Mulled wine is often bad at Christmas markets

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Mulled wine quality at Christmas markets partly poor

At a price of over three euros for a cup of mulled wine, you should actually be able to assume good quality. Regular mulled wine checks, such as those carried out in Berlin, show that this is not the case. Drivers are better off avoiding the hot beverage anyway.

Already with the second cup there is a risk of losing your license. A glass can be too much. As the Thuringian TÜV warns, you can have 0.3 per mille in your blood after enjoying a cup of mulled wine. With this value, there is a risk of being reported because of drunk driving, at least if you are involved in an accident or make a driving mistake. From a value of 0.5 per mille, the driver's license is gone for up to three months even without an accident, and a fine and points are payable. This limit can already be reached with the second glass. With mulled wine, it is particularly treacherous that it is never entirely clear how high the alcohol content really is.

Wine law sets standards The EU has laid down in its wine law which quality standards mulled wine must meet. The alcohol content should be between at least seven and at most 14.5 percent. The hot drink may be made from red or white wine and contain spices such as cinnamon and cloves. Basically it is forbidden to stretch mulled wine with water or to heat it to over 78 degrees. If the respective criteria are not met, the beverages may only be sold as "flavored alcoholic beverages", otherwise penalties of up to € 1,000 may apply.

Around 90 percent of wholesalers “You can't complain about that.” Unfortunately, this phrase, which is so popular with Berliners, is often not appropriate for mulled wine. Peter Scheib can find this again and again. He is a wine controller for various district offices in Berlin and checks mulled wines at Christmas markets in the capital every year. "Sometimes I'm happy to be able to spit out the wine again, like chemicals from the dentist," he told the Tagesspiegel in Berlin. Around 90 percent of the beverages offered on the markets come from wholesalers. "But there are also some winegrowers who offer excellent products," says Scheib.

Partly poor In the last year, 11.5 percent of his 52 samples, which were evaluated in the Berlin-Brandenburg State Laboratory, had poor quality or labeling. The most common mistakes were the low alcohol content and a overcooked taste. Scheib advises to look at the color of the mulled wine, because if it takes on a brownish tone, the wine is already oxidized. This happens if the drink has been kept warm in the pot for too long. You can recognize fresh mulled wine by its beautiful dark red color.

Proud price is only worthwhile for homemade mulled wine The wine inspector also recommends that you inquire at the stand operator whether the mulled wine on offer is a ready-made mix from the wholesale trade or has been made in-house. A whole liter of mulled wine costs just one euro in wholesale. Therefore, the proud price of three euros to 3.5 euros per cup is actually only worth it for homemade mulled wine. (ad)

Image: Wolfgang Dirscherl /

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