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Wine Trivia

Seppelt - Seppelt is the most expensive current – release Australian wine at is $2,500 a bottle.

Champagne - There are approximately 49 million bubbles in a bottle of Champagne.

Champagne - The pressure in a bottle of Champagne is about 90 pounds per square inch.
That is about 3 times the pressure in your automobile tires

Champagne - The longest recorded champagne cork flight was 177 feet and 9 inches at Woodbury Vineyards in New York State.

Dom Perignon - The 17th century Benedictine monk, Dom Perignon, is credited with discovering the cork as a means to seal wine and champagne bottles. He is also credited with discovering the process of making champagne. It is said that upon his first taste of champagne he cried, "Come quickly, I am tasting stars.".

Chardonnay - Chardonnay most likely originated in a village called Chardonnay in Mâconnais in the southern portion of France's burgundy region. The name comes from 'cardonnacum' that is known as the 'place full of thistles'.

Chardonnay - The earliest recorded reference to Chardonnay occurs in 1330. Cistercian monks built stonewalls around their 'Clos de Vougeot' vineyard exclusively planted to Chardonnay grapes.

Shiraz - Australian Shiraz is made in two different styles. The big, full, rich, tannin laden wines and lighter fruitier 'drink now' styles with lots of blackberry and raspberry.

Shiraz - Shiraz is a very vigorous growing grape. It produces large bunches of anywhere up to 130 berries per bunch. They are long and loose bunches with very good disease resistance. Shiraz does very well in our cool climate and thrives in warm spring weather to produce a strikingly peppery wine.

Shiraz - A legend on Shiraz grapes:
One ancient Persian legend says that Jamshid, a grapeloving king, stored ripe grapes in a cellar so he could enjoy grapes all year long. One day he sent his slaves to fetch him some grapes. When they did not return he decided to go to the cellar himself only to find that they had been knocked out by the carbon dioxide gas emanating from some bruised fermenting grapes. One of the king's rejected, distraught mistresses decided to drink this poisoned potion, only to leave the cellar singing and dancing in high spirits. The king realised that this fruity liquid had the wonderful and mysterious power to make sad people happy.

Riesling - The name Riesling means 'Russ' - dark wood and this along with the grooved bark gives the resultant root word 'rissig'.

Riesling - The legend of sweet Riesling.
A messenger bringing the official order to start picking was robbed on the way. By the time he arrived the grapes had rotted, been infected with Botrytis and were given to the peasants. The peasants brewed their own wonderful wines and the rest is history.

Pinot Noir - Pinot Noir is one of the oldest vine grape varieties known and was named by the noble Pinot family after the pinecone shape of the grape bunches.

Pinot Noir - The legend of Pinot Noir.
The Catholic church became custodian of the fine Pinots. The monks used Pinot Noir in their sacraments and hence gained approval for the wine. They improved the varietal through careful vineyard practices and by the 6th century, most of Burgundy was divided into church owned vineyards.

Pinot Noir - French monks brought the grape to the Rheingau region where it's been cultivated since 1470. Church owned vineyards were seized and distributed to families in Burgundy during the French revolution around 1789 resulting in an independently owned and run vineyard model that still survives today.

Cabernet Sauvignon - Cabernet Sauvignon to be less than 600 years old, a relative newcomer in the wine grape world.

Cabernet Sauvignon - The legend of Cabernet Sauvignon.
The oldest recorded reference to Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the 18th Century and Chateau Mouton. Baron de Brane ripped up the white varieties and planted a red variety called Vidure. Vidure comes from the French words Vigne Dure or hardy vine in reference to the tough nature of Cabernet Sauvignon. The name's still used today in some parts of the Bordeaux where over 50% of the Merdoc and Graves districts are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon. The massive spread of Cabernet Sauvignon came in the 1800's when it was used to replant the phylloxera ravaged vineyards of Europe.

Merlot - Merlot comes in third as the most planted red grape variety in France. It thrives in northeast Italy, is spreading through Eastern Europe and the new world regions can't produce enough.

Merlot - The most famous producer of French merlot wines is Chateau Petrus, whose 1990 bottling sells for about $1,700 a bottle.

