Since you seem to enjoy these wine facts, here are some more to whet your palate.
We now have 10,500 wineries in the U.S. That’s a 50% increase since 2009. 45% of those wineries produce fewer than 1,000 cases of wine each and only 72 wineries produce more than 500,000 cases. There are wineries in all 50 states—California is home to the most (4,613) and Hawaii the fewest with three.
“I hover over the expensive Scotch and then the Armagnac, but finally settle on a glass of rich red claret. I put it near my nose and nearly pass out. It smells of old houses and aged wood and dark secrets, but also of hard, hot sunshine through ancient shutters and long, wicked afternoons in a four-poster bed. It’s not a wine, it’s a life, right there in the glass.”—Nick Harkaway, author, The Gone-Away World
Verjus, basically, is grape juice — typically made from pressing slightly underripe wine grapes before they get too sweet. (It’s an elision of the French vert jus, or green juice.) If you have any verjus in your home, it’s probably in your kitchen cabinet alongside your vinegars and oils; verjus’ sweet-tart harmony is great for salad dressings.
Viva Les Veuves!
The history of Champagne is liberally sprinkled with the success of larger-than-life women, many of them widows. Unlike many women in the early 19th century, widows (veuve, in French) enjoyed the independence necessary to run a business. While unmarried women were dependent on their fathers or brothers and married women were forced to rely on their husband’s money, widows were allowed to own property and businesses and control their own finances. In fact, the Champagne Widows were so successful that some Champagne houses without their own widow added “Veuve” to their labels anyway! Some of the most famous widows and their iconic Champagne houses include:
Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin Clicquot –
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin
Louise Pommery – Pommery
Mathilde Emilie Laurent-Perrier –
Elisabeth “Lily” Law
de Lauriston-Boubers Bollinger –
“Sardinians are famous for their daily consumption of the robust, regional red wine called cannonau,” says Buettner. If you’re on the hunt for the healthiest red wine, this is it. Cannonau has two to three times the amount of flavonoids (a type of antioxidant) as compared to other red wines. “Small doses of this antioxidant-rich beverage throughout the day could explain fewer heart attacks and lower levels of stress among men in this region of the world,” says Buettner. As with all things enjoyable, moderation is key when it comes to drinking cannonau. While one to two glasses a day is linked to the aforementioned health benefits, drinking in excess has the opposite effect, increasing the risk of diseases and chronic illnesses. The people in Sardinia tend to be in such great health because they enjoy their wine while following an eating plan consistent with the Mediterranean diet. “Another reason Sardinians may experience these wine health benefits is the way they consume it—always surrounded by good friends and good food,” says Buettner. Drinking antioxidant-rich wine with heart healthy foods while surrounded by loved has a powerful effect it would seem. As if you needed another reason to pop open a bottle of red.
A word or two about port:
It has been 200 years since the founding of W. & J. Graham’s, one of the top Port producers. Brothers William and John Graham started the company in 1820 and it remains independently owned by a single family—the Symington family. Graham’s is renowned for an outstanding range of Aged Tawny Ports, Vintage Ports and Quinta Vintage Ports. The Graham’s 1970 Vintage Port (which is still available on the market and costs a fraction of what it should) is thought by many to be one of the greatest Ports of the twentieth century. And I love a good port!
Because the color comes from grape skins (and not the juice), it’s possible to make a white wine out of red grapes. The wine is made like white wine, without contact with the grape skins. This happens more than you might imagine. For example, a Blanc de Noirs Champagne is a white sparkling wine made with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (red) grapes.
The dark green wine bottle was an English invention, the work of Sir Kenelm Digby (1603-1665). Previously wine had been kept in goat skin bags.
Bubbles in wine have been observed since ancient Greece and were attributed to the phases of the moon or to evil spirits. And you know how much I love bubbles.
The average age of a French oak tree harvested for use in creating wine barrels is 170 years.
I have published this before, but it seems quite popular:
Capacity (Liters) followed by the number of standard size wine bottles that would be:
- Standard (.75) 1
- Magnum (1.5) 2
- Jeroboam (3) 4
- Rehoboam (4.5) 6
- Methuselah (6) 8
- Salmanazar (9) 12
- Balthazar (12) 16
- Nebuchadnezzar (15) 20
With that, let me sign off of another episode of “wine with Gerry”, or that is way more than I ever wanted to know about wine!