So, I do run across interesting information about wine from time to time.
Forty three million tourists visited wineries in the U.S. last year, spending $17.7 billion in the process, according to Wine America Perspectives. In many U.S. wine regions, the “season” is now year-long. In addition, there are 319 official “Wine Trails” in the country. Crazy!
Washington State, the second largest wine producer in the U.S. after California, has 940 wineries. An average of 36 new wineries a year have been founded in the state for each of the last ten years. Washington grows 70 different wine varieties, the leading three of which are cabernet, chardonnay, and Riesling.
There are approximately 20 million acres of grapes planted across the world; thanks to this number, grapes are ranked as the world’s number one fruit crop. Thankfully. Where is the best place to go wine tasting? It is a tossup between the Champagne region of France, and our own Napa Valley.
On average, there are about 75 grapes in each cluster. One grape cluster equals one glass of wine. A glass of wine (about 4 oz.) contains about 85 calories. And as my diabetic friends tell me, ZERO carbs and cholesterol!!!!
The first corkscrew was invented in the mid-1800s. The world’s leading cork producer is Portugal. Driving across the country, cork trees are everywhere. And the cork is stripped in a circular fashion around the trees. It is a strange sight!
Syrah and Shiraz are from the same grape. The difference is in their style. Typically, Syrah is made from a cooler climate and Shiraz is made in a warmer climate, but they can be called whichever the winery chooses. Neither requires much aging.
Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are also from the same grape. Pinot Grigio tends to be a lighter bodied wine meant for easy sipping and Pinot Gris has more of a medium body taste sometimes known for being more of a “serious” wine. Of course, you knew this!
You can only call sparkling wine “Champagne” if it is made in the region of Champagne, France, otherwise it is known as sparkling wine, or wineries will give the wine a unique name. I think this is pure bull sh+t!!!! The French ought to have enough confidence to know their product vs the poor little “inferior” sparkling versions around the world.
Traditionally made sparkling wines are made with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier (although most tend to have just Pinot Noir and Chardonnay). The shape of the original shallow and wide-mouthed Champagne or sparkling wine glass is known to be a tribute to the “breast” of Marie Antoinette, but the Greeks claim it is a tribute to Helen of Troy. If you have not read the book, please try reading “The Widow Clicquot” as soon as you can, it is a great story!
Malbec is a grape that is one of the originals of the Bordeaux blend from France. It is not a ‘new’ grape as some suspect, but Argentina has certainly claimed it as its signature red! Of course, Malbecs are much more affordable, and really, just as good!
Pinotage is the signature red grape variety from South Africa. Although not easy to find, when you do find one you like, you’ll fall in love and share it with friends! Au contrar! We found it all over, and I even brought a bottle back home for Sheri. It has a definite chocolate aroma too. It is our friend, Barry the V’s wife’s favorite wine.
There is a winery in every state in the USA. So, which states have I been wine tasting? Just a few: California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, New York, Colorado, and Ohio. I like California best, but Washington and Oregon are closing the gap!
Red wine, typically more than white wine, has antioxidant properties and contains resveratrol, which seems to be important in the cardio-protective effects of wine…A.K.A. it’s good for you. IT’S JUST GOOD SCIENCE!
Since wine tasting is essentially wine smelling, women tend to be better wine tasters because women, particularly of reproductive ages, have a better sense of smell than men.
The custom of bumping glasses with a “cheers” greeting came from old Rome where they used this method to make sure no one is trying to poison the other (bumping glasses makes the drink spill from one cup to the other). This tradition started even earlier in ancient Greece – where the host was to drink the first cup of wine to show his guests he does not intend to poison them.
Speaking of which, in 1976, there was a blind wine tasting in France which has been dubbed the Judgment of Paris. Nine French wine experts judged a bunch of wines from both California and France, and wound up rating Californian wine as best in both the white and red wine. But I am sure you knew this!!!
In 2003, a man named Richard Juhlin shocked the wine tasting world at a blind tasting competition for champagne in Paris. At the event, Juhlin was able to identify the brand, producer, and year of 43 out of 50 different champagnes. The person who came in second place was only able to identify 4. Finally, someone I can look up to!!!
In a 1997 experiment, researchers alternated German and French music in a supermarket for two weeks. They found that customers were more likely to buy French wine when they were listening to French music and were more like to buy German wine when listening to German music. So, if they played country music, they would buy cheap beer or Two Buck Chuck??
Another notable difference, according to the Mayo Clinic, quote, “The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease.” It’s believed that drinking red wine in moderation might increase levels of HDL cholesterol, which you might know as the good cholesterol. And by moderation they mean up to one glass of wine per day for women and up to two for men. Just use some moderation!!! More is not better.
See you in Napa this weekend!!!!