From zero to hero – 10 fun facts about wine

Did you know that Angelina Jolie runs a successful vineyard? You do now! When it comes to wine, our 10 fun facts are designed to take you from clueless to clued up.

Polish up on your vineyard knowledge by simply skimming through our 11 fun facts. Saluta!

1.    How to drink wine

Wine connoisseurs know that red wine needs to breathe, ideally in a decanter between 16 and 18 degrees. White wine is best served chilled at around 10 degrees, rosé from 12 to 14 degrees and other sparkling wines at around 8 degrees. Another simple rule of thumb: the fuller bodied the wine, the rounder the glass.

2.    Who exports the most

At 20 million hectolitres, Italy is the world’s biggest wine exporter, closely followed by Spain (19 million) and France (14 million). At 60 litres per person annually, the Vatican City consumes the most wine with France and Italy in second and third place respectively. Bet you didn’t know that!

3.    Tell us about wine's history

Every wine connoisseur should know something about the history of the tipple. Early hunters and gatherers used to make berries into an alcoholic beverage similar to what we know as wine today. The oldest known wine cellars are located in modern day Iran and are around 7000 years old.  

4.    What’s the difference between Champagne and sparkling wine?

There isn’t really one. Wine laws classify sparkling wines as “Frizzante” and “Spumante”. Frizzante has a pressure of 1- 2.5 Bar and Spumante is higher at a minimum of 3 Bar. If the carbon dioxide is created through natural processes and if the wine has an alcohol content of at least 10%, we use the term quality sparkling wine, or “Sekt” in Germany. “Winemaker’s champagne” is the name given when fermentation occurs after bottling. FYI: the name “Champagne” can only be awarded to varieties from the Champagne region in Northern France.
And here’s another fun fact: Prosecco is not a genre but a type of wine or sparkling wine from the area around Venice.

5.    Mix it up

“Cuvée” is a French wine term derived from the word for “vat” or “tank”. It refers to a blend of different grapes. Red wine from Bordeaux is often a cuvée of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

6.    It’s all about the location

Wine-growing areas are classified either as single vineyards or wine estates. The German “Mosel” region is split into the areas Bernkastel, Saar, Ruwer, Upper Mosel and Terrassenmosel. One important estate in Bernkastel is called Trittenheim, while another prominent single vineyard there is known as Trittenheimer Apotheke. One glance at the label is enough for wine experts to know exactly where the wine is from, as well as which grapes are grown there and what the soil is like.

7.    A rosé is a rosé

And not a blend of red and white wine. Rosé is made either in the same way as white wine but with dark grapes or using a red wine procedure that is terminated prematurely. Look out for Blanc au Noir next to rosé on the shelf. It’s made in a similar way using dark grapes, but the skins are removed before they are pressed. When white grapes and the skins are fermented for as long as red wine, you get the unique tasting orange wine.  

8.    Name some famous winemakers

A host of celebrities have turned their hand to winemaking. Gérard Depardieu has 14 vineyards in France, Argentina and Northern Africa. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt make “Miraval” rosé in France’s Provence. Germany’s most popular TV presenter Günther Jauch took over his uncle’s vineyard and produces Riesling.

9.    How much for a bottle?

In 2010, three bottles of Château Lafite-Rothschild from 1869 were sold at an auction in Hong Kong for US$232,692 each. Normally, wines from the Bordeaux-based vineyard command a few hundred Euros per bottle. The price of wine is determined by rarity, location and the bouquet, which can be created by using a special barrel for example. The Dow Jones of wine is the “Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 Index”, showing the price movement of the 100 most sought-after wines.  

10.    Back down the earth...

At an average of 2.52 Pounds per bottle most of us spend sustainably less on wine. Every second bottle is purchased at a supermarket and only every sixth bottle is bought directly from an expert wine shop or a restaurant.