Wine

Wine

Overview


Wine is an alcoholic beverage
Alcoholic beverage
An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beers, wines, and spirits. They are legally consumed in most countries, and over 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption...

, made of fermented
Fermentation (wine)
The process of fermentation in wine turns grape juice into an alcoholic beverage. During fermentation, yeast interact with sugars in the juice to create ethanol, commonly known as ethyl alcohol, and carbon dioxide...

 fruit juice, usually from grape
Grape
A grape is a non-climacteric fruit, specifically a berry, that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins, molasses and grape seed oil. Grapes are also...

s. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

s, acid
Acid
An acid is a substance which reacts with a base. Commonly, acids can be identified as tasting sour, reacting with metals such as calcium, and bases like sodium carbonate. Aqueous acids have a pH of less than 7, where an acid of lower pH is typically stronger, and turn blue litmus paper red...

s, enzyme
Enzyme
Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process, called substrates, are converted into different molecules, called products. Almost all chemical reactions in a biological cell need enzymes in order to occur at rates...

s, or other nutrient
Nutrient
A nutrient is a chemical that an organism needs to live and grow or a substance used in an organism's metabolism which must be taken in from its environment. They are used to build and repair tissues, regulate body processes and are converted to and used as energy...

s. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast
Yeast
Yeasts are eukaryotic micro-organisms classified in the kingdom Fungi, with 1,500 species currently described estimated to be only 1% of all fungal species. Most reproduce asexually by mitosis, and many do so by an asymmetric division process called budding...

. Yeast consumes the sugars in the grapes and converts them into alcohol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts produce different types of wine.

Wines made from other fruits, such as apples and berries, are usually named after the fruit from which they are produced (for example, apple wine
Apfelwein
Cider in Germany is called Apfelwein , as the German language has not used the word cider. It is also regionally known as ebbelwoi, äppler, stöffsche, apfelmost , viez , and saurer most . It has an alcohol content of 5.5%–7% and a tart, sour taste...

 or elderberry wine) and are generically called fruit wine
Fruit wine
Fruit wines are fermented alcoholic beverages made from a variety of base ingredients ; they may also have additional flavours taken from fruits, flowers, and herbs. This definition is sometimes broadened to include any fermented alcoholic beverage except beer...

 or country wine (not to be confused with the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 term vin de pays
Vin de pays
Vin de pays is a French term meaning "country wine". Vins de pays are a step in the French wine classification which is above the table wine classification, but below the VDQS and Appellation d'origine contrôlée classifications...

).
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Wine'
Start a new discussion about 'Wine'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Quotations

Tell me what you drink, and I will tell you what you are

Burgundy makes you think of silly things, Bordeaux makes you talk of them and Champagne makes you do them.

A man who was fond of wine was offered some grapes at dessert after dinner. 'Much obliged,' said he, pushing the dish away from him, 'but I am not in the habit of taking my wine in pills.'

Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin|Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, French gastronome, (1755-1826), "The Physiology of Taste"

Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter,Sermons and soda-water the day after.

Lord Byron, Don Juan, Second Canto

We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana, as of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy!

Benjamin Franklin, The Posthumous and Other Writings of Benjamin Franklin (1819). p. 290.

Is not old wine wholesomest, old pippins toothsomest, old wood burn brightest, old linen wash whitest? Old soldiers, sweethearts, are surest, and old lovers are soundest.

John Webster, Westward Hoe, Act II, scene ii, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).

Alonso of Aragon was wont to say in commendation of age, that age appears to be best in four things,—old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.

Francis Bacon, Apothegms, No. 97, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).

Old wood to burn! Old wine to drink! Old friends to trust! Old authors to read!—Alonso of Aragon was wont to say in commendation of age, that age appeared to be best in these four things.

Melchior de Santa Cruz, Floresta Española de Apothegmas o sentencias, etc., ii. 1, 20, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).

What find you better or more honourable than age? Take the preheminence of it in everything,—in an old friend, in old wine, in an old pedigree.

Shackerley Marmion|Shackerley Marmion (1602–1639), The Antiquary, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).

