol’ in wine, we really mean ‘ethanol’, also known as ethyl alcohol. Etnanol is produced when grape yeast ferments the sugar (mainly glucose and fructose) that occurs in the grape juice. In Japan, beverages containing 1 per cent or more ethanol by volume are subject to taxation as ‘liquors’ under the Liquor Tax Law. Wine is categorised as a ‘fruit wine’ along with fermented wines made from different fruits such as apple cider. However, in Europe and the United States ‘wine’ can only made from grapes. In most countries there is an age limit for the consumption of alcoholic beverages, and the amount of alcohol is usually indicated somewhere on the container, on either the front or back label. In Japan, it is mandatory for imported wines to display the alcohol content on an importer’s label together with the name of the importer. By showing the alcohol content, consumers can understand the alcoholic strength of the wine, which is a good way to raise awareness of alcohol consumption. But in reality, this information is driven by the Liquor Tax, which is fine-tuned to the ingredients used in liquor production, the method of production, the resulting alcohol content, and even the social circumstances and needs of the day. Alcohol has existed almost as long as human history, and as societies evolved Liquor Tax has become institutionalized, and an important financial source in most countries. In Japan, there has been a tax on alcoholic beverages since the Middle Ages, and it has been an important financial resource for policymakers since the Meiji Restoration. However, since 1950, with the rising tax income from other industries and a decline in drinking, ‘liquor tax’ revenues have declined as a percentage of the total tax take. In recent years, due to heightened health consciousness, alcohol content has attracted attention, so people sometimes check the alcohol content listed on the bottle. However, the alcohol content determined by the Liquor Tax is not necessarily the same things as health guidelines, as the way alcohol content is measured and displayed on bottle labels varies.◆ Measuring and labelling alcohol varies by country.The Liquor Tax is based on the unique laws of each country. In other words, it is not a universal rule, so the method of measuring alcohol content varies from country to country. So, if you export liquor that conforms to domestic labelling rules in your country, you may need to change the alcohol labelling to meet the liquor tax laws in the export destination. In the case of EU and UK, the method of measuring alcohol content is different from Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Australian producers wanting to export wines to the EU need to create a label specifically for the EU.In fact, wine is an agricultural product, so even if it is made the same way each year, the alcohol content will probably change slightly. Printing the exact figure on the label every time becomes quite complex, so in all countries a range of tolerance between the actual alcohol content and the figure displayed on the label is allowed. ◆ Alcohol variation ranges For example, for a sparkling wine in Australia or New Zealand, the alcohol variation range allowed for labelling purposes is plus or minus (±) 1.5%, so an alcohol content of 13% can range from 11.5% to 14.5%. In the United States, the tolerance is ± 1.5% below 14% and ± 1.0% above 14%. In other words, in Japan imported wines from Australia, New Zealand and the US may have a measured content of 12.3%, but the label may indicate an alcohol content of 11.0% or 13.5%. On the other hand, the variation range in the UK and EU is ± 0.8%, regardless of the alcohol content, and must be stated on the label. Therefore, if Australia and other countries export domestic wines to these markets, they need a different label from the domestic market.◆ Displaying alcohol content in Japan: Producer label, importer label, and actual measurement In Japan, since the import distributor is required to specify the alcohol content on a separete label, no special label is required at the point of origin. When importing wine to Japan, we need an ‘Ingredient Analysis Table’ created in the country of origin, which shows the actual measured alcohol content. In Japan, the range for alcohol content displayed on the bottle for fruit wines at room temperature (15°C) is 1% or 0.5%, whichever is closest. For example, if the actual alcohol content of an imported wine is 12.3%, on the importer label it can be: (1) over 12% ‒ under 13%; (2) 11.5%; (3) 12.0%; (4) 12.5%; or (5) 13.0%. So it is possible to select and display the alcohol content five ways.33 years ago when Village Cellars first began importing wine, all wines on the importer label were listed as ‘less than 15%.’ Since 2011, the alcohol content has been reported to the customs office as ‘listed on the label’. Recently, it has become necessary to supply them more detail, such as a photo attachment showing where it is written on the producer’s label.Taking all of this into consideration, in the future at Village Cellars we will display the alcohol content listed on the bottle by the producer in our catalogues, and to the first decimal place on the ‘importer label’ on the back of the bottle, with the alcohol content in units of 0.5% (rounded down). In other words, if the alcohol content is 12.3%, this figure will be listed in the catalogue, and the importer label will be 12.0%. ◆ Alcohol content for wine enthusiasts Aside from all the talk of Liquor Tax and alcohol content, the actual drinking experience varies ‒ with both high and low alcohol wines providing tasting sensations that differ from expectations formed by the alcohol content. That’s because the best tasting wines are all about balance.In addition, with the impact of climate change, recent European wines, which were seen as having a lower alcohol content than ‘New World’ wines, are tending towards a higher alcohol content due to riper fruit. On the other hand, ‘New World’ winemakers are tending to lower alcohol wines, through changes in the vineyard and winery. For wine lovers, though the alcohol content on the label is neither a guarantee of good taste or a health indicator, it is a good idea to consider its relevance as part of enjoying fine wines.Insights from our Toyama Cellar: Reading the alcohol content on wine labels

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