Wine facts! Yes, this article is all about one of our favorite drinks. Here, you get to know some of the most little-known wine facts that you will enjoy reading and will, at the same time, garner some knowledge.
It will be a mix and match of health facts and fun facts about wine. So, get ready and grab a glass of wine!
Wine Facts: 1-5
1. There is an increasing number of evidence that shows that when one drinks wine regularly (albeit in moderation), the chances of contracting heart diseases, gum diseases, stroke and Alzheimer disease reduce significantly.
2. The red color of the red wine comes from the color that gets extracted from the skin of the grapes during the process of fermentation. White wine? Well, in this case, grapes without skins are fermented.
3. The smell that emanates from young wine is referred to as “aroma”. While the smell that emanates from a mature wine is referred to as “bouquet”.
4. Wine has several health benefits but that doesn’t mean it won’t harm. Evidence suggests that drinking wine can increase the risk (albeit marginally) of digestive tract cancer (in particular, esophagus) and even breast cancer.
5. Compared to white wine, red wine has more antioxidant properties. Red wine contains resveratrol , which is the primary element responsible for mitigating cardiac diseases.
Wine Facts: 6-10
6. Red wine is known to have antioxidants, but did you know that Soy Sauce beats red wine in that by a huge margin? Soy Sauce has 10x more antioxidants.
7. Speyer, Germany is the town from where the oldest known wine has been recovered. Dating all the way back to 325 CE, the wine was recovered from one of two sarcophaguses of the Roman era found in the town. You can see the wine on display at Historisches Museum der Pfalz.
8. France leads the world in wine production followed by Italy and Spain respectively. California in the USA is the world’s fourth largest wine producer.
9. Wine sellers who were fraudulent were to be punished by drowning in the river. This is mentioned in the Code of Hammurabi of 1800 BCE.
10. Want to know whether a wine is really good or has an inferior quality? Take a sip of the wine and hold in your mouth for one or two moments. Then spit it out into spittoon or simply swallow it. Now wait and see how long the aftertaste remains. The longer it remains, the better it is.
Wine Facts: 11-15
11. Ever wondered why wine testers don’t fill their glasses to the brim and why they swirl their glasses? Here are the reasons:
- Swirling helps to release wine’s powerful aromas.
- Glasses are filled only to one-third of the capacity to allow space for aromas to collect, and also to ensure that the wine doesn’t spill over when the glass is swirled.
12. Ever wondered where did the phrase “drinking to one’s health” come from? It came from ancient Greece where it was a ritual for dinner hosts to take their first sip of wine to prove it to guests that the wine was not poisoned.
13. Then came Romans who continued Greek tradition, but added something new. They took a toasted bread piece and dropped it into wine for tempering excessive acidity and undesirable tastes. That’s how the tradition of tasting started.
14. Romans also found out one more thing! Mixing lead in wine not only gives it a succulent texture, but also helps in giving it a sweet taste and yes, the wine is preserved for a longer time. Unfortunately, it turned out that the Romans faced the problem of chronic lead poisoning and many historians believe that it became one of the reasons for decline or Romans.
15. Some wine may have a watery taste. That taste has a name. It is called ‘dilute’. It is very likely that such wines are made out of grapes that had been plucked during rainstorms.
Wine Facts: 16-20
16. Why are wines stored in special cellars? That because:
- In the kitchen, the temperature is too high for proper preservation of wine.
- In the refrigerator – even at its warmest possible temperature – the environment is too cold for the wine.
17. Vinland was the name given to America by the Vikings. They found native grape vine profusions there somewhere around 1,000 CE, and hence, the name. Vinland means ‘pasture-land or wine-land’.
18. In the United States of America, Florida, New York and California are the states with leading wine consumption across the country.
19. Only the Book of Jonah in the whole Biblical Old Testament has not drawn any reference of wine or vine.
20. There is something called “Cork-tease”. This is the name that is given to that person who will continuously talk of a wine that he or she will open but actually never opens it.
Wine Facts: 21-25
21. Of all wine sales in restaurants, 55% sales come from red wines.
22. There is a condition called Oenophobia which literally means intense hatred for or fear of wine.
23. The history of wine in this entire world was profoundly affected by a single man. His name was Prophet Muhammad. After his death, it took only 10 years for wine to be completely banned in Arabia, and then it was banned in every country where Muhammad was heeded.