I love everything that ’s old,—old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine.

Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer, act i, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
Encyclopedia


Wine is an alcoholic beverage
Alcoholic beverage
An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beers, wines, and spirits. They are legally consumed in most countries, and over 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption...

, made of fermented
Fermentation (wine)
The process of fermentation in wine turns grape juice into an alcoholic beverage. During fermentation, yeast interact with sugars in the juice to create ethanol, commonly known as ethyl alcohol, and carbon dioxide...

 fruit juice, usually from grape
Grape
A grape is a non-climacteric fruit, specifically a berry, that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins, molasses and grape seed oil. Grapes are also...

s. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

s, acid
Acid
An acid is a substance which reacts with a base. Commonly, acids can be identified as tasting sour, reacting with metals such as calcium, and bases like sodium carbonate. Aqueous acids have a pH of less than 7, where an acid of lower pH is typically stronger, and turn blue litmus paper red...

s, enzyme
Enzyme
Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process, called substrates, are converted into different molecules, called products. Almost all chemical reactions in a biological cell need enzymes in order to occur at rates...

s, or other nutrient
Nutrient
A nutrient is a chemical that an organism needs to live and grow or a substance used in an organism's metabolism which must be taken in from its environment. They are used to build and repair tissues, regulate body processes and are converted to and used as energy...

s. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast
Yeast
Yeasts are eukaryotic micro-organisms classified in the kingdom Fungi, with 1,500 species currently described estimated to be only 1% of all fungal species. Most reproduce asexually by mitosis, and many do so by an asymmetric division process called budding...

. Yeast consumes the sugars in the grapes and converts them into alcohol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts produce different types of wine.

Wines made from other fruits, such as apples and berries, are usually named after the fruit from which they are produced (for example, apple wine
Apfelwein
Cider in Germany is called Apfelwein , as the German language has not used the word cider. It is also regionally known as ebbelwoi, äppler, stöffsche, apfelmost , viez , and saurer most . It has an alcohol content of 5.5%–7% and a tart, sour taste...

 or elderberry wine) and are generically called fruit wine
Fruit wine
Fruit wines are fermented alcoholic beverages made from a variety of base ingredients ; they may also have additional flavours taken from fruits, flowers, and herbs. This definition is sometimes broadened to include any fermented alcoholic beverage except beer...

 or country wine (not to be confused with the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 term vin de pays
Vin de pays
Vin de pays is a French term meaning "country wine". Vins de pays are a step in the French wine classification which is above the table wine classification, but below the VDQS and Appellation d'origine contrôlée classifications...

). Others, such as barley wine
Barley wine
Barley wine or Barleywine is a beer style of strong ale originating in England. The first beer to be marketed as Barley Wine was Bass No. 1 Ale, around 1870...

 and rice wine
Rice wine
Rice wine is an alcoholic beverage made from rice. Unlike wine, which is made by fermentation of naturally sweet grapes and other fruit, rice "wine" results from the fermentation of rice starch converted to sugars...

 (i.e., sake), are made from starch-based materials and resemble beer
Beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

 and spirit
Distilled beverage
A distilled beverage, liquor, or spirit is an alcoholic beverage containing ethanol that is produced by distilling ethanol produced by means of fermenting grain, fruit, or vegetables...

 more than wine, while ginger wine
Ginger wine
Ginger Wine is a fortified wine made from a fermented blend of ground ginger and raisins that was first produced in England.-History:The first documented appearance of Ginger Wine occurred with the foundation of 'The Finsbury Distilling Company' based in the City of London in 1740...

 is fortified
Fortified wine
Fortified wine is wine to which a distilled beverage has been added. Fortified wine is distinguished from spirits made from wine in that spirits are produced by means of distillation, while fortified wine is simply wine that has had a spirit added to it...

 with brandy
Brandy
Brandy is a spirit produced by distilling wine. Brandy generally contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume and is typically taken as an after-dinner drink...

. In these cases, the term "wine" refers to the higher alcohol content rather than the production process. The commercial use of the English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 word "wine" (and its equivalent in other languages) is protected by law in many jurisdictions.

