By Terri Lively
Ahh…wine. There are few things that I look forward to more than wine o’clock. In my house that’s at 5pm. Usually I gravitate toward white wine, but an occasional red makes it way in there as well. And while I am a regular consumer, I can hardly differentiate between a good Moscato wine from a Sauvignon Blanc. This can be especially embarrassing since I recently moved to wine country in the Santa Ynez Valley (yes where Sideways was filmed!) and nearly everyone here could be featured in Wine Spectator.
So turning to my trusty information guru, Google, I found a few interesting facts that you might not have known about wine. If you are like me, you can use these next time you are in a fancy-schmancy setting and most people won’t know that you can’t tell a Moscato wine from a Sauvignon Blanc.
They really did smash the grapes with their feet, just not so much anymore. Made famous in countless comedic portrayals of wine making, stomping the grapes in the barrel was the preferred method for wine making for hundreds of years. To release their juice to begin the fermentation process, Grapes were crushed by the foot in vats as far back as the Roman Empire. Now, according to an article on businessinsider.com the only grape stomping that happens anymore is for small quantities of port wines.
Lucy’s Italian Movie’s famous grape stomping scene almost choked her to death. Speaking of grape stomping, Lucille Ball almost choked to death during the filming of the famous grape stomping scene. Apparently no one noticed until the filming was done. The episode won it’s timeslot during season 5, viewed by 8.9 million viewers in 1956. Here’s what they saw:
It’s a lack of sugar, not presence of tannins that make a wine dry. Some people think that tannins, which is what you call the bitter plant product found in wines, that makes them dry. But experts say that a wine is dry because it lacks sugar. Who knew? I mean besides the experts…
The reason reds are red is because of their skins. Before I knew this, I thought that white wines were made with green grapes and red wines with the red ones. But that is not the case. The reason red wine is red is because they leave the skins in the juice during the fermentation process. That allows the skins to disperse both the tannins I talked about before and the rich deep colors for which red wine is known.
Wine takes lots and lots of grapes. I was surprised to learn that it takes 75 grapes to make one glass of wine. That means I typically get about 150 grapes a day! According to 800wine.com, here are some more interesting numbers for you:
75 grapes = 1 cluster
1 grape cluster = 1 glass
4 clusters = 1 bottle
40 clusters = 10 bottles = 1 vine
30 vines = 1200 clusters = 1 barrel
1 barrel = 60 gallons 60 gallons = 25 cases
400 vines = 1 acre
1 acre = 5 tons
5 tons = 332 cases
There are countless other facts about wine out there. You might be surprised to learn some new things yourself. So pop a cork (which mostly come from Portugal), pour a glass of 75 grapes worth of Moscato wine and learn a little more about this elixir of the gods. Before you know it, you can be a fact checker for wine spectator or the expert at the next wine party you attend. Until then, have fun learning and Cheers!