24. Ancient Romans had this notion that the primary taste of wine is not of much importance and hence, they season their wines with additional flavors by adding things like absinthe, lead, onion root or asafetida, garlic and fermented fish sauce.
25. 4 to 5 years – that is the amount of time it takes for a fresh grape vine plantation to grow and become harvest-able.
Wine Facts: 26-30
26. Tiniest of temperature fluctuations can alter wine quality dramatically. It is because of this, Global Warming can redefine future wine growing.
27. It is a common belief among various wine makers and consumers that if wine is genetically modified, uniformity will be achieved, but mystique and romance that have been traditionally associated with wine will be lost.
28. Hippocrates, in all his records of medicinal remedies, included wine. He argued that it helps convalescence, works as general antiseptic, works as diuretic and helps in cooling fevers.
29. Plato came up with an interesting argument that at the age of 18 one should start drinking wine. He or she should continue drinking it in moderation only to taste it until the person reaches the age of 31 and only after that person reaches the age of 40 should he or she as much wine as he or she wishes to so that the ‘crabbedness of old age’ can be cured.
30. Amphora was the standard wine container in the ancient world. Amphora was a container that could be carried by two people. It was introduced in Egypt by the inventors – Canaanites (people who lived in Canaan) during the 15th century BCE. Later, it was introduced across Mediterranean by forebears of Canaanites – the Phoenicians.
Wine Facts: 31-35
31. According to Thucydides, only after the Mediterranean people learned cultivating vines and olive did they emerge out of barbarism.
32. Standard of Ur – a Sumerian panel aged 5,000 years has the first wine drinking illustration known to mankind.
33. Wine discovery has a funny story. It is said that there was a semi-mythical man named Jamsheed that the Christians claim to be Noah, had a harem. A woman in that harem wanted to kill herself and thought that fermented grapes were poisonous and would kill her. She had it and instead of being dead, she finds herself lively and rejuvenated. Voila! Wine was discovered!
34. Epic of Gilgamesh puts wine making as a significant theme. Siduri – the goddess was wine making in charge. Siduri’s depiction suggests fertility and wine had a symbolic association.
35. Wine making is a pretty old practice. The oldest grape pips or seeds that archaeologists have found date as far back as 8,000 BCE. Such grape pips are usually considered as verification of wine making. Those pips were found in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey.
Wine Facts: 36-40
36. The oldest cultivated vine pips that have been recovered so far came from Georgia (then Soviet Union’s part). They are as old as 7,000 to 5,000 BCE.
37. Ancient Egyptians thought that the ability of storing wine till it becomes mature is nothing other than alchemy. The privilege of storing wine was hence given to the pharaohs only.
38. Wine was one of the items in ancient cultures that was used for facilitating trade. Wine brought many cultures in contact. For instance, Romans traded wine to get slaves. Greeks traded wine to get precious metals.
39. In ancient Greece, bubbles in wine were attributed to evil spirits or moon phases.
40. Time zones can play mind games when it comes to wine. In the Southern Hemisphere, grapes are plucked during a time when it is Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. So, an Australian wine of 1999 will actually be 6 months older than a wine produced in 1999 in the Northern Hemisphere.
Wine Facts: 41-45
41. If you think wine comes in just two colors – red and white, you are grossly mistaken. There are other colors too! Those unique colors include Pink, Orange and Golden.
42. Red wines, compared to white wines, have more alcohol content and more calories in general.
43. There are many factors that determine the quality of the wine that will be produced. For instance, soil nutrients, variations in temperature, sunshine amount, fog, moisture etc. all determine the wine flavor.
44. If the grapes are grown on soil that is clay-heavy, the produced wine will have bolder taste compared to wine produced from grapes that grow on sandy soil.
45. Grapes grown on loamy soils will lead to wines that are called ‘tasteless’. Similarly, grapes from warmer climates will be usually picked when they become ripe. Such grapes will produce sweeter wine.
Wine Facts: 46-50
46. Champagne is nothing but sparkling wine. However, it is called Champagne because it is produced from grapes grown in France’s northeast region called ‘Champagne’.
47. A sparkling wine sparkles because of the carbon dioxide bubbles present in it.
48. Red wines are to be served in wider glassware. This is because a wide glass will help in oxidation, which eventually helps to support its taste. Similarly, white wine should be served in taller glasses which are less rounded to prevent too much oxidation. Oxidation overpowers white wine and destroys its flavor.