Wine has a rich history dating back thousands of years, with the earliest known production occurring around 8,000 years ago on the territory of modern-day Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

. It first appeared in the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 at about 4500 BC and was very common in ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, Thrace
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

 and Rome
Ancient Rome and wine
Ancient Rome played a pivotal role in the history of wine. The earliest influences of viticulture on the Italian peninsula can be traced to Ancient Greeks and Etruscans. The rise of the Roman Empire saw an increase in technology and awareness of winemaking which spread to all parts of the empire...

. Wine has also played an important role in religion throughout history. The Greek
Ancient Greek religion
Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs and rituals practiced in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public religion and cult practices. These different groups varied enough for it to be possible to speak of Greek religions or "cults" in the plural, though most of them shared...

 god Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

 and the Roman
Roman religion
The term Roman religion may refer to:*Ancient Roman religion*religions of the Roman Empire period **Imperial cult *** Sol Invictus**Mithraism**Early Christianity**Gnosticism**State church of the Roman Empire...

 equivalent Bacchus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

 represented wine, and the drink is also used in Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

 ceremonies and the Jewish Kiddush
Kiddush
Kiddush , literally, "sanctification," is a blessing recited over wine or grape juice to sanctify the Shabbat and Jewish holidays.-Significance:...

.

Etymology


The English word "wine" comes from the Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic language
Proto-Germanic , or Common Germanic, as it is sometimes known, is the unattested, reconstructed proto-language of all the Germanic languages, such as modern English, Frisian, Dutch, Afrikaans, German, Luxembourgish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, and Swedish.The Proto-Germanic language is...

 "*winam," an early borrowing from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 vinum, "wine" or "(grape) vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

," itself derived from the Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 stem *win-o- (cf. Hittite
Hittite language
Hittite is the extinct language once spoken by the Hittites, a people who created an empire centred on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia...

: wiyana, Lycian
Lycian language
Lycian language refers to the inscriptional language of ancient Lycia, populated by Lycians, as well as its presumed spoken counterpart.-The speakers:...

: Oino, Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

  - oînos, Aeolic Greek
Aeolic Greek
Aeolic Greek is a linguistic term used to describe a set of dialects of Ancient Greek spoken mainly in Boeotia , Thessaly, and in the Aegean island of Lesbos and the Greek colonies of Asia Minor ....

  - woinos).

The earliest attested terms referring to wine are the Mycenaean Greek me-tu-wo ne-wo meaning "the month of new wine" or "festival of the new wine" and wo-no-wa-ti-si meaning "wine garden", written in Linear B
Linear B
Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, an early form of Greek. It pre-dated the Greek alphabet by several centuries and seems to have died out with the fall of Mycenaean civilization...

 inscriptions.

Although no clear evidence has been found of any linguistic connection, some scholars have noted the similarities between the words for wine in the Kartvelian (e.g. Georgian ღვინო ɣvino), Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 (e.g. Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 vino), and Semitic
Semitic
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages...

 (*wayn), hinting to the possibility that this word diffused into all these language families from a common origin. Some Georgian scholars have speculated that Georgian was the origin of this word and that it entered into the Indo-European languages via Semitic.

History



Archaeological evidence suggests that the earliest known production of wine, made by fermenting grapes, took place as early as 8,000 years ago in Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, 7000 years ago in Iran, and 6,100 years ago in Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

.
An extensive gene-mapping project in 2006, Dr. McGovern
McGovern
McGovern may refer to ther following:* McGovern , surname of Irish origin* McGovern Institute for Brain ResearchPeople:* Barry McGovern, Irish Actor* Brian McGovern, former Irish professional footballer...

 and his colleagues analyzed the heritage of more than 110 modern grape cultivars, and narrowed their origin to a region in Georgia, where also wine residues were discovered on the inner surfaces of 8,000-year-old ceramic storage jars in Shulavari, Georgia. Other notable areas of wine production have been discovered in Greece and date back to 4500 BC. The same sites also contain the world's earliest evidence of crushed grapes. Another early source of chemical evidence of wine in antiquity comes from Hajji Firuz Tepe in the Zagros Mountains of present-day Iran (7000 years old). On January 11, 2011 in one of Armenia's Vayots Dzor
Vayots Dzor
Vayots Dzor is a province of Armenia. It lies in the south-east of the country, bordering the Nakhichevan exclave of Azerbaijan in the west and the Azerbaijan in the east. It covers an area of 2,308 km². With a population of only 53,230 , it is the most sparsely populated province in the country...

