Thursday, December 17, 2015

25 More Amazing Facts About Wine

“Beer is made by men, wine by God.” -Martin Luther

In part one of this blog, we covered the first 25 facts about the wine we love so much. Here, we cover the next 25. Please follow us on social media to see more blogs about wine and always feel free to email us if you have any questions - about real estate or wine!

1.  the unique qualities of grapes that make wine making possible, as they are the only fruit that can produce proper nutrition for the yeast on its skin and sugar in its juice for natural fermentation.

2. If you look around a nice restaurant and see the patrons sniffing the cork, let out a little chuckle at their expense. In fact, smelling the cork reveals almost nothing about the wine. But when the server or sommelier hands you the cork from a bottle of wine, look for the date and other identifying information on it, as well as signs of mold, drying, cracking, or breaks in the cork that could mean the wine is compromised.

3. If wine smells musty or moldy, that probably means the bottle is “corked,” which means somehow air got in and it was contaminated.

4. They took their wine seriously in ancient cultures, as The Code of Hammurabi in 1800 B.C. had a law that punished fraudulent wine sellers by death, drowning them in the river!

5. Not everyone was a fan of wine in ancient times, as the prophet Mohammed in the 7th century A.D. called for a ban on drinking wine or any alcohol, leading it to be outlawed from Arabia and from every nation where he was revered.

6. The Romans used to mix lead with their wine, which they found preserved it well and also gave it a sweet taste and rich texture. Unfortuntely, they didn’t know that drinking lead may not be the best thing for your health, and historians believe chronic lead poisoning was one factor for the decline of the Roman Empire.

7. In ancient Egypt, the kings and pharaohs avoided wine because they thought it was the actual blood of those people who crossed the Gods – and lost. A blood curse from the gods was also a perfect explanation for the temporary insanity and crazy behavior wine drinkers exhibited.

8. The ancient Greeks designed a wine glass that ensured drinking in moderation. If the cup was filled past a certain level, all of the liquid poured out of the bottom of the glass.

9. The Vikings named the North American continent Vinland when they first came around A.D. 1000, which means “wine-land” or “pasture-land,” because there were so many native grapes growing.

10. Still to this day in Vietnam, you can order a wine made from cobra’s blood in certain restaurants. How do you know if it’s really the blood of a cobra? The waiter actually takes a live cobra, kills it right in front of you, and then drains the blood into a shot glass of rice wine for you to drink, garnished with the cobra’s still beating heart.

11. Wine is popular among wealthy Chinese people, who like to show off their taste for luxury by drinking ultra expensive wines…mixed with Coca Cola or Sprite so it tastes better.

12. There was a clever way to sell wine without breaking the law during America’s Prohibition Era; grape juice mix was sold with the attached warning label reading, “After dissolving the brick in a gallon of water, do not place the liquid in a jug away in the cupboard for twenty days, because then it would turn into wine.” Hmmm…

13. A wine tasting competition in 1976 in Pairs compared Californian to French wines in a blind test. But when the Californian wines won and the French organizers found out, they blacklisted the one journalist in attendance from reporting the event.

14. In a wine tasting experiment conducted in 2001 at the University of Bordeaux, a panel of so-called wine “experts” gave the lowest possible score to an average-priced Bordeaux that was served in a cheap bottle. But when the same wine was served to them in an expensive bottle, they gave it some of the highest possible scores.

In the same study, white wine was dyed to make it look like red wine and then served to 54 undergraduates who were studying wine making and tasting, but every single one of them thought it was a good red wine.

15. If that’s not enough evidence that wine “expertise” is skewed by snobbery, a 20005 study revealed that scores of judges rated a wine by up to four points higher or lower just based on the bottle it was served in.

16. In a recent social experiment, it was discovered that wine drinkers would pay more for wines if they had hard to pronounce names. Even those wine drinkers who knew more about wine reported that difficult-to-pronounce wines costs more.

17. A newly planted crop of grape vines needs to grow for about four to five years before it can be harvested and made into wine.

18. When pairing wine with food, rich and heavy foods usually taste better with rich, heavier wines, and vice versa. That’s why red wines are typically served with certain cuts of meat while white wines go with white meats, fish, and seafood.

19. There is also a protocol to when wine is served during a big meal. Generally, lighter wines are served first and then more heavier wines are served for later courses of the meal. White wines should also be served before reds, and younger wines before older, and dry before sweet.

20. When you feel a little tingling in your gums with wine drinking, that’s actually the tannin, which comes from the grape skins, pips, and stalks. In fact, tannins (derived from the word ‘tan’) are only found in red wines and rich in antioxidants. You can spot them as the sediment that settles at the bottom of a bottle of red.

21. Darker colored wines usually come from warm climates, while lighter colored and white wines come from cooler climates.

22. Red wine loses color with age and will eventually be a brick-red color. However, white wines gain color with age, becoming more golden and eventually brownish-yellow.

23. The vast majority of wines taste like some type of fruit, not grapes. Only a select few like Muscat or Concord wines taste like the grapes that originated them.

24. Throughout history, wine was always stored on its side, but never standing upright, which keeps the wine inside from coming in contact with the cork, which could cause drying, shrinkage, and eventually cracking and air getting in, spoiling the wine. But it’s perfectly OK to store wines with an artificial cork on their side.

25. When a wine is referred to as “dumb” it just means that it currently lacks odor, though that may develop over time, like with many Cabernet-Sauvignons. When a wine is called “numb,” on the other hand, it has no odor and lacks any potential to develop it in the future.


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