12 Posts about Wine

Wine is one of my favorite things. At the end of a long day, a glass of wine can make everything better. Actually, come to think of it, a glass of wine is the perfect way to end a good day too.

During the last 4 years of blogging I have had 12 blog posts specifically dedicated to wine starting all the way from the beginning (my second blog post ever was all about hosting a wine and cheese party). So if wine is your thing too, browse through these posts and see if you learn anything new –

2015-04-19 learning about wine productionChoosing Wine For the Holidays2015-02-03, 8 Fun Facts About Wine Wine and Cheese Party Game - Finding the Best Wine Under 10 Dollarscheese pairings with dibruno brothers wine and cheese for 4 under $80wine gifts under 30 pairing wine with pizza  understanding 8 basic wines 5 rules for wine pairing how to plan a wine tasting at an outside venue how to host a wine and cheese party

 

Are there any other wine questions you have right now? I have just the person to ask to help figure them out.29

 

Learning about Wine Production

2015-04-19 learning about wine production

Every time I go to one of Vicki’s wine tasting classes I learn so much. She spends the first 30-40 minutes presenting on a specific subject matter and then the wine tasting begins. This past week we learned about wines from Australia. If there’s one overarching theme that I’ve learned it’s that those Australian’s are hustlers man. The efficiency with which they produce wine is just insane.

In the midst of learning about wines from Australian I actually learned a lot about wine making on a whole, so I wanted to share some of those details with you today.

5 Things about Wine Production

  1. The top wine-producing countries in the world are France, Italy, and Spain. Italy and France constantly go back and forth for the number one spot.
  2. Over 50% of the world’s cork comes from Portugal, but screw caps are significantly cheaper (which is super useful when you’re hustling). While you can’t allow wine bottles in screw caps to age for many years, these days, most wines aren’t aged for long periods of time. And as for which one’s better? You’ll have to take to the internet on that one, seems to be a raging debate.
  3. An oak barrel used to age wine can cost $1,000. These barrels can only be used twice before the effect of the oak on the wine is negligible. Bottles of wine may say whether new or old oak was used in the making of the wine. Also, there are two different types of oak: French and American. The American oak has a looser grain, which means that it imparts more flavors in the wine. As for which one is correct, it’s personal preference, but fun fact, the Spanish prefer American Oak.
  4. If you constantly irrigate the soil, the vines will produce large, highly water-filled grapes. Soil that is not irrigated and receives less water produces smaller berries that are higher in sugar content. Because the equation to make alcohol is sugar + yeast > CO2 + alcohol + heat, having more sugar can create a higher-alcohol content wine. In the instance that you begin with large, water-filled grapes, you will need to perform additional processes to the grapes to reach higher alcohol content.
  5. In the late 19th century a group of European botanists brought a bunch of American vines to Europe. Little did they know, the American vines had phylloxera, little insects that eat and destroy a plant’s roots. The American roots were partially resistant, but over two-thirds of the European vines were destroyed. In the mid-1900s they thought to graft the European vines on top of the American roots, and since then that has been the preferred method of growing vines in Europe.

I love learning all of these little tidbits of information. It makes my trips to the liquor store much more interesting. For example, now I know if I’m ever looking for a Shiraz to head straight to wines from Argentina. So good.

Anyway, if you’re interested in joining Vicki for her next class, you can learn about wines of the Loire valley and wine terminology on Thursday, May 14 at Gallery Twenty-Two. Learn more by visiting the Vinocity website here. (I’ll unfortunately be on vacation (I know, boo-hoo Chrystina), but you can be sure that you’ll see me at the class in June.)

8 Fun Facts about Wine

8 Fun Facts About Wine

Last month I had the pleasure of going to a sparkling wine tasting event hosted by Vinocity, where I learned a heck of a lot about choosing wine for the holidays. Last week I booked tickets as soon as I received the email to her wine labels class. She talked about the information you might find on wine labels in France, Spain, Germany, Italy, and the United States.  I’m amazed by how much information she remembers, and then equally amazed by how much information I am able to retain after the event.  This month’s event is about wines of Bordeaux and I can’t wait.

I would like to share with you 8 fun facts that I learned about wine and wine words.

1. The French Word Terroir

The french use the word terroir to describe the characteristics of the wine people have no control over including the soil, geography, geology, and climate of a certain place. This is what gives each wine its own unique taste.

2. German Wine Labels

Most of the words that we learned about on the wine bottle in France, Spain, and Italy had to do with location, grape type, and/or being reserved; however, on German wine bottles their words talk about the sweetness. Because Germany’s growing climate is so much colder than the other countries, it is more unusual for them to produce some of the sweeter wines. They use the words trocken (dry) and halbtrocken (half-dry).