Merlot - Ripe Merlot gives you lots of fruit flavours; plums, cherry, raspberry, mint and subtle spice. However unripe Merlot, goes towards herbaceous green flavours. It's great with rich dishes, pasta, meats and even chocolate.

Verdelho - Verdelho is a sweet white variety that originates around Portugal and is now grown all around the world.

Verdelho - The earliest recorded planting of Verdelho is from Portugal in the 15th century. It was one of the most widely planted varieties on the island of Madeira till the 20th century. The island of Madeira is approximately 30 by 12 miles in size and is situated in the Atlantic, 370 miles from the Moroccan coast. The rainfall on the island is heavy, summers are hot and winters very warm. Vineyards are located on small terraces of the steep cliffs, rising from the water's edge to some 3 000 ft above sea level in places. The best grapes come from vines grown on the southern slopes of the island that receive the most sunshine.

Semillon - Semillon was at one time the most widely planted white grape in the world. The thin-skinned Semillon grape ripens early. It's easy to cultivate, high yielding and relatively disease resistant, except for Botrytis. In areas where sweet Semillons are highly prized, pickers go through the vineyard many times and pick only the Botrytis infected bunches which will yield syrupy sweet wines.

Malbec - The name Malbec came from the surname of a Hungarian peasant who first spread the variety throughout France and then further afield. Malbec grows just about anywhere. You can find it in France, Chile, Brazil, Italy, Madeira, Portugal, Spain, USA, Australia and Argentina, where it's the most widely planted grape variety.

Malbec - Malbec creates an intense, inky red wine often used in blends.
The main aromas from a rich Malbec include: cherry, plum, raisins, coffee, chocolate, leather and raspberry. The key flavours a nice Malbec exhibits include: plum, cherry, chocolate, dried fruits, and balsamic. Ageing in oak releases the vanilla aromas and flavours.

Muscat - The Muscat grape is the world's oldest known grape variety.

Muscat - Over 200 different varieties and derivatives to the Muscat family exist today. T

Muscat - Muscat is the only grape to produce wine with the same aroma as the grape itself.
Sweet fortified Muscats have a classic rich nose of dried fruits, raisins and oranges.
Muscat has been called "the grape of the bees" because of its strong perfume.

Tokay - The Legend of Tokay
In the mid 17th century, in Slovakia, the fall harvest of Tokay grapes was postponed fearing an attack from the Turks. This left the grapes vulnerable to a humidity-loving fungus called botrytis. The rotten and shriveled grapes were picked, crushed, and added to the must made from unaffected grapes.

Tokay - To hide their precious wine from potential thieves in the region, the winemakers dug tunnels into the hillside, the entrances to which could be easily hidden. These distinctive caves, were perfect hosts to the black mould that is supposed to be critical to Tokay's ageing process.

Tokay - Tokay is but one example of botrytis-infected grapes in dessert wine. The fungus gained the name of noble rot. . In an era mad for sweet wines, Tokay became known as the "wine of kings, king of wines".

Sherry - One of the oldest and most wonderful fortified wines made is a Sherry. Sherry comes from a corner of south-west Spain called Andalusia.

Sherry - The grape stompers of the finest Sherries wore boots with nails in the soles. The nails trap the pips and stalks and leave them undamaged enhancing the pure grape flavours.

Wine & Chocolate - Daily wine and chocolate boost life expectancy. Ingredients form part of sevenfood 'polymeal' designed to reduce heart disease risk. A daily meal with seven foods - - including wine and chocolate -- could cut heart disease risk by 76 per cent, says a team of Australian researchers.

Wine & Chocolate - They estimate that a "polymeal" of wine, fish, dark chocolate, fruit, vegetables, almonds and garlic, eaten every day (or at least four times a week in the case of fish) would increase men's life expectancy by an average of six and a half years and women's by an average of five years.

Wine Barrel - The wine barrel was traditionally used for storage and transportation of goods. Now it's almost exclusively used in the production of fine wines and spirits. The barrel is traditionally referred to as a keg when empty and cask when full.

