Wine is a very old and complex drink with a long and fascinating history. It will take you years of study to really understand its intricacy and become a wine connoisseur. Today, it’s the occasion to sharpen your wine facts, look smarter and actually learn something useful about our good old friend Mr. Wine. The Wiine.me startup team of sommeliers answers for you.
What are the things to know about wine?
There are a few facts about wine that everyone can grasp quickly and that everybody should know! Just in case you find yourself at a posh party and you want to make a good first impression. It will also make you look at your cup a bit differently next time you're sharing a glass with friends.
Well, let’s go together through the most amazing facts about wine and make you wine smart in less than 5 minutes.
1. Drinking wine can improve your sex life
Wine facts - wine and your sex life
This is perhaps one of the most amazing and interesting facts about wine. When drunk regularly it can actually help you boost your sex drive. An Italian study showed that women who have 2 glasses of wine daily, enjoy physical pleasure much more intensely than women who don’t drink wine at all. A very good reason to start drinking wine, isn’t it?
The University of Florence doctors surveyed 800 women, all between the ages of 18 and 50, and separated them into three groups based on their drinking habits: red wine drinkers, those who prefer alternative alcoholic drinks and those who abstain entirely.
The women were then asked to complete a questionnaire assessing their interest in sex. Called the Female Sexual Function Index, the survey included 19 questions that resulted in a score between two and 36 (higher scores meaning a higher sex drive).
On average, women who drank one or two glasses of red wine a day scored 27.3 points, compared to 25.9 for non-red wine imbibers and 24.4 for those who abstain.
So you know what you have to do now, go home grab some wine, pour a glass to your partner and enjoy the rest of the night!
2. The world’s biggest red wine consumers are the Chinese but a really small country is rocking first place on a per capita basis
Wine facts - who drinks the most?
The Chinese drank their way to a record 155 million 9-litre cases of red wine in 2013, thereby surpassing the French whose consumption decreased by 18 % to 150 million cases. The increasing popularity of red wine in China is largely due to the fact that red is considered to be a lucky color (Yes, that's a fact in a fact!).
This symbolic importance combined with the health improving virtues of the drink, encourage Chinese to grab a bottle from the supermarket shelf more and more often.
Now, can you guess who the biggest wine consumers in the world are?
Well, while Italy is world’s biggest wine producer, Italian are only #4 on our wine consumers list surpassed by France and Portugal.
When it comes to the biggest US wine consumers the leaders are: California, New York followed by Florida.
France still drink more wine (all categories) per capita than the Chinese with 53 liters per capita per year versus 1.9 in China.
But which country drinks the most wine per capita?
The Vatican! Yes you heard me right, the Papacy is our grand winner, el numero uno! With 74 liters per capita per year which is about 99 bottles of 75cl per year! That is quite an impressive number so congratulations!
3. Not every wine improves your health
Wine facts - is wine healthy?
Red wines are known to contain many beneficial antioxidants such as polyphenol and resveratrol that have cardio-protective effects and anti-cancer properties. Grape skin is especially rich in antioxidants. Since red wine is fermented together with its skin, it has more antioxidants than white wine which is processed without its skin. White wine may even slightly increase the risk of contracting cancer, especially of the digestive tract, as some studies show. So, don’t drink more than 1 or 2 glasses of wine per day and it will help you:
- Have a better immune system
- Build better bones
- Prevent blood sugar troubles
- Reduce body mass (more on that later)
Now, I know what you're thinking, someone should tell scientist that they don't need to work so hard on finding reasons for us to drink wine every day but at least now you know!
4. Wine names usually indicate location or grape varieties
Wine facts - wine names and varietals
Most European wines are named after their geographical origin. One very famous example would be the Bordeaux wine which is produced in the Bordeaux region of France. Bordeaux wines are made of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and to a much lesser extent Carmenere and Malbec.
The reason wineries from the Old World name their wines after regions is because Old World winemakers tend to feel that the place where the wine was made has as much, if not more, to do with how the wine will taste as grapes. It is the idea that the sun, moon, soil, rain, and climate all impact the finished wine. When a wine is truly made well, Old World winemakers believe you can taste that wine’s terroir just as well as the grape’s characteristics.
