Sunday, November 15, 2015

100 Amazing Facts About Wine! (1-25)

Do you love wine? Chances are good that you do like a good glass of red or white at least every once and a while, as there are 893 million gallons of wine consumed in the U.S. every year, making us the largest wine consumer in the world. With some of the finest grapes and vineyards anywhere right in our own backyard in Northern California, it’s time we celebrate 100 amazing facts about wine. In this blog, we’ll cover facts 1-25, so stay tuned for the rest!

1.  There are certain things you should look for on every label of wine: the producer (the winery), the variety, the region and grape, the vintage year, and the alcohol content.

2.  It’s best to consume light wines, which usually have an alcohol content of 11-12%, within three days of opening the bottle. Stronger, darker wines can be drunk within 10 days of opening the bottle.

3.  Each wine has a specific recommended storing temperature. Darker red wines should be stored at 55 degrees Fahrenheit, lighter reds at 50 degrees Fahrenheit. White and sparkling wines should be stored around 45 degrees. Never should a wine be stored at room temperature (65 degrees or above) or in a standard fridge (40 degrees or below).

4.  Recommended serving temperature is different, with reds optimally served at 62-68 degrees and white wines between 49-55 degrees.

5.  For that reason, the household kitchen is usually the worst possible place to store wine. Cooking makes it too warm in there to safely store wine, and the kitchen refrigerator is way too cold to store chilled wines.

6.  “Aroma” is the smell of a young wine, while “bouquet” is the term to describe the smell of a more mature wine.

7.  Red wine becomes that color because the fermentation process brings out that color from the grape skins. However, white wins are not fermented with the skins, so they remain colorless or without red.

8.  The oldest bottle of wine ever discovered is almost 1,700 years old, dating back to 325 A.D. It was unearthed from a Roman sarcophagus in Speyer, Germany and is not on display at that town’s museum.

9.  California leads the U.S. in wine consumption, followed by New York and then Florida.

10.  The largest producers of wine in the world are France, Italy, Spain, and then California by itself – not bad considering Cali is only a single state!

11.  Grapes for wine production take up the most acres planted of any crop across the entire world. 

12.  The phenomenon of climate change around the globe is expected to alter the conditions of sunlight, soil, temperature, seasons, and moisture, etc., therefore dramatically changing the consistency of grapes and wine production in established regions, That means one day, we might not have wine made in Napa Valley or California, but Mexico or Canada may be hotbeds for wine production!  

13.  While it is common perception that the more a wine matures, the better it gets, that’s not always the case. In fact, the majority of wines produced are meant to be consumed within a couple years and won’t get any better with age. Only a small number are ok to drink after a decade.

14.  It’s been scientifically proven that wine has a stronger effect on women than it does on men, since women have less of a certain enzyme in the lining of their stomach that metabolizes alcohol.

15.  Growing one ton of grapes produces about 60 cases of wine, or 720 bottles. That means each bottle of wine contains the remnants of 2.8 pounds of grapes.

16.  The quality of grapes grown – and the wine they’ll produce – depends on many factors, like the type of soil, climate, moisture, the degree of the land’s slope, and exposure to sunlight. In combination, this is called the “terroir” of a vineyard, and it’s what makes each vineyard unique.

17.  The wine industry depends heavily on restaurant sales, as 55% of all bottles of wine sold are in restaurants, cafes, bars, and the like.

18.  New scientific and medical research has found that moderate wine consumption on a regular basis can reduce the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and gum disease.

19.  Red wine has a lot more antioxidant properties than white wines and contains resveratrol, both important for health benefits. (So drink red wine for your health!)

20.  European wines are named for the region where their grapes were grown and they were produced (like Bordeaux). However, non-European wines – including American wines  - are named after the varietal of grape they use, like Pinot Noir or Merlot, not the region they came from.

21.  For that reason, the word “champagne” is the name for a province in France, which means, “open country.

22.  Thanks to the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) law, the European Union declared no sparkling wine can use the label “champagne” if it was produced outside of that region in France.

23.  Speaking of champagne, its invention is often mistakenly attributed to Dom Pierre Perignon, a Benedictine monk who lived from 1638 to 1715. In fact, Perignon did not invent champagne, though he did develop and popularize the sparkling wine, so much so that his namesake still lives on. Upon drinking champagne for the first time, history documents that the monk declared, “I am drinking stars.”

24.  A typical of dry red or white wine holds about 110 calories, though richer reds or sweeter wines contain more.

25.  The psychological term for an irrational fear or hatred of wines is “Oenophobia.”

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