Wine Glass - The Pleistene age saw the Iberians and later the Britons using baked clay goblets to drink from. The Phoenicians taught the Britons to make a copper alloy giving rise to the Bronze age, timber and bronze tankards came into existence. The Romans introduced silver and pottery goblets characterised by (in the early days of the Roman Empire) by ornate scroll work of pairs of leaves with buds. The Romans also produced some lead goblets.

Wine Glass - The invading Saxons from the north brought with them not only fine glassware, gold jewel encrusted goblets but also horns. These, having no legs, had to be finished in one drink so they could be laid down.
The horns were also used as titles to property, a legal document in the past.

Cork - The oldest and most productive cork tree on record is the Whistler Tree in Portugal. The countless birds living in the tree's branches led to the name; the Whistler Tree. The tree is over 213 years old and has been producing cork since 1820. Each harvest produces cork for over 100,000 wine bottle corks. Not bad when you consider the average tree accounts for around 40,000.

Grapes - The average number of grapes it takes to produce a bottle of wine: 600.

Grape Brick - During prohibition the 'Grape Brick' was sold to thousands of wine-parched households across America. Attached to the 'brick' of dried and pressed winegrape concentrate was a packet of yeast, and the stern warning, "Do not add yeast or fermentation will result."

Napa Valley - Robert Mondavi at age 52, built Napa Valley's first new winery after the repeal of prohibition.

Honey Month - In ancient Babylon, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead (fermented honey beverage) he could drink for a month after the wedding. Because their calendar was lunar or moon-based,this period of free mead was called the "honey month," or what we now call the "honeymoon."

Wine Recipe - 86% Water, 11.2% Alcohol, 2.8% Other.
Over 250 compounds have been identified in the "other". That is why wine making is an art and not a science.

Nebuchadnezzar - Nebuchadnezzar is the largest wine bottle and holds 15 litres or 120 glasses of wine.
Nebuchadnezzar, originally nabu-kudurri-usur meaning 'Nabu protect the boundary' became King of the
Chaldean Empire in 604 BC.

From the middle 1600's onwards there is no shortage of drinking vessels or names for Drinking Vessels,
some of the more interesting include:

  • Piggin-from the middle ages, a small leather cup
  • Noggin-small wooden mug around 1/4 pint
  • Goddard-pewter vessel used by the church
  • Bombard-tall, holding several gallons, richly decorated
  • Hanap-a tall, ornate largely ornamental vessel, eventually only used on special occasions and stored in a hanaps basket, hence a hamper
  • Tappit-Hen or Stirrup Cup-A tankard with a cup shaped lid originating in Scotland, used to send off guests late at night with a final brew, the lid keeping the brew safe when the guests departed on horseback.
  • Fuddling cup-vessel with three or more small cups with interlinked handles and joined through a small hole in the walls, the idea was to drink from one cup without spilling the contents of the others.
  • Whistle cup-From the Middle ages, whoever could drink the most for the longest got to blow the whistle as the 'last man standing' to order more drink.
  • Puzzle jug-Jug with many holes around the neck which have to be closed with fingers and thumbs to make sure you can drink from the top.
  • Yard glass-traditionally a quart measure from the mid 1600's with a bulb at one end which had to be drunk without taking it from ones lips
  • Milk jugs-before coffee and tea, mixes of herbs and milk were drunk around the table from a communal jug shaped like a cow, the tail being the handle. This later became a communal wine glass passed around.
  • Cocoa nut and ostrich egg cups-both have been made into silver encrusted cups
  • Gourd cup-originated in the early 1600's fashioned in silver to look like a gourd with the stem being the tree trunk
  • Toby jugs-can be sailors, priests, policemen or anyone from famous ceramic makers
  • Wine tasters-a little silver flat bowl with two handles on each side flat with the top rim. From the Medieval days to taste the contents of bowls to convince guests that nothing was poisoned.
    The finest glass was made from the late 17th century to the early stages of the 18th century. The most popular form was a simple goblet with a glass stem.
  • Jacobite glass-became common from the 1700's onwards with each Freemason lodge having it's own glassware
  • Dice glasses-have two dice sealed into the base, used in old taverns to settle who pays for the purchases Last drop glass-featured an engraved man hanging from the yardarm that is not visible till the last drop is drunk.


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