 province cave was found a wine making press dating to approximately 6,000 years ago. Literary references to wine are abundant in Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

 (9th century BC, but possibly composed even earlier), Alkman (7th century BC), and others. In Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

, six of 36 wine amphora
Amphora
An amphora is a type of vase-shaped, usually ceramic container with two handles and a long neck narrower than the body...

s were found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun , Egyptian , ; approx. 1341 BC – 1323 BC) was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty , during the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom...

 bearing the name "Kha'y", a royal chief vintner
Vintner
A vintner is a wine merchant. You pronounce it like this In some modern use, in particular in American English, the term is alsoused as a synonym for winemaker....

. Five of these amphoras were designated as from the King's personal estate with the sixth listed as from the estate of the royal house of Aten
Aten
Aten is the disk of the sun in ancient Egyptian mythology, and originally an aspect of Ra. The deified Aten is the focus of the monolatristic, henotheistic, or monotheistic religion of Atenism established by Amenhotep IV, who later took the name Akhenaten in worship in recognition of Aten...

. Traces of wine have also been found in central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

n Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

, dating from the second and first millennia BC.

The first known mentioning of grape
Grape
A grape is a non-climacteric fruit, specifically a berry, that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins, molasses and grape seed oil. Grapes are also...

-based wines in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 was in the late 4th century BC writings of Chanakya
Chanakya
Chānakya was a teacher to the first Maurya Emperor Chandragupta , and the first Indian emperor generally considered to be the architect of his rise to power. Traditionally, Chanakya is also identified by the names Kautilya and VishnuGupta, who authored the ancient Indian political treatise...

 who was the chief minister of Emperor Chandragupta Maurya
Chandragupta Maurya
Chandragupta Maurya , was the founder of the Maurya Empire. Chandragupta succeeded in conquering most of the Indian subcontinent. Chandragupta is considered the first unifier of India and its first genuine emperor...

. In his writings, Chanakya condemns the use of alcohol while chronicling the emperor and his court's frequent indulgence of a style of grape wine known as Madhu.

A 2003 report by archaeologists indicates a possibility that grapes were mixed with rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 to produce mixed fermented beverages in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 in the early years of the seventh millennium BC. Pottery jars from the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 site of Jiahu
Jiahu
Jiahu was the site of a Neolithic Yellow River settlement based in the central plains of ancient China, modern Wuyang, Henan Province. Archaeologists consider the site to be one of the earliest examples of the Peiligang culture. Settled from 7000 to 5800 BC, the site was later flooded and abandoned...

, Henan
Henan
Henan , is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "豫" , named after Yuzhou , a Han Dynasty state that included parts of Henan...

 contained traces of tartaric acid
Tartaric acid
Tartaric acid is a white crystalline diprotic organic acid. It occurs naturally in many plants, particularly grapes, bananas, and tamarinds; is commonly combined with baking soda to function as a leavening agent in recipes, and is one of the main acids found in wine. It is added to other foods to...

 and other organic compounds commonly found in wine. However, other fruits indigenous to the region, such as hawthorn
Common Hawthorn
Crataegus monogyna, known as common hawthorn or single-seeded hawthorn, is a species of hawthorn native to Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia. It has been introduced in many other parts of the world where it is an invasive weed...

, cannot be ruled out. If these beverages, which seem to be the precursors of rice wine
Rice wine
Rice wine is an alcoholic beverage made from rice. Unlike wine, which is made by fermentation of naturally sweet grapes and other fruit, rice "wine" results from the fermentation of rice starch converted to sugars...

, included grapes rather than other fruits, these grapes were of any of the several dozen indigenous wild species of grape in China, rather than from Vitis vinifera, which were introduced into China some 6000 years later.

