Wine Facts

Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from grapes, generally vitis vinifera, fermented without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, water or other nutrients. Wine was discovered about 6000 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.

Wine Fact: The world's biggest red wine consumers are the Chinese. 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. 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. A nod to our friends at growing very rapidly in the Chinese wine market! [12]

Wine Fact: 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 with 74 liters per capita per year which is about 99 bottles of 75cl per year ! [12]

Wine Fact: The smell of young wine is called an “aroma” while a more mature wine offers a more subtle "bouquet."[1]

Wine Fact: 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. [12]

Wine Fact: A “cork-tease” is someone who constantly talks about the wine he or she will open but never does.[6]

Wine Fact: Wine Doesn't Make You Fat. 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. [12]

Wine Fact: Red wines are red because fermentation extracts color from the grape skins. White wines are not fermented with the skins present.[6]

Wine Fact: In the whole of the Biblical Old Testament, only the Book of Jonah has no reference to the vine or wine.[5]

Wine Fact: There is increasing scientific evidence that moderate, regular wine drinking can reduce the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and gum disease.[6]

Wine Fact: Soy sauce has 10 times more antioxidants than red wine.[3]

Wine Fact: While wine offers certain medical benefits, it may slightly increase the risk of contracting certain kinds of cancer of the digestive tract, particularly the esophagus. There is also a slightly increased risk of breast cancer.[6]

Wine Fact: Red wine, typically more than white wine, has antioxidant properties and contains resveratrol, which seems to be important in the cardio-protective effects of wine.[6]

Wine Fact: The world’s oldest bottle of wine dates back to A.D. 325 and was found near the town of Speyer, Germany, inside one of two Roman sarcophaguses. It is on display at the town’s Historisches Museum der Pfalz.[8]

Wine Fact: California, New York, and Florida lead the United States in wine consumption.[10]

Wine Fact: California is the fourth-largest wine producer in the world, after France, Italy, and Spain.[10]

Wine Fact: Wine testers swirl their glass to encourage the wine to release all of its powerful aromas. Most don’t fill the glass more than a third full in order to allow aromas to collect and to not spill it during a swirl.[6]

Wine Fact: Most wine is served in a glass that has a gently curved rim at the top to help contain the aromas in the glass. The thinner the glass and the finer the rim, the better. A flaring, trumpet-shaped class dissipates the aromas.[1]

Wine Fact: When tasting wine, hold the wine in the mouth for a moment or two and then either swallow it or, preferably, spit it out, usually into a spittoon. A really good wine will have a long aftertaste, while an inferior wine will have a short aftertaste.[1]

Wine Fact: The Code of Hammurabi (1800 B.C.) includes a law that punishes fraudulent wine sellers: They were to be drowned in a river.[2]

Wine Fact: In ancient Greece, a dinner host would take the first sip of wine to assure guests the wine was not poisoned, hence the phrase “drinking to one’s health.” “Toasting” started in ancient Rome when the Romans continued the Greek tradition but started dropping a piece of toasted bread into each wine glass to temper undesirable tastes or excessive acidity.[6]

Wine Fact: Romans discovered that mixing lead with wine not only helped preserve wine, but also gave it a sweet taste and succulent texture. Chronic lead poisoning has often been cited as one of the causes of the decline of Rome.[4]

Wine Fact: The Vikings called America Vinland (“wine-land” or “pasture-land”) for the profusion of native grape vines they found there around A.D. 1000.[5]

Wine Fact: A wine that tastes watery is said to taste “dilute.” It may have been made from grapes picked during a rainstorm.[6]

Wine Fact: The worst place to store wine is usually in the kitchen because it is typically too warm to store wine safely. Refrigerators are not satisfactory for storing wine either. Even at their warmest setting, they’re too cold.[6]

Wine Fact: Richer, heavier foods usually go well with richer, heavier wines; lighter foods demand light wines. Additionally, red wine typically is served with red meat, white wine with white meat and fish, and sweet wine with desserts.[1]

Wine Fact: It is traditional to first serve lighter wines and then move to heavier wines throughout a meal. Additionally, white wine should be served before red, younger wine before older, and dry wine before sweet.[6]

Wine Fact: Serving temperatures should be lower for white (45-50 degrees Fahrenheit) than for red wines (50-60 degrees Fahrenheit).[6]

