10 ‘Well, I never knew THAT’ wine facts

wine cellar

Dry January is over, there’s a Tesla car floating in space, and Twitter exploded after supermodel Gisele Bundchen was pictured drinking wine during the recent Superbowl.

All good reasons to treat your palate, ideally at a Chief Wine Officer (CWO) event. Naturally, with good wine you need good conversation. So help yourself to these 10 little-known facts which are sure to get discussions flowing:

1. The country with the highest wine consumption per capita is…
The big news is that the Vatican City has been toppled from its perch. According to a new report, Norfolk Island tops the table with 77.8 bottles per capita. Residents on the 14km squared Pacific Ocean island are also the biggest spenders (just over £486).

2. The scientific reason why red wine is healthy
You probably know antioxidants are good for you. These are powerful defenders of your body, inside and out. Helping to stop cell damage caused by oxidants, as well as protecting your skin from the sun. Red grapes are fermented with their skins on, which means more antioxidants for you.

3. Fifty shades of wine
Want to know a wine’s origin, just by looking at it? The darker the wine’s appearance – think rich reds and vibrant whites – the hotter the climate. That’s because it’s been subjected to more sunshine hours.

4. How to open a bottle without a corkscrew (clue: the answer isn’t to ‘buy a screwtop’)
Of course, you’ll never experience this problem at a CWO event. However, if you’re at a picnic and have forgotten a corkscrew, never fear. Try the method below (disclaimer, we’re not sure how well this would work with a stiletto or other high-heeled accessory):

5. Winemaking is Mother Nature at work
A ripe organic grape is a thriving force of nature. It’s overflowing with natural sugars. Wild yeast live happily on its skin. Fermenting the grape involves bringing these two elements together, all by a simple squeeze. Then it’s case of waiting for Mother Nature to get to work.

6. Can I interest you in a bottle of the 350AD vintage
There’s vintage wine… and then there’s 1,650–year-old vintage wine. The Speyer bottle was excavated from a Roman nobleman’s tomb, and is now on display in Germany. Unopened, of course.

7. Is that a wine aroma or a wine bouquet I smell before me?
Yes, there’s a difference between an aroma and bouquet. The aroma is the primary sense of smell you get from a wine. Derived from the grape, and typically associated with the fruit, flower or herb. The bouquet comprises the secondary and tertiary smalls. These are associated with how it’s fermented (eg ‘buttery’ with butter) and aged (eg ‘oaky’ in an oak barrel).

8. Why wines don’t taste of grapes
The winemaking process may start with grapes. However, things are very different by the end. That’s down to the rich diversity in vineyards, the countless ways to ferment, and sheer complexity of nurturing. If you want a wine that actually tastes of grapes, try a floral muscat/muscato.

9. Wine as medicine
Hippocrates, commonly regarded as the father of medicine, included wine in most of his treatments. The Greek physician would add herbs and spices to create ‘medicine’ for treating his patients’ ailments.

10. For your next pub quiz/Scrabble game
People with a phobia of drinking and/or ordering wine are called oenophobes. The opposite is oenophiles (more commonly known as CWO guests).