One of the lasting legacies of the ancient Roman Empire
Ancient Rome and wine
Ancient Rome played a pivotal role in the history of wine. The earliest influences of viticulture on the Italian peninsula can be traced to Ancient Greeks and Etruscans. The rise of the Roman Empire saw an increase in technology and awareness of winemaking which spread to all parts of the empire...

 was the viticulture foundation the Romans laid in the lands that today are world renowned wine regions. Areas with Roman garrison towns, like Bordeaux
Bordeaux wine
A Bordeaux wine is any wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France. Average vintages produce over 700 million bottles of Bordeaux wine, ranging from large quantities of everyday table wine, to some of the most expensive and prestigious wines in the world...

, Trier
Trier
Trier, historically called in English Treves is a city in Germany on the banks of the Moselle. It is the oldest city in Germany, founded in or before 16 BC....

, and Colchester
Colchester
Colchester is an historic town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in Essex, England.At the time of the census in 2001, it had a population of 104,390. However, the population is rapidly increasing, and has been named as one of Britain's fastest growing towns. As the...

, the Romans planted vineyards to supply local needs and limit the cost of long distance trading. In medieval Europe
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 staunchly supported wine, since they required it for the Mass
Eucharist (Catholic Church)
"At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood."...

. Monk
Monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

s in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 made wine for years, aging it in caves. An old English recipe that survived in various forms until the 19th century calls for refining white wine from bastard—bad or tainted bastardo wine.

Grape varieties



Wine is usually made from one or more varieties
Variety (biology)
In botanical nomenclature, variety is a taxonomic rank below that of species: as such, it gets a three-part infraspecific name....

 of the European species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 Vitis vinifera
Vitis vinifera
Vitis vinifera is a species of Vitis, native to the Mediterranean region, central Europe, and southwestern Asia, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern Germany and east to northern Iran....

, such as Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir
Pinot noir is a black wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. The name may also refer to wines created predominantly from Pinot noir grapes...

, Chardonnay
Chardonnay
Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used to make white wine. It is originated from the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand...

, Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most widely recognized red wine grape varieties. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country among a diverse spectrum of climates from Canada's Okanagan Valley to Lebanon's Beqaa Valley...

, Gamay
Gamay
Gamay is a purple-colored grape variety used to make red wines, most notably grown in Beaujolais and in the Loire Valley around Tours. Its full name is Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc. It is a very old cultivar, mentioned as long ago as the 15th century...

 and Merlot
Merlot
Merlot is a darkly blue-coloured wine grape, that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. The name Merlot is thought to derive from the Old French word for young blackbird, merlot, a diminutive of merle, the blackbird , probably from the color of the grape. Merlot-based wines...

. When one of these varieties is used as the predominant grape (usually defined by law as a minimum of 75% or 85%), the result is a varietal
Varietal
"Varietal" describes wines made primarily from a single named grape variety, and which typically displays the name of that variety on the wine label. Examples of grape varieties commonly used in varietal wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot...

, as opposed to a blended, wine. Blended wines are not necessarily considered inferior to varietal wines; some of the world's most expensive wines, from regions like Bordeaux
Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in the Gironde department in southwestern France.The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes the sixth-largest urban area in France. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture...

 and the Rhone Valley, are blended from different grape varieties of the same vintage
Vintage
Vintage, in wine-making, is the process of picking grapes and creating the finished product . A vintage wine is one made from grapes that were all, or primarily, grown and harvested in a single specified year. In certain wines, it can denote quality, as in Port wine, where Port houses make and...

.

Wine can also be made from other species of grape or from hybrids, created by the genetic crossing of two species. Vitis labrusca
Vitis labrusca
Vitis labrusca is a species of grapevines belonging to the Vitis genus in the flowering plant family Vitaceae. The vines are native to the eastern United States and are the source of many grape cultivars, including Catawba and Concord grapes, and many hybrid grape varieties such as Agawam,...