Wine Fact: The prohibitionists, or the “drys,” in the early twentieth century fought to remove any mention of wine from school and college texts, including Greek and Roman literature. They also sought to remove medicinal wines from the United States Pharmacopoeia and to prove that Biblical praises of wine were for unfermented grape juice.[11]

Wine Fact: The vintage year isn’t necessarily the year wine is bottled, because some wines may not be bottled the same year the grapes are picked. Typically, a vintage wine is a product of a single year’s harvest. A non-vintage wine is a blend of wines from two or more years.[6]

Wine Fact: Since wine tasting is essentially wine smelling, women tend to be better wine testers because women, particularly of reproductive ages, have a better sense of smell than men.[9]

Wine Fact: Champagne, one of the world’s greatest sparkling wines, is popularly but erroneously thought to have been invented by the Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Perignon (1638-1715). Although he did not invent or discover champagne, he founded many principles and processes in its production that are still in use today. And he purportedly declared upon drinking the bubbly beverage, “I am drinking stars.”[11]

Wine Fact: There is a right and wrong way to hold a wine glass. Wine glasses should always be held by the stem and not the bowl because the heat of the hand will raise the temperature of the wine.[1]

Wine Fact: Noble rot, or pourriture noble, is a benign type of grape fungus that can actually sweeten some types of wine.e[6]

Wine Fact: Not all wines improve with time. In fact, a vast majority of wines produced are ready to drink and do not have much potential for aging. Only a rare few will last longer than a decade.[1]

Wine Fact: A “dumb” wine refers to the lack of odor in a wine, though it may develop a pleasing odor in the future. Many Cabernet-Sauvignons, for example, are considered "dumb." A "numb" wine, on the other hand, has no odor and no potential of developing a pleasing odor in the future.[1]

Wine Fact: European wines are named after their geographic locations (e.g., Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot and Bordeaux) while non-European wines (e.g., Pinot Noir and Merlot) are named after different grape varieties.[10]

Wine Fact: A feminine wine is a wine that is more delicate than most. A masculine wine refers to a “big” or “full” wine.[1]

Wine Fact: Contrary to traditional belief, smelling the cork reveals little about the wine. Instead, if a server or sommelier hands you a cork, you should look for the date and other identifying information (inexpensive wine won’t have these features). Additionally, look for mold, drying, cracking, or breaks in the cork.[6]

Wine Fact: A wine that has a musty smell, similar to wet cardboard or mold, may mean that the bottle is “corked” (the bottle has a contaminated cork).[6]

Wine Fact: An Italian study argues that women who drink two glasses of wine a day have better sex than those who don’t drink at all.[7]

Wine Fact: In 1988, Italian women started one of the first female organizations devoted to wine, the Le Donne del Vino. Its goal is to encourage and promote women's role in the Italian wine industry.[9]

Wine Fact: Women are more susceptible to the effects of wine than men partly because they have less of an enzyme in the lining of the stomach that is needed to metabolize alcohol efficiently.[9]

Wine Fact: Besides churches and monasteries, two other great medieval institutions derived much of their income from wine: hospitals and universities. The most famous medieval wine-endowed hospital (now a museum) is the beautiful Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune, France.[5]

Wine Fact: At the center of Greek social and intellectual life was the symposium, which literally means, “drinking together.” Indeed, the symposium reflects Greek fondness for mixing wine and intellectual discussion.[2]

Wine Fact: When Tutankhamen’s tomb was opened in 1922, the wine jars buried with him were labeled with the year, the name of the winemaker, and comments such as “very good wine.” The labels were so specific that they could actually meet modern wine label laws of several countries.[4]

Wine Fact: One ton of grapes makes about 60 cases of wine, or 720 bottles. One bottle of wine contains about 2.8 pounds of grapes.[6]

Wine Fact: Greece is the only country in the world that has perpetuated up to the present the ancient tradition of adding a tree resin to wine to give it a unique sappy taste. Most non-Greeks assert this type of Greek wine or retsina wine is an acquired taste and should be served very cold.[6]

Wine Fact: Wine grapes rank number one among the world’s fruit crops in terms of acres planted.[10]

Wine Fact: Wine for Orthodox Jews must be kosher, meaning it must not be touched at any point in its process (from picking of the grapes to bottling it) by either a “Gentile” or non-observant Jew and it must contain only kosher ingredients.[11]

Wine Fact: The combination of soil type, climate, degree of slope, and exposure to the sun constitutes the terroir of a vineyard and what makes each vineyard and each wine unique.[10]

