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Wine History

  1. The Reason for Rose

    The Reason for Rose

    The first question one might ask is, “Why does anybody need a reason for wine?” Wine, whatever variety you prefer, is a reason unto itself. Having said this, there are those who might feel some wines need justification, namely roseʹ. This wasn't always the case, and it’s certainly not the case in southern France, now or at any time. Roseʹ...
  2. Plastic Wine Bottles?

    Plastic Wine Bottles?

    If you haven’t seen it, I’m sure you might be ready to jump out of your seat. On Saturday (8/8/09) I came across and article in the LA Times Business section, “Plastic bottles aim to remold wine industry”. This article has brought up recent memories for the cork versus screw top debate. Now, no one who knows me would consider...
  3. “A Case for Wine” Exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute

    “A Case for Wine” Exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute

    I’ve often found that wine lovers and art lovers are the same people. After all, the two are a significant portion of what makes up the “finer things” in life. This view was confirmed for me this weekend when I was in Chicago and took a trip to the newly-expanded Art Institute, where a special exhibit, A Case for Wine...
  4. 6,000-Year-Old Winemaking Site Found

    6,000-Year-Old Winemaking Site Found

    Today, the media reported that archeologists in Armenia have unearthed the world's oldest known winery.  They think that the 6,000-year-old winemaking equipment, which includes a wine press and desiccated grape vines and seeds, was used to make special wines for funeral ceremonies held nearby.  Very cool! Read the full story on Time.com here. Click here to learn about the winemaking...
  5. American Wine "Newbies": Blame Prohibition

    American Wine "Newbies": Blame Prohibition

    Contrary to what you may think after reading a recent article about wine “newbies” in Wine Spectator, Americans have been enjoying their wine for quite some time.  Historically, the first Europeans that explored this land dubbed it “Vinland” because of the massive grape vines they saw covering the terra firma.  In fact, the early American colonies included “wine making” as one of...
  6. Wine... and Song!

    Wine... and Song!

    Beethoven was quite fond of his Wine Aside from Beethoven’s well-known drinking habits, and Mozart’s love affair with wine bottles as “romanticized” in Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus (1984), few people realize how great a role wine has played in the history of Western classical music.  During the late 16th to early 18th century, over 250 books containing “Serious” and “Drinking...
  7. Musical Wine Glasses

    Musical Wine Glasses

    When was the last time you ran a moistened finger along the rim of a crystal wine glass, making it sing?  Perhaps, after reading this post, you’ll give it a try tonight! Concerts of “glass music” produced by this same technique used to be all the rage in Europe.  There were even performers, like the blind Marianne Kirchgessner, with entire...
  8. Wine Collections: Fantastic Investments in Uncertain Times

    Wine Collections: Fantastic Investments in Uncertain Times

    To date, the most expensive bottle of wine sold at auction was a 1787 label-less bottle with “Lafite” and “Th. J.” etched on its front; it was a bottle of wine which some believe to have belonged to Thomas Jefferson.  (The controversy surrounding this claim continues.)  Though the value of the wine was listed as “inestimable,” it sold for 105,000...
  9. Fun Wine Trivia

    Fun Wine Trivia

    Did you know that California is the 4th largest producer of wine in the world?  The three top manufacturers are France, Italy, and Spain. When aged, red wines often fade, eventually turning a rusty, brick red color.  White wines, however, become more golden with age before darkening to brownish yellow. When a wine is paired with food, the food and...
  10. Wine Bottle History

    Wine Bottle History

    When we talk about aging wine, rarely do we realize just how recent a phenomenon wine aging actually is.  As mentioned in a previous post (Fun Wine Trivia), wine was not originally stored in bottles.  And when wine was not transported in animal wineskins, it was stored in large clay containers and secured with sealants called terracotta amphorae. While these 7000...
  11. How Red Wine is Made, Today

    How Red Wine is Made, Today

    Today, most red wines are produced using a process similar to this one... First, a vintner decides when the grapes are ripe.  This is done by taste, concurrent with today's technology of taking accurate sugar readings.  The grapes are then harvested and placed into a machine that removes their stems.  The machine also crushes them (without pressing them) so that...
  12. Champagne: a Holy Toast

    Champagne: a Holy Toast

    Named after the Champagne region of France, Champagne was first bottled by French monks.  But where do the bubbles come from?  The process of making the bubbles needed for this sparkling wine was invented by two Benedictine monks and cellarmasters: Frère Jean Oudart (1654–1742) from the abbey of Saint-Pierre aux Monts de Châlons, and Dom Pierre Pérignon (1639–1715) from...
  13. Winos, Healers, and Wine Weirdos: Four Historical Personalities

    Winos, Healers, and Wine Weirdos: Four Historical Personalities

    Frederick the Great, who brewed his coffee with Champagne instead of water Here are four interesting people who really enjoyed their wine!  (Whoever said history had to be dry?) Frederick the Great (1712-1786), King of Prussia, brewed his own coffee with Champagne instead of water, adding a little bit of powdered mustard to make the flavor stronger.  (Note: for...
  14. Biodynamic Wine Production: Fad or Fabulous?

    Biodynamic Wine Production: Fad or Fabulous?

    If you haven't heard of biodynamic wine farming, you probably will in the near future. This agricultural philosophy, founded in 1924, is sweeping the wine growing community, from France to Australia, from the United States to Chile. In fact, some of the world's most coveted wines are being produced using this method. What is biodynamic agriculture? Biodynamic agriculture takes organic...
  15. Discover the Dry Rose Wines of Provence this Summer

    Discover the Dry Rose Wines of Provence this Summer

    The dry, floral, refreshing roses that hail from Provence have about as much in common with those California wines as a Cabernet has with a glass of icewine. About the roses of Provence The Romans brought wine-making to Provence before the birth of Christ, and the region has been carrying on this tradition for more than 2,500 years. Today, Provence...
  16. Santa Lucia Highlands AVA and Pinot Noir

    Santa Lucia Highlands AVA and Pinot Noir

    As most wine connoisseurs are well aware, the Santa Lucia Highlands have been receiving a great deal of positive attention over the last ten years in spite of the fact that the region is a relatively small part of California's immense AVAs (American Viticultural Areas). The Santa Lucia Mountains separate the Salinas Valley from the Carmel Valley within sight of...
  17. Syrah v Shiraz

    Syrah v Shiraz

    Battle of the Giants The average wine drinker in America is not a connoisseur;  in fact,  far from it.  Most Americans who drink wine drink it because they like it  and they really don’t care about the factors which give wine its taste and body.  Most people can't relate the price of a wine to the quality they can expect...
  18. The Exciting World Of Wine Auctions

    The Exciting World Of Wine Auctions

    If you're interested in improving the breadth and depth of your wine collection by buying fine wines at auction, this piece will give you a brief overview of how to get started, what to expect, and who the major players in the US market are. A Little Commerce, A Lot Of Theater Participating in a wine auction has been described...
  19. Real Men Do Drink Champagne

    Real Men Do Drink Champagne

    I'm going to spend the next few minutes convincing you of the truth of this article's title, and I'm going to do it using two real life men and two fictional characters. Before we start though, some men might not even know exactly what champagne is.  In a nutshell, it's wine, but wine from one very particular part of the...
  20. Why Different Glasses Matter for Different Wines

    Why Different Glasses Matter for Different Wines

    The vast majority of the wine-drinking public are blissfully ignorant of the fine details of wine. Most are happy to drink wine out of any glass, regardless of the size, shape, or thickness, and don’t have a clue about why a wine glass should have a stem. There are those in this majority, however, who do have a glimmer about...

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