(of which the Concord grape
Concord grape
Concord grapes are a cultivar derived from the grape species Vitis labrusca which are used as table grapes, wine grapes and juice grapes....

 is a cultivar
Cultivar
A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

), Vitis aestivalis
Vitis aestivalis
Vitis aestivalis is a species of grape native to eastern North America from southern Ontario east to Vermont, west to Oklahoma, and south to Florida and Texas. It is a vigorous vine, growing to 10 m or more high in trees...

, Vitis rupestris
Vitis rupestris
Vitis rupestris is a kind of grape native to the Southern and Western United States that is known by many common names including July, sand, sugar, beach, bush, currant, ingar, rock, and mountain grape. It is used for breeding several French-American hybrids as well as many root stocks. ...

, Vitis rotundifolia and Vitis riparia
Vitis riparia
Vitis riparia Michx, also commonly known as River Bank Grape or Frost Grape, is a native American climbing or trailing vine, widely distributed from Quebec to Texas, and Montana to New England. It is long-lived and capable of reaching into the upper canopy of the tallest trees...

are native North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

n grapes usually grown to eat fresh or for grape juice, jam, or jelly, but sometimes made into wine.

Hybridization is different from grafting
Grafting
Grafting is a horticultural technique whereby tissues from one plant are inserted into those of another so that the two sets of vascular tissues may join together. This vascular joining is called inosculation...

. Most of the world's vineyards are planted with European V. vinifera vines that have been grafted onto North American species rootstock. This is common practice because North American grape species are resistant to phylloxera
Phylloxera
Grape phylloxera ; originally described in France as Phylloxera vastatrix; equated to the previously described Daktulosphaira vitifoliae, Phylloxera vitifoliae; commonly just called phylloxera is a pest of commercial grapevines worldwide, originally native to eastern North America...

, a root louse that eventually kills the vine. In the late 19th century, most of Europe's vineyards (only excluding some of the driest vineyards in Southern Europe) were devastated by the bug, leading to massive vine deaths and eventual replanting. Grafting is done in every wine-producing country of the world except for Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

 and Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

—the only countries not yet exposed to the insect.

In the context of wine production, terroir
Terroir
Terroir comes from the word terre "land". It was originally a French term in wine, coffee and tea used to denote the special characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place bestowed upon particular varieties...

is a concept that encompasses the varieties of grapes used, elevation and shape of the vineyard, type and chemistry of soil, climate and seasonal conditions, and the local yeast cultures. The range of possibilities here can result in great differences between wines, influencing the fermentation, finishing, and aging processes as well. Many wineries use growing and production methods that preserve or accentuate the aroma and taste influences of their unique terroir. However, flavor differences are not desirable for producers of mass-market table wine
Table wine
Table wine is a wine term with two different meanings: a wine style; and a quality level within wine classification.In the United States, table wine primarily designates a wine style - ordinary wine which is neither fortified nor sparkling....

 or other cheaper wines, where consistency is more important. Such producers try to minimize differences in sources of grapes through production techniques such as micro-oxygenation, tannin filtration, cross-flow filtration, thin film evaporation,
and spinning cones.

Classification




Regulations govern the classification and sale of wine in many regions of the world. European wines tend to be classified by region (e.g. Bordeaux
Bordeaux wine
A Bordeaux wine is any wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France. Average vintages produce over 700 million bottles of Bordeaux wine, ranging from large quantities of everyday table wine, to some of the most expensive and prestigious wines in the world...

, Rioja
Rioja (wine)
Rioja is a wine, with Denominación de Origen Calificada named after La Rioja, in Spain. Rioja is made from grapes grown not only in the Autonomous Community of La Rioja, but also in parts of Navarre and the Basque province of Álava. Rioja is further subdivided into three zones: Rioja Alta, Rioja...

 and Chianti
Chianti
Chianti is a red Italian wine produced in Tuscany. It was historically associated with a squat bottle enclosed in a straw basket, called a fiasco ; however, the fiasco is only used by a few makers of the wine now; most Chianti is now bottled in more standard shaped wine bottles...

