• There are over 5,000 wine grape varieties in the world—many of which have multiple names.
• The Book of Jonah is the only book in the Old Testament that contains no reference to wine or the vine.
• The Romans mixed lead with wine to improve preservation, flavor, and texture. Unfortunately, lead is poisonous.
• Of the wine sold in restaurants, 55% is red wine.
• Red wine becomes lighter in color as it ages, but white wine becomes darker.
• There are more chemical compounds in wine than in blood.
• 90% of wine produced in America comes from California.
• Airén is the world’s most widely planted grape variety in terms of area planted; it is grown primarily in Spain where it is used to make white wine and brandy.
• And finally, a Latin proverb: “It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one’s present or future thirst; the excellence of the wine; or any other reason.”
It takes 2.5 pounds of grapes to make a glass of wine.
California produces over 17 million gallons of wine annually.
A glass of red wine contains 85 calories.
An acre typically contains 400 grape vines.
Wine bottles come in twelve different sizes.
A typical wine is 86% water, 11.2% alcohol, and 2.8% other. Over 250 different compounds have been identified in “other”.
American wine drinkers consume more wine on Thanksgiving than any other day.
Luxembourg leads the world in per capita wine consumption, leading the U.S. by 7.5 to 1! Mexico has the lowest per capita wine consumption with less than one glass of wine per person per year. (Happy I was not born there!)
The California wine industry provides over 150,000 jobs. More than 160 countries import California wines.
Napa Valley passed Disneyland as California’s number 1 tourist destination with 5.5 million visitors per year.
Sparkling wine contains 49 million bubbles per bottle, Champagne contains 250 million bubbles per bottle.
98% of all commercially produced wine is consumed within one week of purchase and 90% of the world’s wine is consumed within two years of its vintage date.
A cork tree is first harvested at about 25 years of age, subsequent harvests are every 9 years for 15 harvests. (No winder there is a shortage of cork!)
Top quality Napa Valley vineyard land sells for $100,000 per acre.
Well, in conclusion, you know me. I like the bubbles. Bonzai!!!!
Did I misspell “facts” or ?? No, I wanted to use some alliteration. But since you love my wine facts, here are some more for you to sip on.
Sixty percent of Napa Valley wineries require an appointment to visit them, versus 20% which are open to the public. Other regions of California are less restrictive: 5% of Santa Cruz and Monterey wineries require an appointment; fewer than 10% of Santa Barbara; and 30% of Sonoma County. I think that is totally ridiculous. But a man in the know told me the reason why. To address the number of drunk drivers on the road up and down the Napa Valley. Good reason, I say, especially when I am on a bicycle!!!
The German wine harvest will begin 21 days EARLY, making the 2018 harvest the earliest on record in Germany for the last thirty years. Grapes were picked in the Rheinhessen on August 6th. According to German officials, the early harvest is the result of summer heat waves and the general trend of warming in northern Europe due to climate change. The first photo above shows how the vines are planted and farmed. Very different from the U.S.
It’s hard to think of anything more magical than when an exquisite wine is paired with a scrumptious cheese. Which got us to thinking: Is there one cheese that pairs well with most wines? We asked our cheese guru colleagues and our Facebook friends. The consensus—some cheeses really are super wine-friendly. These four cheeses were especially popular.
Dry Jack: Mild and nutty. Pasteurized cow’s milk cheese with a firm, crumbly texture.
Comté: Fruity, nutty, salty, savory, smokey. A supple cow’s milk cheese from the Jura region of France.
Brebirousse d’Argental: A sheep’s milk cheese from France’s Rhone-Alps region. Buttery, creamy, mushroomy, sweet, and tangy.
Manchego: Nutty, fruity, sweet, tangy. A sheep’s milk cheese from the La Mancha region of Spain.
Could this become all the rage among bubbly drinkers like me? Who knows?
Pétillant Naturel wines, dubbed Pét-Nats by the hip wine scene of today, are the trendy new-but-old style of wine everyone is getting excited about. These wines are actually made using a method that pre-dates the Champagne style – and is way cheaper to do. Much like your parents’ old band tees and bell bottom jeans, they are back, and back with a vengeance.
Known for their al natural outlook on life, Pét-Nats have no added sulfites (although sulfites do occur naturally in small amounts) and little to no additives, making these wines pretty kickass. They range from white to rosé to red, vary in sweetness levels and differ in how soft and sudsy to full blown bubbly they are. They are usually low in alcohol, and more often than not fall in a reasonable 20-something price range. You could pretty much say with the diversity of these wines there’s a Pét-Nat for everyone in the family… or at least the over 21 crowd.
This style of wine originated in France and is said to be the O.G. of the sparkling wine family. The words Pétillant Naturel are translated to “mildly, naturally sparkling.” The production method that is used to transform these still wines into rad sparklers is known as méthode ancestrale.
