By Cristián Santelices
- 8,000-year old winemaking materials were excavated in the Middle East, making it the earliest known evidence of wine production.
- In ancient Egypt, the ability to store wine until maturity was considered alchemy and was the privilege of only the pharaohs.
- Hippocrates (c.460 – c. 370 BC), also known as the ‘father of medicine’, used wine in many of his recorded remedies. He used it for lower fevers and as a general antiseptic. It was a remedy he used often for his ailing patients.
- Roman Historian Pliny the Elder rated 121 B.C. as a vintage “of the highest excellence.” This was the first known reference to a specific wine vintage.
- The world’s oldest bottle of wine is nearly 1700 years old, dates to around AD 325. It was found near the town of Speyer, Germany, and is on display in a German museum.
- In the Middle Ages, the most innovative winemakers were in monastic orders monasteries and depended on winemaking for much of their income. The Cistercians and Benedictines were particularly good, and it’s said that they actually tasted the earth to discover how the soil changed from place to place.
- The classic dark green wine bottle was invented by an English scientist named Sir Kenelm Digby (1603-1665). Before this, people kept wine in goat skin bags.
- Both red and white grapes produce a clear juice; it’s the grape’s skin that determines the color of the wine. To produce red wine, the grape skins are left in the juice during fermentation.
- You would need to drink 20 glasses of apple juice or seven glasses of orange juice to obtain the same amount of antioxidants you’d get from a glass of wine.
- One glass of wine is made up of roughly one cluster of grapes, and there are approximately 75–100 grapes to a cluster.
- One grape vine produces 10 bottles. One acre can contain 400 vines, resulting in five tons of grapes.
- One Bottle of Wine: 750 ml of liquid or 2.4 pounds of grapes (39 oz.) or 4 glasses of wine
- One Barrel of Wine: 740 Pounds of grapes or 59 gallons, 295 bottles of wine or 1,180 glasses of wine.
- A standard glass of dry red wine contains around 110 calories, for white there can be 160. Sweeter wine has more calories.
- 10,000 varieties of wine grapes exist worldwide.
- The average age of a French oak tree used to create wine barrels is 170 years.
- A wine that lacks odor, but may develop a pleasing odor in the future, is referred to as a “dumb” wine. Many Cabernet-Sauvignons, for example, are considered “dumb.” A wine that has no odor, and no potential of developing a pleasing odor in the future, is referred to as a “numb” wine. So next time you’re offered wine at a friend or relative’s house, make sure to call it dumb. It’s a potential complement.
- According to the Wine Institute, 14 of the world’s top 15 nations for highest wine consumption are in Europe, with Vatican City right at the top of the list. This obviously considers the consumption of Communion wine, but it’s still impressive.
- China has become the leading market for red wine—not just for its flavor. It’s a color favored by the government, and also is considered lucky.
- Intense fear or hatred of wine is called Oenophobia.
- “Toasting” started in ancient Rome when the Romans sustained the Greek tradition. They would drop a piece of toasted bread into the wine glass to soften unsavory tastes.
- 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.
- Wine ‘tastings’ are somewhat inaccurately named – top sommeliers agree that smell is by far the most important sense when it comes to drinking wine.
- Women were forbidden to drink wine in Ancient Rome. If an Ancient Roman husband found his Ancient Roman wife drinking wine, he was at liberty to kill her.
- Poor quality soil tends to produce better wine.
- The wreck of the Titanic holds the oldest wine cellar in the world and despite the wreckage and the depth, the bottles are still intact.
- As common as it is, the worst place to keep wine is actually in the kitchen because it is usually too warm to store wine optimally. Refrigerators don’t do the job either, and are too cold even at their warmest setting. If you don’t have your own wine cellar, try a closet.
- The smell of young wine is called an “aroma” while a more mature wine offers a more subtle “bouquet”.
- The proper way to hold a wine glass, particularly for white wine, is by the stem and not the bowl. Holding it by the bowl will raise the temperature of the wine.
- New studies have shown that polyphenols in wine (and chocolate!) increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain, boosting cognitive ability. The effect gets even more beneficial as you age, since there is a natural reduction in blood supply around the brain later in life. All the more reason to have a glass of ‘medicine’ and a little dessert every chance you get.
- Finally as Benjamin Franklin was quoted: “Wine makes daily life easy, less hurried, with fewer tension and more tolerance”.