49. Red wine and white wine both pair with different types of food. Red wine is best served with red meat while white wine is best served with vegetables, poultry and fish.
50. There are some general rules of thumb when it comes to serving white wine or red wine. The rules are mentioned below:
- If you are serving both red and white wines to your guests, serve white before red.
- If you have younger and vintage wines, serve younger wine before vintage wine.
- If you have dry wines and sweeter wines, serve dry wine before sweeter wine.
- Serve white wine at a temperature of 45°F to 50°F.
- Serve red wine at a temperature of 50°F to 60°F.
- If you are serving red wine, put the bottle inside a refrigerator for 20 minutes before you serve.
- If you are serving white wine, remove the refrigerated bottle from the refrigerator 20 minutes before you serve it.
Wine Facts: 51-55
51. If sparkling wines are to be enjoyed in their full glory, the bottles should be refrigerated and chilled thoroughly before they are opened and served. A bubbly bottle shouldn’t be opened when it is warm.
52. There are some wineries in this world that will actually print the best food pairs for the wine on the label of the bottle. This is quite interesting.
53. Wines, when paired with food, create something called “synergy”. This is basically a third flavor that comes out when the wine and food mixes. The wine or the food cannot independently give this flavor.
54. There are very rare varieties of wine that actually taste like grapes. Examples will be Concord Wine and Muscat Wine.
55. Red wines have a tendency of losing color when they age. They will turn brick red sort of color. White wines on the other hand have a tendency of gaining color and they will gradually turn into golden and finally into brown-yellow.
Wine Facts: 56-60
56. There is only one place in the world that has been continuously producing wine since the ancient Roman times. It is southwest France’s Bergerac wine region.
57. The reason why no other sparkling wine in the world can be called Champagne apart from the ones produced in France’s Champagne region is that that region earned the elevated status by what is known as Protected Designation of Origin Law. This is an European law that applies to wine makers worldwide.
58. Wine made out of frozen grapes is known as Eiswein. That’s a German invention.
59. Why are only grapes used for making wine? That’s because they are the only fruits (technically berries) in the world that produces sugar in its juice and nutrition on its skin for yeast to naturally ferment it. No other fruit is capable of doing that.
60. There is a particular class of chemists whose job is to analyze wine samples and then give crucial tips and advice to those who make wine. Those chemists are known as ‘Enologists’.
Wine Facts: 61-65
61. In ancient Rome, women drinking wine was just not acceptable. A husband could simply kill his wife if he found out that she drank wine! 194 BCE is the last recorded time of Roman history when a Roman man gave divorce to his wife simply because she tasted/drank wine.
62. You drink wine and your gums will tingle. It is caused by a substance known as tannin. You can see tannin as sediments in wine bottles. Tannin has excellent antioxidant properties.
63. A standard glass of white wine will have 110 calories. Exactly the same is present in a glass of dry red wine. Want more calories? Go for sweeter wines!
64. Red Burgundy wine is referred to as Holy Grail by winemakers across the globe. The reason is simple. The grape used for the wine is Pinot Noir and it is extremely difficult to make the Red Burgundy from that grape.
65. Europeans brought home some vine cuttings from the New World. Turned out that those vine cuttings had Phylloxera vastatrix – a tiny insect known for eating the vine roots.
So, in order to save their own grape vines, the Europeans had to graft the American vines to the root stocks of Europe. So, there is something called Pre-Phylloxera wine in Europe. It refers to the wine made before Phylloxera reached European vineyards back in the 1860s.
Wine Facts: 66-70
66. Traditionally, the method of storing wine was to keep the bottle on its side instead of keeping them standing. The reason was that when laid on side, the wine stayed in contact with the cork and thereby prevented the cork from drying up and then shrinking. A shrunk cork destroys the wine by letting in air.
67. In the ancient world, wine was carried in what is known as Wineskins. Wineskins were made of animal skin, especially pig sinks. The skin was cleaned thoroughly and then tanned and finally turned inside out so that the hairy side remained inside. Wine was then stored in it and the animal hair stayed in contact with the wine.
68. Monastic orders were the best innovative winemakers during the Medieval Ages. Benedictines and Cistercians were considered as best winemakers because it is said that they went around tasting soil to understand how soil quality changed from place to place. The knowledge collected back then is heavily used today.
69. Orthodox Jews need Kosher wine. Kosher wine simply means the wine that has not been touched by a non-observant Jew or Gentile anytime during the whole process of making the wine. This includes from the time of picking the grapes till the time of bottling the wine. And yes, ingredients should also be kosher.