The process goes a little something like this:
The wine is bottled during its primary fermentation, when the sugar in the grape juice is still transforming into alcohol. Then, the winemakers slap a crown cap on the bottle (much like a beer bottle), sealing in the carbon dioxide that is naturally created during fermentation. This is ultimately what converts the still wine into bubbly. Voilá – there you have it kids, naturally sparkling wine!
Even though the méthode ancestrale process is indigenous to France, these effervescent wines are made all over the world – from Slovenia to California and back to the Loire Valley of France (aka the motherland). In my studies (drinking) of Pét-Nats I have found one dominant consistency: THEY ARE ALWAYS CHANGING. Which makes them a curious thrill of a wine. When popping a Chablis or pouring a glass of California Cab we have at least an idea of what is about to hit our palates.
Undoubtedly, Pét-Nats are the hipster of the wine universe who shop local, wear Birkenstocks and use vegetable oil to run their car. They may never be as popular as Champagne, but they do deserve some steamy love for keeping this crazy world a little more sustainable!
Jordan Winery in Sonoma will be one of the first to open this weekend, by appointment only, of course. They will offer “excursions” and picnics into the vineyards to keep people at social distance. I just do not see how I would enjoy holding my wine glass in a rubber glove!!!
Here is their official story: Jordan Winery in Sonoma County is introducing $110-per-person (seems a little ridiculous) hikes this weekend, sending you home with a takeout box of wine and food. Since that article was published, Heringer Estates in Clarksburg is taking appointments for a short nature hike on its property, with a suggested $5 donation that goes to a scholarship fund.
|According to Nielsen, dollar sales of still (that is, non-sparkling) rosé were up nearly 35% during the 10-week period ending May 9, compared with the previous year.|
|Rosé isn’t just a wine. It’s a mood. And it feels especially transportive right now, possibly because it’s a beverage so well suited to daytime drinking and evocative of outdoor activities that are currently unattainable. The passage of time is moving strangely right now, but rosé has a reassuring way of marking the entrance to a new season. Sipping a glass of pink wine, even while confined to, say, your small San Francisco apartment, can make you feel like you’re on a beach, at a picnic in the park, at a big outdoor concert.|
We all know wine, beer and alcohol consumption is UP in general. But notice that we have fewer deaths due to auto accidents? A similar statistic occurred back during the first Arab Oil Embargo back in 1974-75. With gas at high prices, and rationing enforced, the number of deaths due to auto accidents dipped to its lowest in decades.
Basically, nobody is waiting until the weekend to enjoy a cocktail or “home” party. Just keep it in perspective!
- 1 Sukiyabashi Jiro.
- 2 Ginza Kojyu.
- 3 Kyoto Kitcho Arashiyama.
- 4 Hajime.
- 5 Ishikawa.
- 6 Joel Robuchon Restaurant.
- 7 Usuki Fugu Yamadaya.
- 8 Sushi Yoshitake.
But many Tokyoites grumbled that the guide gave high ratings to unremarkable restaurants, prompting wide speculation that the large number of stars was just a marketing ploy.
“Anybody who knows restaurants in Tokyo knows that these stars are ridiculous,” said Toru Kenjo, president of Gentosha publishing house, whose men’s fashion magazine, Goethe, published a lengthy critique of the Tokyo guide last month. “Michelin has debased its brand. It won’t sell as well here in the future.”
Why do we clink our wine glasses together before we drink? No one knows exactly—but there are theories behind this high-spirited practice and they lie in a darker, more dangerous world than ours.
One theory is that during the Middle Ages, a time of chaos and mistrust, glasses were clinked together so that wine sloshed between cups in order to prove that one drinker wasn’t trying to poison the other. Another thought is that glasses were clinked together to create a noise that would scare away evil spirits lurking nearby. Many societies all over the world, including ours, practice some kind of noise-making to scare away demons—bells rung on a wedding day, shouting on the New Year—and perhaps the clinking of glasses was meant to serve the same purpose. A third theory is that the clink completes the wine experience. It is a common saying that wine should fulfill all five senses—its color, aroma, body and taste fulfill four of the five senses, and the clinking of glasses supplies the fifth. The last theory, and the one that holds the most sway today, is that clinking glasses is a symbolic tradition from the days when everyone at a gathering drank from the same cup. Passing around a single cup was a way of bringing a group together symbolically and physically (as well as saving on dishware in an era before dishwashers and cheap glassware!). Nowadays everyone drinks from his or her own glass, but the symbolism is still present in the tradition of clinking glasses together. Not only are we physically bringing our glasses together, but we are cementing a bond of unity and companionship.
So, how about an often overlooked area for sparkling wines?
