Wine is made with grapes, but not typical table grapes you’ll find at the grocery. Wine grapes (latin name: Vitis vinifera) have thick skins, are small, sweet, and contain seeds. There are many different kinds of wine grapes–over a thousand.
It is one of the oldest beverages known to man.
Archaeologists found grape pips (seeds), usually considered evidence of wine-making, dating from 8000 B.C. in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. The oldest pips of cultivated vines were found in (then Soviet) Georgia from 7000-5000 B.C.
The first known illustration of wine drinking is found on a 5,000-year-old Sumerian panel known as the Standard of Ur.
When Hippocrates, widely considered the father of medicine, wrote out what would be modern day prescriptions (those that have been found and recorded), almost all of his “prescriptions” included wine as a cure for what ailed his patients.
In the whole of the Biblical Old Testament, only the Book of Jonah has no reference to the vine or wine.
When Jesus turned water into wine, He performed His first miracle at the wedding feast.
In the Middle Ages, the greatest and most innovative winemakers of the day were monastic orders. The Cistercians and Benedictines were particularly apt winemakers, and they are said to have actually tasted the Earth to discover how the soil changed from place to place. Their findings are still important today.
Besides churches and monasteries, two other great medieval institutions derived much of their income from wine: hospitals and universities. The most famous medieval wine-endowed hospital (now a museum) is the beautiful Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune, France.
Champagne, one of the world’s greatest sparkling wines, is popularly but erroneously thought to have been invented by the Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Perignon (1638-1715). Although he did not invent or discover champagne, he founded many principles and processes in its production that are still in use today. And he purportedly declared upon drinking the bubbly beverage, “I am drinking stars.”
The combination of soil type, climate, degree of slope, and exposure to the sun constitutes the terroir of a vineyard and what makes each vineyard and each wine unique.
The most expensive bottle of wine sold at auction is £192,000 ($304,375), which was paid for a bottle of 1947 French Cheval-Blanc, and sold at Christie’s, Geneva, Switzerland on 16 November 2010. The bottle was sold to a private collector smashing the previous estimates. The wine is of Bordeaux variety. ~ The Guinness Book of World Records 2015 ~
The Speyer wine bottle most likely holds wine, and was originally found in 1867, in what is now the Rhineland-Palatinate region of Germany, near the town of Speyer, one of the oldest settlements in the area. The artifact has since become known as “the world’s oldest existing bottle of wine”. The bottle has been dated between 325 and 350 AD, and is the oldest known unopened bottle of wine in the world.
Wine testers swirl their glass to encourage the wine to release all of its powerful aromas. Most don’t fill the glass more than a third full in order to allow aromas to collect and to not spill it during a swirl.
Most wine is served in a glass that has a gently curved rim at the top to help contain the aromas in the glass. The thinner the glass and the finer the rim, the better. A flaring, trumpet-shaped class dissipates the aromas.
When tasting wine, hold the wine in the mouth for a moment or two and then either swallow it or, preferably, spit it out, usually into a spittoon. A really good wine will have a long aftertaste, while an inferior wine will have a short aftertaste.
Wine glasses should always be held by the stem, so as not to overly heat the wine with your hand.
When wine and food are paired together, they have “synergy” or a third flavor beyond what either the food or drink offers alone.
Richer, heavier foods usually go well with richer, heavier wines; lighter foods demand light wines. Additionally, red wine typically is served with red meat, white wine with white meat and fish, and sweet wine with desserts.
It is traditional to first serve lighter wines and then move to heavier wines throughout a meal. Additionally, white wine should be served before red, younger wine before older, and dry wine before sweet.
Serving temperatures should be lower for white wines 7 – 10ºC (45 – 50ºF) than for red wines 10 – 15ºC (50 – 60ºF).
Traditionally, wine was never stored standing up. Keeping the wine on its side kept the wine in contact with the cork, thereby preventing the cork from drying, shrinking, and letting in air.
With age, red wines tend to lose color and will eventually end up a sort of brick red. On the other hand,
white wines gain color, becoming golden and eventually brown-yellow.
The Titanic wreckage contains what is considered one of oldest known wine cellars. Even though the Titanic sits at around 3,600 – 4,000 meters (12,000 to 13,000 feet) below the ocean’s surface, most of the wine bottles in the cellar were found to be intact.
There is increasing scientific evidence that moderate, regular wine drinking can reduce the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and gum disease.
You would have to drink 20 glasses of apple juice to receive the same anti-oxidant benefits of one glass of red wine. If you prefer orange juice, you’ll need to down seven glasses.
Women are more susceptible to the effects of wine than men, in part due to the fact they have less of a certain enzyme in the stomach lining, which is needed to metabolise alcohol efficiently.
Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy. ~ Benjamin Franklin ~
In vino veritas is a Latin phrase that means “There is truth in wine.”