70. When it comes to all fruit crops in the world, wine grapes take the number one spot in terms of total acres of plantation.
Wine Facts: 71-75
71. One ton of grapes is capable of producing 60 cases of wine. Each case contains 12 bottles. So, 720 bottles of wine are produced using one ton of grapes.
72. In 1922, Tutankhamun’s tomb was opened. The grave had buried wine jars. It was found that those jars were extensively labeled, mentioning the manufacturing year, winemaker’s name and additional comments like ‘very good wine’. The labeling was as good as today’s laws of wine labeling in many countries.
73. Symposium was the center of intellectual and social lives of Greeks. The literal meaning of ‘symposium’ is ‘drinking together’ and hell yes, Greeks loved to engage in intellectual discussions while drinking wine.
74. Universities and hospitals were two more institutions apart from monasteries and churches that had wine as one of the major income sources. One such famous hospital was Hôtel-Dieu, Beaune, France. It is now a museum.
75. Wine affects women more than men simply because their stomach has a thin enzyme lining compared to men. This particular enzyme helps in metabolizing alcohol. The enzyme’s name is alcohol dehydrogenase.
Wine Facts: 76-80
76. Le Donne del Vino – this was the first organization of females that was created for the promotion of the role of women in the wine industry. The organization was created by women of Italy in 1988.
77. There is a saying – ‘the bottle is ‘corked’’. It simply means that a wine bottle has a contaminated cork and this is understood if the wine you taste has a very musty smell which is very similar to the smell of wet mold or wet cardboard.
78. ‘Sniffing a cork reveals the wine quality’ – you must have heard of this. Well, this is totally WRONG. The only way to understand the wine quality is to taste it. If ever someone hands over a cork to you, inspect it to see whether it has cracks or breaks or it is drying or has molds. Also, expensive and high quality wines will have manufacturing dates and other information on the cork.
79. There is something called feminine wine. It simply means that the wine is more delicate compared to other wines. There is also something called masculine wine, which is referred to as ‘full’ wine or ‘big’ wine.
80. In Europe, wine is named after the geographic location where the wine has been produced. In non-European countries, the wine is named after the grape varieties that are used for wine production. Example of European wine name: Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot. Example of non-European wine name: Pinot Noir.
Wine Facts: 81-85
81. Here is an awesome wine trivia: there is something called a ‘numb’ wine. This is a type of wine which has no odor and will never develop any odor in future. Then there is something called ‘dumb’ wine. This too doesn’t have any odor, but in future, it will potentially develop some pleasant odor.
82. Holding the wine glass has something called the correct way or incorrect way. Correct way is to hold the stem of the glass. The incorrect way is to hold the bowl of the glass. In case of the incorrect way, the hand’s heat can raise wine temperature and change its taste.
83. It is believed that Champagne was created by Dom Pierre Perignon – a Benedictine monk. That’s not true. He actually invented many production processes and principles that are widely used in Champagne production today.
84. Wine tasting is basically smelling the wine. This is why women are better wine tasters than men, particularly those women who have attained reproductive age. Their olfactory senses are far better than men.
85. What really is a vintage wine? It is the wine made out of the single year’s harvest. Those wines that are produced by mixing harvests of two years or more are non-vintage wines. Vintage wine doesn’t mean the year of bottling the wine.
86. There’s a class of people called prohibitionists. They are also known as ‘drys’. They attempted, in the early 20th century, to remove the mention of wine from colleges and schools and even from literature of ancient Rome and Greece. They also wanted to remove medicinal wines from Pharmacopoeia of the United States, and also tried to prove that all the prices of wine mentioned in the Bible were for grape juice that was not fermented.
87. The oak trees that are harvested in France for making wine barrels have an average age of 170 years.
88. Romans discovered something interesting. They found that if sulfur candles were burned inside empty vessels of wine, the vessels stay free from vinegar smell.
89. Irrespective of the color of the wine, all wines are always stored at the exact same temperature. However, when it comes to drinking the reds and the whites, temperatures are very different.
90. Here is another fun wine trivia: “In ancient Greece, it was important to drink wine in moderation, and for that, a special glass was designed. If the glass was filled above the defined level, all the wine would flow out of the bottom of the glass.” The glass was known as the Pythagorean Cup.
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- Fact Retriever
- Napa Valley
- Scientific American
- Kickass Facts