I am as guilty of overlooking Mendocino for sparkling wines as the rest of you. Let’s start here:
The primary Mendocino County stronghold for sparkling wine is in Anderson Valley, the cool-climate region near the edge of the Pacific Ocean where Pinot Noir and Chardonnay reign supreme. Those grapes, after all, are two of the main varieties used in the world’s most famous sparkling wine, Champagne. But in recent years, other corners of Mendocino have shown their soils’ potential for sparkling wine, too. No matter where you travel in this county, you won’t be far from some bubbly.
Louis Roederer, the French Champagne company that produces the famous Cristal, was among the first to see Mendocino County’s strong sparkling wine potential. When other Champagne houses were heading to Napa and Sonoma in the 1970s and ’80s — G.H. Mumm, to found Mumm Napa Valley; Moet & Chandon, to found Domaine Chandon; Taittinger, to found Domaine Carneros — Roederer decided to take a chance on the much more remote Anderson Valley, founding Roederer Estate here in 1982.
That bet paid off: Today, Roederer Estate produces one of California’s best sparkling wines, and at prices that are hard to beat. The standard brut, a blend of 60 percent Chardonnay and 40 percent Pinot Noir, retails for just $23, while the tete de cuvee, the vintage-dated L’Ermitage, is $48 — a steal by fine Champagne standards. –Esther Mobley and Sara Schneider
More of their article: You might consider Roederer your baseline for an Anderson Valley sparkling wine tour. Start here to understand the classic style of Champagne-method wine: rich, yeasty, bracingly crisp, with medium-low levels of dosage (the sugar that’s added to the finished wine in order to soften the high acidity). Taste through a flight of wines at the tasting bar in Philo, and ask employees if you can peek into the production area, where you might be able to catch a glimpse of the bottling or riddling processes. Got some time on your hands? Order a glass and enjoy it on the patio overlooking the gardens. Personally, I find Roederer a little pricey, but quite good.
If Roederer Estate is Anderson Valley’s Francophile sparkling wine house, Scharffenberger Cellars is its unabashedly American counterpart. It was founded by John Scharffenberger (who later went on to launch a chocolate company of the same name) the year before Roederer Estate. The founder sold his winery (and his chocolate company, too), and it became known as Pacific Echo, until in 2004 it was bought by — who else? — Louis Roederer.
Today, the two sister wineries represent twin takes on the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that this cool climate can produce. Where Roederer Estate’s wines are a little drier and zippier, Scharffenberger’s are softer and fruitier — more Californian. They’re also less expensive. The tasting room, which charges just $6 for a flight of eight wines, is homey, like an old-fashioned gift shop. Scharff is also very good, pricey, but a little lighter, which can be a good thing!
For years, if you thought of Anderson Valley sparkling wine, those two names — Scharffenberger and Roederer — were the only ones that came to mind. That changed in 2014, when a newcomer, Lichen Estate, came on the scene. Its owners had been making wine under the Breggo Cellars label for years, but after selling that winery they reemerged with a wholly new identity. Named for the moss that covers its vineyards, Lichen produces Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris in just about every combination you could imagine, including as sparkling wines. The blanc de noir, all Pinot Noir, is lush and berry-forward, while the blanc de gris — likely the only Pinot Gris sparkling wine you’ll taste all year — is savory and aromatic. Visit Lichen’s farmhouse tasting room on your way back to Boonville, and maybe even bring a picnic to enjoy on the patio. I don’t know Lichen, but would like to!
Here are even more:
A handful of other wineries in the area do produce sparkling wine: Handley makes a friendly blanc de blancs. Goldeneye, too, makes a lineup of bubbly, including a rosé, but isn’t often pouring these bottles at the tasting room.
It might be counterintuitive to look for sparkling wine in inland Mendocino, where the classic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay ingredients aren’t strong suits. But you’d be missing some gems if you didn’t poke around for a handful in Hopland. Grape varieties aside, there’s a reason Hopland embraced quality bubbly. For many years, only the big houses like Roederer could finance the expensive equipment and inventory that Champagne-method sparklers require. But in 2007, a custom crush facility — Rack & Riddle — planted itself in Hopland, equipped to make sparklers for all comers, and interesting bubblies proliferated.
Rack & Riddle has since relocated to Healdsburg in Sonoma, but interesting sparklers remain. At Graziano Family, don’t miss the vibrant St. Gregory Brut Rosé, about 75 percent Pinot Noir and 25 percent Chardonnay (Anderson Valley fruit).
A couple of doors down, McFadden Farm, under the Blue Quail sign, has a tasty sparkler from their high-elevation vineyards to the north in Potter Valley.
And in the same vein as the sparkling Pinot Gris above, Terra Sávia makes a sparkling Merlot! (That might be the only one you taste in 10 years.) It’s not red, like an Australian sparkling Shiraz — it’s a blanc de noirs style, pale, dry and full of tart cherries.
Okay, there is the entire article. Perhaps my next bicycle ride and sparkling adventure will be in Mendocino??
Are you glad you asked about clinking glassware??