Wine Fact: In the Middle Ages, the greatest and most innovative winemakers of the day were monastic orders. The Cistercians and Benedictines were particularly apt winemakers, and they are said to have actually tasted the earth to discover how the soil changed from place to place. Their findings are still important today.[5]

Wine Fact: Wineskins were a common way to transport wine in the ancient world. Animal skins (usually pig) were cleaned and tanned and turned inside out so that the hairy side was in contact with the wine.[6]

Wine Fact: Traditionally, wine was never stored standing up. Keeping the wine on its side kept the wine in contact with the cork, thereby preventing the cork from drying, shrinking, and letting in air. However, wine can be stored vertically if the bottle has an artificial cork.[6]

Wine Fact: A few vine cuttings from the New World brought to Europe spread a tiny insect called Phylloxera vastatrix, which feeds on the roots of vines. The only way to save European grape vines was to graft native American vines to European rootstocks. Consequently, Pre-Phylloxera wine, strictly speaking, is one made in the years before Phylloxera reached the vineyards in the 1860s, though the phrase is also used to mean wine from ungrafted vines.[11]

Wine Fact: Early Roman women were forbidden to drink wine, and a husband who found his wife drinking was at liberty to kill her. Divorce on the same grounds was last recorded in Rome in 194 B.C.[8]

Wine Fact: A standard glass of dry red or white wine contains around 110 calories. Sweeter wine has more calories.[1]

Wine Fact: The substance in wine that tingles the gums is tannin (related to the word “tan”), which is derived from the skins, pips, and stalks of grapes. It is usually found only in red wine and is an excellent antioxidant. Visually, it is the sediment found at the bottom of the bottle.[6]

Wine Fact: Darker shades of wine (the deepest, blackest reds and the most golden whites) usually come from warm climates and are rich and ripe. Lighter colors, especially in white wines, come from cooler climates and are lighter and less lush.[6]

Wine Fact: With age, red wines tend to lose color and will eventually end up a sort of brick red. On the other hand, white wines gain color, becoming golden and eventually brown-yellow.[6]

Wine Fact: All wines taste like fruit. Only rarely does a wine taste like grapes—for example, Muscat or Concord wines.[6]

Wine Fact: Red Burgundy is made from the Pinot Noir grape and is so difficult to make that winemakers all over the world see it as some kind of Holy Grail.[6]

Wine Fact: When wine and food are paired together, they have “synergy” or a third flavor beyond what either the food or drink offers alone.[1]

Wine Fact: The Germans invented Eiswein, or wine that is made from frozen grapes.[6]

Wine Fact: Enologists are wine chemists who analyze samples of wine and advise winemakers.[6]

Wine Fact: The word “champagne” is named after a province in France, meaning “open country. Due to the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) law in Europe, sparkling wine made outside the Champagne region of France can no longer be called “champagne.”[10]

Wine Fact: The Bergerac wine region in southwest France has produced wine since Roman times.[6]

Wine Fact: The English word “wine” may be rooted in the Semitic yayin (lamentation and wailing). In Arabic, the word is wain, in Greek it is oinos, and in the Romance languages it is vin, vino, vina, vinho.[8]

Wine Fact: Grapes are the only fruit that are capable of producing the proper nutrition for the yeast on its skin and sugar in its juice to ferment naturally.[1]

Wine Fact: Because grapes in the Southern Hemisphere are picked during what is Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, a 1999 Australian wine could be six months older than a 1999.[6]

Wine Fact: Bubbles in wine have been observed since ancient Greece and were attributed to the phases of the moon or to evil spirits.[4]

Wine Fact: Wine facilitated contacts between ancient cultures, providing the motive and means of trade. For example, the Greeks traded wine for precious metals, and the Romans traded wine for slaves.[11]

Wine Fact: In ancient Egypt, the ability to store wine until maturity was considered alchemy and was the privilege of only the pharaohs.[8]

Wine Fact: Women get drunk faster from wine because of their water to fat ratio. 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. [12]

Wine Fact: Archaeologists found grape pips (seeds), usually considered evidence of winemaking, dating from 8000 B.C. in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. The oldest pips of cultivated vines were found in (then Soviet) Georgia from 7000-5000 B.C.[8]