), while non-European wines are most often classified by grape (e.g. Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir
Pinot noir is a black wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. The name may also refer to wines created predominantly from Pinot noir grapes...

 and Merlot
Merlot
Merlot is a darkly blue-coloured wine grape, that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. The name Merlot is thought to derive from the Old French word for young blackbird, merlot, a diminutive of merle, the blackbird , probably from the color of the grape. Merlot-based wines...

). More and more, however, market recognition of particular regions is leading to their increased prominence on non-European wine labels. Examples of non-European recognized locales include Napa Valley
Napa Valley AVA
Napa Valley AVA is an American Viticultural Area located in Napa County, California, United States. Napa Valley is considered one of the top wine regions in the United States...

 in California, Willamette Valley in Oregon, Columbia Valley in Washington, Barossa Valley
Barossa Valley (wine)
The Barossa Valley is one of Australia's oldest wine regions. Located in South Australia, the Barossa Valley is about 56km northeast of the city of Adelaide...

 and Hunter Valley in Australia, Central Valley in Chile, Vale dos Vinhedos in Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Hawke's Bay
Hawke's Bay
Hawke's Bay is a region of New Zealand. Hawke's Bay is recognised on the world stage for its award-winning wines. The regional council sits in both the cities of Napier and Hastings.-Geography:...

 and Marlborough
Marlborough, New Zealand
Marlborough is one of the regions of New Zealand, located in the northeast of the South Island. Marlborough is a unitary authority, both a region and a district, and its council is located at Blenheim. Marlborough is known for its dry climate, the picturesque Marlborough Sounds, and sauvignon blanc...

 in New Zealand, Okanagan Valley and Niagara Peninsula
Niagara Peninsula
The Niagara Peninsula is the portion of Southern Ontario, Canada lying between the south shore of Lake Ontario and the north shore of Lake Erie. It stretches from the Niagara River in the east to Hamilton, Ontario in the west. The population of the peninsula is roughly 1,000,000 people...

 in Canada.

Some blended wine names are marketing terms, and the use of these names is governed by trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 law rather than by specific wine laws. For example, Meritage
Meritage
Meritage is a proprietary term used to denote red and white Bordeaux-style wines without infringing on the Bordeaux region's legally protected designation of origin. Winemakers must license the Meritage trademark from its owner, the California-based Meritage Alliance...

 (sounds like "heritage") is generally a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most widely recognized red wine grape varieties. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country among a diverse spectrum of climates from Canada's Okanagan Valley to Lebanon's Beqaa Valley...

 and Merlot, and may also include Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc is one of the major black grape varieties worldwide. It is principally grown for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the Bordeaux style, but can also be vinified alone - as in the Loire's Chinon...

, Petit Verdot
Petit verdot
Petit Verdot is a variety of red wine grape, principally used in classic Bordeaux blends. It ripens much later than the other varieties in Bordeaux, often too late, so it fell out of favour in its home region. When it does ripen, it is added in small amounts to add tannin, colour and flavour to the...

, and Malbec
Malbec
Malbec is a purple grape variety used in making red wine. The grapes tend to have an inky dark color and robust tannins, and are long known as one of the six grapes allowed in the blend of red Bordeaux wine. The French plantations of Malbec are now found primarily in Cahors in the South West...

. Commercial use of the term "Meritage" is allowed only via licensing agreements with an organization called the "Meritage Association".

European classifications



France has various appellation
Appellation
An appellation is a legally defined and protected geographical indication used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown; other types of food often have appellations as well...

 systems based on the concept of terroir, with classifications ranging from Vin de Table ("table wine") at the bottom, through Vin de Pays
Vin de pays
Vin de pays is a French term meaning "country wine". Vins de pays are a step in the French wine classification which is above the table wine classification, but below the VDQS and Appellation d'origine contrôlée classifications...

 and Appellation d'Origine Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure (AOVDQS) up to Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée
Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée
Appellation d’origine contrôlée , which translates as "controlled designation of origin", is the French certification granted to certain French geographical indications for wines, cheeses, butters, and other agricultural products, all under the auspices of the government bureau Institut National...

 (AOC) or similar, depending on the region. Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 has something similar and, in fact, pioneered this technique in 1756 with a royal charter that created the "Demarcated Douro Region" and regulated wine production and trade. