Fun and Interesting Wine Facts 2019

Carina Vardie
Event Director


We realised a long time ago (since 2005, to be exact, when CWO launched #winelovers) just how amazing wine is and how it can bring together exceptional people. So for today’s pick-me-up we’re going to share a few fun wine facts to help you get through the week.

“The CWO season has started and wine flows liberally at our events – see our upcoming business networking events here

If you read our ‘After one of the hottest summers on record – what does autumn have in store?’ post, and I know you did, you’ll know that Australia has some of the oldest grapevines in the world. But were you aware that Australians drink around 29 litres wine per person annually? That sounds like a lot of wine, right? Wrong! In Norfolk Island the average is around 77 bottles per person. This is followed up by Vatican City, with 76 bottles per capita – that’s impressive if you ask us.

“Now let’s test your knowledge/instincts, do you know how much wine Brits drink per head annually?”

wine bottle & wine glasses

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, thought wine was a remedy and used it often to reduce fever and as general antiseptic – he was definitely on to something. Even nowadays red wine reputedly has various health benefits, due to its antioxidant properties and because it contains resveratrol. Found in grape skin, this naturally occurring phytoalexin reportedly protects the heart and circulatory system and lowers cholesterol.

While unproven, I’m happy to use this as excuse with any relative that gives me the side eye for drinking a glass too many. I say a glass… you actually need to consume a few bottles daily to get all those amazing benefits. Rest assured, a glass of red a day does have benefits to your overall health  (of course, as long as you drink responsibly).

Fun fact though, not all red wines have the same benefit on your health. The most beneficial ones are dry red wines. with Malbec, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon as the top three. Go for younger red wines – their high tannin levels are said to be better for your health.

Moving on to celebrity territory: Did you know Marilyn Monroe was a fan of bubble baths?

“And by bubbles I mean champagne!”

The Hollywood diva had a bath in champagne which required a recycle bin-busting 350 bottles to fill; now, that’s lavish. In 2012 the famous & luxurious Cadogan Hotel offered guests the chance to bathe in 84 litres of champagne.

If you’re not a fan of champagne but having a wine bath sounds fun (because let’s be honest it sounds amazing), the Yunessun Spa Resort located in Hakone prefecture, Japan has a wine pool. Yes, you read that correctly A WINE POOL! Time to visit Japan everyone, I’ll see you there.

 

champagne saucers

Staying on the champagne topic, here’s a fact that might shock you and upset all your French friends. We all know the French monk Dom Perignon invented champagne by accident on 4th August 1693. I say ‘by accident’ because apparently, he was trying to ‘de-bubble’ the wine and had no intention to create sparkling wine.

When Dom Perignon decided to taste the wine, he realised how exquisite the bubbly drink was. However, many believe English winemakers invented sparkling wine 30 years previously. Scientist Christopher Merrett documented in 1662 how English winemakers were putting the fizz in wine, using the same process as champagne. So… who’s right?

Well, don’t draw any conclusions too soon because the Italians have a different story. It’s been reported that sparkling wine, with double fermentation, has been enjoyed since ancient Rome. While the Romans and Greeks might have enjoyed the fizz before everyone else, the process is thought to have been refined and perfected by the French. The Romans sometimes added fermented fish sauce, onion root, garlic and even absinthe – can you imagine what their bubbly tasted like? I’ll pass on that.

Champagne is fascinating and surely a favourite for many, but did you know there is more pressure inside a champagne bottle than inside tyres? Could it be true? Well, the theory behind it is that since bottles are sealed during fermentation, the carbon dioxide molecules can’t escape as gas and therefore dissolve in the wine, which creates a lot of pressure. By a lot I mean three times the air pressure inside a car’s tyres.

champagne bubbles

Do you know where the oldest bottle of wine was found? Bet you’ll never guess. In fact it was Speyer, Germany. Historians say the bottle dates back to 325AD. The bottle was discovered in the grave of a Roman nobleman and is now in the Historical Museum of Palatinate, Germany.

Shockingly, there is still liquid in that bottle thanks to the wax seal and large amount of olive oil. Even more astonishingly, researchers think it might still be safe to drink. Pretty sure no one is jumping at that opportunity.

The Greeks and Romans loved wine so much, they actually had wine gods! The Greeks called him Dionysus while the Romans knew him as Bacchus. No matter the name, one fact was universal: The God of Wine was meant to spread the word of wine around. What a wonderful task to have!

But the Greek and Romans weren’t the only cultures who embraced a God of Wine. So did the Chinese, Hindu and Buddhists. What should you learn from this? We all love wine!

glass of red wine

Ancient times are curious. Oddly enough there were a lot of superstitions in ancient Egypt. For example, being wary of black cats, spilling salt being a bad omen, walking under a ladder bringing bad luck, or using kohl in their eye make-up to protect themselves from the evil eye.

One interesting superstition revolves around wine. Now you might know that grape cultivation was introduced in Ancient Egypt around 3,000 BC, but did you know pharaohs wouldn’t drink red wine?

The red colour bore resemblance to blood which made the Egyptians think it was “the blood of those who had once battled against the gods and from whom, when they had fallen and had become commingled with the earth, they believed vines to have sprung” and thus why getting drunk “drives men out of their senses and crazes them, inasmuch as they are then filled with the blood of their forbears.” Don’t worry, they changed their minds in the meantime.

 

“I’ll leave you with a very unfair fact (I was not pleased with this one).”

Did you know women and men don’t process alcohol the same way? That sounds silly, but it’s true. Apparently, women have less of the ADH enzyme in their stomachs meaning we can’t process the same amount of alcohol men can before it enters our bloodstream.

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