1. The smell of young wine is called an “aroma” while a more mature wine offers a more subtle “bouquet.”
2. 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.
3. A“cork-tease” is someone who constantly talks about the wine he or she will open but never does.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Red wines are red because fermentation extracts color from the grape skins. White wines are not fermented with the skins present.
7. In the whole of the Biblical Old Testament, only the Book of Jonah has no reference to the vine or wine.
8. 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.
9. The Code of Hammurabi (1800 B.C.) includes a law that punishes fraudulent wine sellers: They were to be drowned in a river.
10. California is the fourth-largest wine producer in the world, after France, Italy, and Spain.
11. Wine grapes rank number one among the world’s fruit crops in terms of acres planted.
12. The Vikings called America Vinland (“wine-land” or “pasture-land”) for the profusion of native grape vines they found there around A.D. 1000.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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.