What if a scientific study found that increases in wine alcohol levels were not related to global warming, but were a choice made by winemakers? How would that change the debate about high alcohol?
We're reasonably close to finding out. Julian M. Alston, the director of the Robert Mondavi Institute Center for Wine Economics at the University of California-Davis, is in the middle of research -- perhaps seminal research -- that could answer that question. Alston agreed to talk to me about his work with two caveats: First, that I emphasize that this is an on-going project, and that he hasn't reached any conclusions yet, and second, that he couldn't be too specific about the project because he has promised an exclusive interview to the Wine Spectator when he is finished.
Still, we had plenty to talk about. More, after the jump: