To celebrate Global Drink Wine Day, Cellarmaster’s Cellar Director and Wine Educator Christine Ricketts shares some surprising facts you may not now about this tasty beverage.
We’ve been drinking wine for thousands of years
It’s not 100 percent clear where winemaking exactly started, but historians suggest that China, Georgia and Iran in 6000 to 5000 BC are all places of interest for the first, deliberate winemaking sites in the world. All three are regions that wild grapes grew in, so any nomadic farming community may have stumbled across the bitter little fruits and fermented them.
We used to put food INTO wine
Do you love pairing food with wine? Few things beat the combination of a juicy steak with a big, bold Barossa Valley Shiraz. But back in the day, people actually used to put food as well as spices, honey, resin and other fragrant substances into wine, because the wine tasted and smelled so bad – in effect, it was just fermented grapes. The fermentation process made alcohol safer to drink than actual water itself in medieval times, which was one of the reasons we wanted to drink wine.
The first vines in Australia were planted in Botanical Gardens
The First Fleet brought vines to Australia in 1788 and the first vineyards were plated at Farm Cove in what is now the Botanical Gardens. The industry expanded and plantings in Picton, Mt Druitt and portions of the North Shore heralded the start of an expanding industry. However, soon plantings in Central Victoria, the Barossa Valley and Hunter Valley were set aside as grape growing areas with much more success.
Why most wine bottles are 750ml
Pretty much every single bottle of wine can contain 750ml of wine – have you ever wondered why? The answer is quite simple: back in the days when bottles were handmade, a typical glass blower’s lung capacity represented approximately 750ml using one breath to create a bottle!
Smell is more important than taste
The most important sense when it comes to winetasting is actually smell, not taste. This is why when you have a blocked nose you can barely taste any flavours, whether it be in food or wine! Our sense of smell has a profound effect on the way our brain processes flavour. So before tasting your wine, make sure to breathe in deep and smell it.
Champagne was invented by accident
The first Champagne was actually produced as a still wine that foamed occasionally (by accident!) when in the bottle, and it enjoyed a certain popularity in London society. This mistake was then refined into what we have today, and Dom Perignon had a major impact on the varieties to be used, blending of the Cuvees (different base wines), stronger bottles to stop explosions and was the first to make a truly white wine from red grapes!