3. American Alcohol Concentrations Vary

In the United States, if a wine is below 14% alcohol, the wine label can say anything +/- 1.5%. This means if your bottle says 14% it may actually be 12.5% or 15.5%. If a wine is above 15% alcohol, the wine label can say anything +/- 1%. Many bottles you will find say 14.5% because there is a higher tax on bottles over 15%.

4. New World vs. Old World

New World countries tend to prefer more full-bodied wines with less tannins and a more oaky taste than Old World wine.

5. The Grapes in Burgundy

There are only two types of grapes grown in Burgundy, France, pinot noir and chardonnay.  Therefore, if you are drinking a red burgundy you will always be drinking a pinot noir, and if you are are drinking a white burgundy you will always be drinking a chardonnay.

6. American Oak

Spain uses a higher percentage of American oak barrels to age their wine in than other countries.

7. Oregon

Believe it or not, the state of Oregon laws say that a percentage of grapes in a bottle of wine must be of the same variety than California.

8. The Equation

As an engineer I’m not sure what took me so long to learn this equation, but Sugar + Yeast –> CO2 + Alcohol.  The second you know the equation, things start getting more interesting. This means that in order to create a more alcoholic wine you either need a) sweeter grapes, or b) to add sugar to the batch.

Interesting, huh? I’ve got to admit, I never expected to learn so much from a class on wine labels. The only thing I’m worried about is that the more I learn the more time I spend in the liquor store choosing wine. I guess there are worse things, right?

You can sign up here to get more information about upcoming Vinocity events. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Choosing Wine for the Holidays

Choosing Wine For the Holidays

Last night I had the opportunity to attend an event called Wines for the Holidays hosted by Vinocity.

I love wine. It, by far, is my go to drink of choice, but I don’t actually know anything about wine, I just know that I like to drink it. I haven’t made an effort to actively learn anything about wine because I don’t have a memory for details. Give me an equation and I can break it into a million pieces for you, rearrange it, and solve whatever you need according to units – tell me to remember a set of information that doesn’t include numbers and I’m hopeless. I can, however, remember stories.

Vicki Miller, the owner of the company and speaker at the event, knows her stuff.  Not only does she know her stuff, but she was able to tell story after story about the history of sparkling wines (like this story about Dom Perignon). And you know what? I remembered them when I walked out of class. And one of my favorite parts of the event was that as students walked in, Vicki greeted them all personally and it created such an awesome community feeling. I like people, what can I say?

Once storytime was over, Vicki shared some tips about holiday wine selection I wanted to share with y’all to make your holidays a little merrier (and easier).

Choosing Wines That Please

If you’re buying wine for a party, it’s best to choose fan favorites to please the whole crowd.  The most popular white wine in the United States right now is Chardonnay and the most popular red wines are Zinfandel, Cabarnet Sauvignon, and Malbec.  Stick to those and there will almost definitely be something for everyone.

Adding Wine Variety

If you are buying wine for a large party, the breakdown of wines should be 2 types of white, 2 types of red, 1 type of rosé, and 1 type of sparkling wine. Of course, if you are having a smaller party, you should stick to one white and one red to simplify things. One day, I hope to live in a house big enough that I will need to buy 12 bottles of wine for a party, I’m just not quite there yet.

Saving Leftover Wine

Both red and white wine should be stored in the fridge. Don’t bother with the wine vacuum stoppers because the seal at the top isn’t all that tight and as you’re sucking the air out, a bunch of good flavors come with it. The name of the game here is to stop the wine from touching oxygen – that means don’t lay the bottle on its side because more of the wine will be exposed to the oxygen. Instead, consider transferring the wine to a smaller glass bottle (like the cute little perrier ones) to create minimal wine-to-oxygen surface area. (Yes, I’m an engineer.)

Vinocity hosts monthly wine tastings where you get to learn a little bit and drink a little bit.  If you are looking for something new and exciting to do in the city that you haven’t done before and you like wine even a little bit (or want enough knowledge to impress your friends or clients) you should definitely stay tuned for the next event by following the Vinocity facebook page. Vicki hosts monthly events and each one has a theme, last  night’s was sparkling wines, and I can’t wait to see what next month’s is.  See you there?

PS. This is not a sponsored post, I just happened to really enjoy myself and wanted to share.

PPS. Don’t forget to check out Wine and Cheese Party of 4 for Under $80, Understanding 8 Basic Wines, Pairing Wines with Pizza, a Wine and Cheese Party Game, and 5 Rules for Wine Pairing.