Wonderful wine facts you probably never knew

Do you consider yourself a wine connoisseur? Are you always impressing your guests with stories about the wine world? Or does your knowledge of wine and its industry need some brushing up? Whether you’re a curious enthusiast or a seasoned expert, we think you’ll enjoy some of these wonderful wine facts curated by the Ideal Wine Company for you, some of which we bet you didn’t know.

  • The first amongst the wine facts is that Wine has a long and storied history, and the oldest known winery dates back over 6,000 years. Located in Armenia, the Areni-1 cave complex holds the oldest winery remnants ever discovered and dates back to around 4100 BC.
  • The oldest unopened bottle of wine was discovered in the German town of Speyer. It dates all the way back to 325 – 350 AD, but experts think that the wine instead may still be drinkable!
  • The history of wine gets more interesting. Wine used to be drunk as a substitute for water centuries ago, because water wasn’t clean at all times and wine was safer because of its fermentation, which could make it germ-free.
  • Ageing like fine wine’ is a popular expression, but did you know that ‘drinking to one’s health’ is also a wine-related saying? It originates from ancient Greece, where the host of a dinner would take the first sip of the wine being served to ensure that guests weren’t at risk of being poisoned.
  • Another old wine tradition that lingers in our vocabulary today is toasting. The term originated in ancient Rome when the practice was to drop a piece of toasted bread in wine to temper its acidity and bitter taste.
  • What’s so special about grapes? One of the things that make them suitable for wine production is that they naturally ferment without the need for additional sugars, acids, enzymes, water, or nutrients.
  • Wine is popular across the world, and almost 75% of adults worldwide drink wine. How is so much wine produced? Well, grapes are the most widely cultivated fruit and nearly every country in the world produces some kind of wine.
  • But not everybody loves wine! The irrational fear or intense hatred of wine has a scientific name. It is called ‘oenophobia’, from the Greek word ‘oenos’ for wine, and can trigger anxiety, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath.
  • The wine world is truly vast. There are six main types – red, white, sparkling, rose, dessert, and fortified. But there are more than 10,000 varieties of wine grapes in the world. The country of Switzerland alone has more than 200 indigenous varieties of grape.
  • Do you know how many grapes go into a bottle of wine? A single standard-size bottle needs about 450-660 grapes, and one vine of grapes can produce about 10 standard bottles of wine.
  • The secret to the smokiness and hints of vanilla and spice that some wines carry comes from the use of oak barrels during the ageing process. Ageing in oak helps wine develop complex flavours and aromas.
  • The colour of wine is a unique characteristic. A deep red colour in a wine means it’s full-bodied with high tannins, while a pale or clear yellowish-green hue indicates a light-bodied young white wine. But the colour of wine changes with age. Red wine becomes paler while white wine becomes darker in hue.
  • Ever heard of ice wine? Also known as Eiswein, it is a rare dessert wine made from grapes that have frozen on the vine, famous in the Niagara region. This natural freezing process concentrates the sugars, resulting in a sweet and flavourful wine.
  • Château Lafite Rothschild, a Premier Cru Bordeaux, is the white whale of fine wines. In 2018, a bottle of the 1869 vintage was sold for a staggering $558,000, making it one of the most expensive wines ever sold.
  • Bottles with corks are best stored horizontally to prevent rapid ageing. Corks are meant to be in contact with the wine so they don’t dry and dwindle, allowing air to seep in.
  • Who doesn’t love a flute of bubbly to toast an occasion? The celebratory effervescence of champagne is created during the second fermentation process as carbon dioxide gets trapped within the bottle.
  • Champagne cork flights are a thing! The longest recorded one was recorded at 177 feet and 9 inches, four feet from level ground. The feat was achieved at Woodbury Vineyards in New York State.
  • The largest mainstream bottle for wine is called the Nebuchadnezzar, named after a Babylonian king. It can hold 15 litres of wine, equivalent to 20 standard bottles or a whopping 100 glasses of wine!
  • Wine has more health benefits than you know. While red wine contains antioxidants such as resveratrol that are good for cardiovascular health, white wine is good for your lungs and can strengthen lung tissue.
  • The final fact amongst the wine facts is the biggest wine festival happens in Germany every year in September. It’s the Wurstmarkt (sausage festival) along the German wine road in the spa town of Bad Durkheim. The celebration is more than 570 years old and it still draws over 600,000 visitors.

The wine world is fascinating, and interesting facts about it such as these can help deepen our appreciation and inspire us to further explore the history and modernity of wine. From the world’s oldest winery in Armenia to the elusive Eiswein of Canada, there is always something new to discover in the world of wine.


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