Non-European wines (or New World Wines) almost always have the name of the grape (aka the varietal) on the label – for instance Cabernet Sauvignon from California.
Now you know!
6. We have monks to thank for our wine
Wine facts - say thank you to the monks!
Monastic orders such as the Cistercians and Benedictines preserved and innovated the art of winemaking during the Middle Ages. It is thanks to their research and indefatigable efforts we have such an elaborate winemaking technology today.
One of the world’s most famous Champagnes Dom Pérignon was named after a monk. Dom Pierre Pérignon (1638-1715), an early advocate of organic wine-making, experimented with new methods, successfully improving the winemaking process. His practices and techniques are still used today.
7. The color of the wine tells you about its geographical origin, and more
Wine facts - the color can tell you a lot about a wine!
One of the things that you can tell by looking at the color of the wine, is the region and climate where the grape vine is located. Darker shades of wine, namely the darkest reds and yellow whites come from warm climates. Lighter colors come from cooler climates and taste lighter and less lush.
You can learn a lot about a wine just by looking at its color.
Thank you Wine Folly for this amazing chart about wine colors! Age, concentration, winemaking techniques, sugar, location, all these information are hidden in the color of the wine. All you need to do now is learning to spot these differences and you're an expert!
7. Women get drunk faster from wine because of their water to fat ratio
Even for a woman who drank with Hemingway and has a martini named in her honor, Dorothy Parker, the heavy-drinking, acid-tongued writer and poet, acknowledged that she could rarely handle more than two martinis - "after three I'm under the table," she once said. But why is that? Are women drunk faster than men?
Women usually tolerate less alcohol than men, but this has nothing to do with their body weight or size.
If a woman and a man of the same size and build drank the same amount of wine, the woman would still show a higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC). This is because women have a higher fat content than men and fat does not absorb any alcohol. The intoxicant therefore spreads to less liquid, leading to a higher BAC.
8. Wine was discovered about 6,000 years ago in the Middle East
The earliest remnants of wine were discovered in Iran, dating back to the Neolithic period (8500-4000 B.C.). The oldest evidence of cultivated vines were found in Georgia, dating from 7000-5000 B.C. It is supposed that the drink originally fermented by mistake. Native yeasts accidentally came in contact with grapes stored in containers, turning the sugars in the grapes into alcohol.
The art of winemaking was later refined by the Egyptians and spread throughout the Mediterranean by the Greek. The Romans made it popular all over Europe and the Spanish as well as other Europeans took their brew to the New World, Oceania and South Africa.
9. There are folks that are afraid of wine
Wine facts - oenophobia
Yup! Amazingly, there are people around the world who hate wine and there’s even a name for it, it is called “oenophobia”. Worst phobia ever, right? Supposedly, people who suffer from this often do so because of the complexity that involves choosing and drinking wine. Oenophobia is also referred to as a type of social anxiety disorder in which a person will avoid wine altogether, fearing they are not well-knowledgeable about the selection. Individuals may experience anxiety, nervousness, embarrassment, or slight perspiration.
10. Wine Doesn’t Make You Fat
Wine facts - wine is the new gym
While beer makes that unaesthetic beer belly, wine does not affect your waistline at all. In fact recent studies showed that “women who routinely drank moderate amounts of alcohol, totaling about one drink per day, carried almost 10 pounds less body fat than women who did not drink at all”.
Experts believe that the calories in alcohol are not metabolized in the same way as calories from carbohydrates, fats or protein. So if you are about to start a diet to lose weight, then you should consider having a glass of wine instead of chocolate pudding for dessert.
New research now agrees with your quitter’s rationale: A glass of red wine reportedly ‘mimics’ the same physical benefits as hitting the cross-trainer for an hour. Good news indeed!
However, be careful as alcohol causes a temporary effect on a part of your brain that causes you to feel hungry!
And now you know...until next time, cheers!
The Wiine.me Team.