Wine Fact: Winemaking is a significant theme in one of the oldest literary works known, the Epic of Gilgamesh. The divinity in charge of the wine was the goddess Siduri, whose depiction suggests a symbolic association between wine and fertility.[5]

Wine Fact: One of the most quoted legends about the discovery of wine is the story of Jamsheed a semi-mythical Persian king (who may have been Noah). A woman of his harem tried to take her life with fermented grapes, which were thought to be poisonous. Wine was discovered when she found herself rejuvenated and lively.[5]

Wine Fact: The first known illustration of wine drinking is found on a 5,000-year-old Sumerian panel known as the Standard of Ur.[5]

Wine Fact: Thucydides wrote that the people of the Mediterranean began to “emerge from barbarism when they learned to cultivate the oil and the vine.”[5]

Wine Fact: The standard wine container of the ancient world was the amphora (something which can be carried by two), a clay vase with two handles. It was invented by the Canaanites, who introduced it into Egypt before the fifteenth century B.C. Their forebears, the Phoenicians, spread its use throughout the Mediterranean.[8]

Wine Fact: Plato argued that the minimum drinking age should be 18, and then wine in moderation may be tasted until 31. When a man reaches 40, he may drink as much as he wants to cure the “crabbedness of old age.”[2]

Wine Fact: Drinking wine can improve 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?[12]

Wine Fact: Hippocrates, widely considered the father of medicine, includes wine in almost every one of his recorded remedies. He used it for cooling fevers, as a diuretic, as a general antiseptic, and to help convalescence.[2]

Wine Fact: Oenophobia is an intense fear or hatred of wine.[6]

Wine Fact: Ancient Romans thought seasoning was more important than the primary flavor of wine and often added fermented fish sauce, garlic, asafetida (onion root), lead, and absinthe.[6]

Wine Fact: The man who most profoundly affected the history of wine was the prophet Mohammed. Within ten years of his death in A.D. 632, wine was largely banned from Arabia and from every country that heeded him.[5]

Wine Fact: Wine Names Usually Indicate Location or Grape Varieties.

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. Non-European wines almost always have the name of the grape (aka the varietal) on the label - for instance Cabernet Sauvignon from California. [12]

Wine Fact: A crop of newly planted grape vines takes four to five years to grow before it can be harvested.[1]

Wine Fact: Red wine represents 55% of restaurant wine sales.[1]

Wine Fact: Global warming may redefine wine growing in the future. Even tiny temperature changes can dramatically change the quality of wine.[6]

Wine Fact: Many consumers and winemakers argue that genetically engineered wine would not only lead to uniformity but would also compromise the traditional romance and mystique associated with wine.[6]

Wine Fact: is the first Education & Knowledge platform focused on organizing food and beverage information making it universally accessible and beneficial. was the vision of the Global President of Wine Business Academy and It was developed by a Harvard student using the latest Open Source Technologies.


1 Bonadies, Michael. Sip By Sip: An Insiders Guide to Learning All about Wine. New York, NY: Doubleday Dell Publishing Books, 1998.

2 Charters, Stephen. Wine and Society: The Social and Cultural Context of Drink. Woburn, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2006.

3 "Dark Soy Sauce Healthier Than Red Wine." Soy Connection. June 3, 2006. Accessed: July 31, 2016.

4 Estreicher, Stefan K. Wine from Neolithic Times to the 21st Century. Algora Publishing, 2006.

5 Johnson, Hugh. The Story of Wine: New Illustrated Edition. London, UK: Mitchell Beazley, 2005.

6 Joseph, Robert and Margaret Rand. Kiss: Guide to Wine. New York, NY: Dorling Kindersley, 2000.

7 Miller, Tracy. “Women Who Drink Two Glasses of Wine a Day Have Better Sex Than Non-Drinkers.” Daily News. August 6, 2009. Accessed: August 15, 2009.

8 Pellechia, Thomas. Wine: the 8000 Year-Old Story of the Wine Trade. New York, NY: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2006.

9 Sbrocco, Leslie. Wine for Women: A Guide to Buying, Pairing, and Sharing Wine. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2003.

10 Sommers, Brian J. The Geography of Wine: How Landscapes, Cultures, Terroir, and the Weather Make a Good Drop. London, UK: Plume, 2008.

11 Unwin, P.T. H. Wine and the Vine: An Historical Geography of Viticulture and the Wine Trade. New York, NY: Routledge, 2006.

12 Unwin, P.T. H. Wine Me Blog :

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