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Top Ten Things You Should Know About Wine

Updated on October 18, 2012

Top Ten Things About Wine

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What You Should Know About Wine

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The Top Ten Things You Should Know About Wine

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Here is a list of the top ten things that you should know if you are interested in learning about wine.

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1. The Country that produces the most wine is France followed by Italy, Spain, the United States and Argentina.

These five countries alone produce 64 percent of all of the wine produced in the world.

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2. The country that consumes the most wine is also France, followed by the United States, Italy, Germany and China.

These five countries consume only 50 percent of the wine consumed in the world. Please note that consumption is a function of both per capita consumption and total population. The Chinese don’t drink much wine per person but there are an awful lot of people there.

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3. If California was a country; it would be the fourth largest producer of wine in the world. Eighty percent of all wine consumed in America is produced in California.

If you only learn about wine from one location, learn about California wine. Not only is it the most readily available wine in America, it is generally also the cheapest and most cost-effective wine to buy here.

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4. In the United States and in most countries in the world, the grape variety comes first and implies that these are the best quality wines. In Europe and in particular in France, varietal wines are the lowest quality. The area in which the wines are produced and in particular the vineyard or the producer comes first and that guarantees quality.

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5. A serious misconception is that all wines improve with age.

Based on 50 years of personal experience, white wines do not require aging and most red wines don’t either. Except for the greatest Bordeauxs, Burgundies, Barolos and Port wines, red wines are ready to drink when you get them. I do not recall ever regretting that I drank a wine too young, but I can recall hundreds of bottles of wine that I drank too old.

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6. Another misconception is that red wines come from red or blue grapes and white wines come from white grapes.

The juice inside all grapes is almost colorless. All of the pigment is in the skins and it is generally not water-soluble. Therefore, if you press the grapes right away and ferment only the juice, you will get white wine no matter what color grapes you start with. Note that most champagne is made from blue grapes (pinot noir and pinot munier) and it is nearly colorless. The same is true with white Zinfandel which is made from a blue grape

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7. When you open a bottle of wine, you should smell the cork beforee you serve it.

Winemakers go to a great deal of trouble to use only the best corks to seal their wines. In spite of this precaution, occasionally (maybe once every 200-300 bottles) a cork contains a hidden decayed vein that produces a very bad odor and also affects the taste of the wine. No matter how long you let the wine breathe, the odor will not go away. In a restaurant, call the waiter and send it back. At home, throw the wine away. It cannot be saved. Of course if your wine has a plastic or man-made cork, you don’t have to worry.

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8. Another misconception is that if wines are left open, they will turn to vinegar.

While this is theoretically possible if the proper bacteria are present, after fifty years and thousands of bottles left open, I have not had even one single bottle turn to vinegar. However, I have had many wines that become oxidized.

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9. When drinking a wine you should do three things:

  1. Check the appearance
  2. Smell the wine
  3. Taste the wine

Remember that No. 3 is the biggy.

No matter how pretty the wine looks and no matter how nice the wine smells, if it doesn’t taste good, you won’t finish the bottle

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The University of California at Davis came up with a 20 point rating system for judging wine. Not too surprisingly, California wines fared very well using it because a full 4 points were awarded for clarity. Since California wines are highly filtered and some of the greatest wines in the world are not, California wine often beat out French wines in comparisons using the Davis grading system.

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10. The best wine in the world is the one that you like to drink and it is better to like a cheap wine than an expensive one.

Don’t let anyone tell you which wine you should drink. If you like white wine, drink white wine. If you prefer sweeter wines, drink sweeter wines. If you prefer white wine with your steak and red wine with your fish, that is okay. Anyone can like a $100 bottle of wine. The trick is to find one for less than $5 a bottle that you like. There are no rules – only guidelines.

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Other Hubs about wine that may interest you are listed below:

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Comments

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    • Glass-Jewelry profile image

      Marco Piazzalunga 

      5 years ago from Presezzo, Italy

      Unfortunately I have to contradict you with regard to the aging of the wine.

      When a wine is defined by its manufacturer to be authorized to age, well, aging significantly increases not only its organoleptic characteristics, but also those related to taste and smell.

      While in Italy there are few winemakers who make wines that can be aged, normally around 5-8 years, and in some cases even 15 years (Brunello di Montalcino and others), especially in France the vast majority of quality wines should be necessarily aged.

      In fact, many French, driven by an exaggerated nationalism, which normally age the wine for at least 8-10 years, also for 20 years, do not take much account of Italian wine, as even if it is aged for 5-6 years is considered, however, very young and not up to the French.

      Your other 9 points are substantially correct.

      Thank you and hope you do not blame me.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      5 years ago from USA

      I really enjoyed your list of things to know about wine and #10 is my favorite. You are so right that anyone can enjoy a $100 bottle of wine. The fun and excitement is in finding the least expensive wine that offers the greatest amount of joy to drink.

    • rjsadowski profile imageAUTHOR

      rjsadowski 

      6 years ago

      It is better to like an inexpensive wine than one that you can't afford. Just make sure to smell the screw cap before you serve it.

    • jimmar profile image

      jimmar 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      I like the advice about the best wine being the one you like to drink. I like yellow tail shiraz and merlot and at $5.99 I like it a lot.

    • Global-Chica profile image

      Anna 

      6 years ago from New York, NY

      This is a really fascinating collection of facts about wine! I really thought that if I'd leave a wine bottle open, it will turn to vinegar. Although I never tried it. I did try wine that was left open too long and it tasted really sour and disgusting. But not like vinegar. Voted up and useful!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      6 years ago from Germany

      Thanks for the information about wines. I drink both red and white but it depends what I am eating. Voted up and useful.

    • hi friend profile image

      hi friend 

      6 years ago from India

      very useful hub

    • rjsadowski profile imageAUTHOR

      rjsadowski 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for your comments. if you like your wine half white and half red, go for it.

    • profile image

      Derdriu 

      6 years ago

      RJSadowski, What a compelling, eminently helpful, and fascinating summary of what to know about wine! In particular, I appreciate the clues regarding drinking -- or not -- restaurant wines. Additionally, it's useful for general understanding and trivia fun to know about the color of the grapes and the color of the champagne/wine. Also, I appreciate your exposing the misconceptions regarding aging and vinegarizing wine.

      My preference in wine actually is filling a glass half full with bottled white wine and half full with bottled red wine to create rosé.

      Respectfully, and with many thanks for sharing, Derdriu

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