Read some fun and interesting wine facts.  How many wine grape varieties are there?  Where is the oldest wine cellar in the world? Lots more.Good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used. - William Shakespeare (Othello)
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Wine Facts

So Many Grapes

Read some fun and interesting wine facts.  How many wine grape varieties are there?  Where is the oldest wine cellar in the world? Lots more.

There are 10,000 wine grapes varities worldwide. If you are looking for a particular one or just want more information, see our wine grape variety page.

The Oldest Wine

The wreck of the TITANIC holds the oldest wine cellar in the world and despite the depth and wreckage, the bottles are still intact.

Wine Toast

The word "toast," meaning a wish of good health, started in ancient Rome, where a piece of toasted bread was dropped into wine.

No Cork

As late as the mid-17th century, the French wine makers did not use corks. Instead, they used oil-soaked rags stuffed into the necks of bottles.

The Age of Oak

170 years is the average age of a French oak tree harvested for use in wine barrels.

Wine Grapes in the Air

Wine Facts

Flying brings on plenty of stress - between the crowds, traffic and delays. Bring some peace and calm into your small seat by learning how to enjoy a wine on your flight.

First off, set aside 10 minutes to relax. Shrug your shoulders. Roll your head from side to side. Listen to the most peaceful music the headset has to offer. Take deep breaths. At least for your flight time, there are no crowds, no racing, nothing to do. This is your time to regroup.

Flying also makes you dehydrated. The human body needs 8+ glasses of water a day to stay healthy and you probably haven't had that. So either carry a bottle of water with you, or get some from the flight attendant. Air travel can make you ill as it is, with the cramped quarters and stress. You have to keep your body as healthy as possible to fight that off.

The dehydration can cause you to lose up to 30% of your sense of smell, which is most of what you "taste" in a wine or any other food. That would make even the best wines taste bad. So keep yourself watered, to appreciate your wine better.

You're probably not going to find high end Champagne on your flight. There is a limit to the number of bottles of wine on a flight. They have to please most of the people. They have to buy in massive quantities to be able to have the same wines on all of their planes.

Note that first class passengers do get a better selection of wines made available to them. Why not offer those same wines to the coach passengers? Apparently the airlines think that those in coach wouldn't appreciate the wine choices - and also the airlines would then have to buy even more wines to keep the selections available, taking up space and adding to the plane's weight, luxuries they simply cannot afford.

Those little plastic cups you get to sip your wine out of don't help much, either. They do little to help you enjoy the natural bouquet of the wine you end up with.

You can make a game out of this. Pay attention to the wine that you order and take notes about how it tastes to you. And then find that SAME wine when you land and try it on the ground. See just how different it is in the two different situations. It'll add yet another dimension of interest to your high-air tastings!

Are there solutions to your high altitude problems? There are many plastic wine glasses on the market today- you can carry your own so that any wine you try is the best it could be in the situation. You can bring along water to keep yourself hydrated, which is important not only for wine flavor but also for your general health. You can take the time to de-stress so that you are enjoying the wine and the flight instead of being wrapped up into a tiny stress-ball. And finally, you can find a way to get yourself bumped up to first class to get the very best the plane has to offer.

And best of all, you can choose a flight on a carrier that is known to carry great wines in their planes. The top rated carrier for wine is FinnAir, but Delta and Continental also get good marks for their wine selection.

So wherever your travel plans make take you, enjoy the wine along the way!

Wine in The Lord of the Ring

Wine is shown in many key scenes of Lord of the Rings - and always with the characters who are the wisest and most knowledgeable about the world in which they live.

While Bilbo serves the masses of family regular beer in steins, when his best friend Gandalf arrives, Bilbo is quick to offer something much more valuable.

Bilbo says, even as Gandalf is still taking off his hat, "... tea - or maybe something a little stronger? I've got a few bottles of the old Wineyard left! 1296, very good year - almost as old as I am! It was laid down by my father. What say we open one?"

By Laid Down, Bilbo means that after the wine was bottled and then set aside to age in the bottle for many years. Bilbo is turning 111, so the wine is over a hundred years old! That's certainly a feat that not many modern wines can boast of!

Soon, Gandalf goes to talk to the head of the Wizards, Saruman. As the two talk in Saruman's study, they are drinking red wine out of cut-crystal goblets. Cut crystal is strong and sturdy, much like the carved tower of Orthanc in which they work.

Next, after some difficulty, Gandalf escapes to the sanctuary of Rivendell, home of the elves. The elves have been perfecting metalcraft and glassworks for thousands of years. Elrond himself has been a leader of the elves for over a millennium. It is no surprise that as Elrond and Gandalf talk about the situation, Elrond pours out a glass of red wine. The glassware used by the elves is tall, thin, and smooth, almost liquid in form. There are no sharp, harsh edges here - only the smooth curves of nature.

The last occurrence of wine happens in another Elven retreat - Lothlorien. Legolas walks somberly across the ground carrying a pitcher of red wine for the meal they are about to share. He tells the hobbits that his grief for Gandalf is still strong.

The Bible and Religion

Wine Facts Wine is mentioned 521 times in the Bible. Here are a few examples:

  • Genesis 9:20 - Noah, the first tiller of soil and planter of vineyards.
  • John 2: 3-10 - Jesus turned water into wine at the marriage at Cana in Galilee.
  • Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:34 - Jesus drank wine and was called a winebiber or tippler.
  • Proverbs 31:6-7 - Alcohol is for people who are dying and for those in misery. Let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.
  • Ecclesiastes 2:3 - Driven by his desire for wisdom, Solomon cheered himself up with wine.
  • Timothy 5:23 - Stop drinking only water; in view of your frequent ailments take a little wine to help your digestion.

The Catholics have Mass, a service during which Christ's Last Supper is re-enacted by sharing bread and wine. Catholics believe in the "miracle of the Mass" by which the bread and wine physically change into the body and blood of Christ. Lutheran and Anglican Churches have a similar ceremony called Holy Communion, but for them the bread and wine only represent Christ's body and blood.

The world owes many a famous wines and liqueurs to monasteries. They developed the beverages for religious reasons. The many services and celebrations held in the monastery demanded a plentiful supply of wine. To be self supporting, the monks planted their own vineyards, and wine making became part of their daily lives. They became experts in the art and often excelled in one of the many varieties that they distilled. Dom Perignon, a Benedictine monk, laid down the basic principles still used in making Champagne while he was master at the Abby of Hautvillers in the 17th century.

Drafters of the Constitution

The celebration party for the 55 drafters of the U.S. Constitution had 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, 8 bottles of whiskey, 22 bottles of port, 8 bottles of hard cider, 12 beers and seven bowls of alcohol punch large enough that "ducks could swim in them."

Thomas Jefferson's salary was $25,000 per year - a princely sum. In 1801 he spent $3,000 for wine.

Rule of Thumb

Before thermometers were invented, brewers would dip a thumb or finger into the liquid to determine the ideal temperature, neither too hot nor too cold, for adding yeast. That is where we get the phrase "rule of thumb."


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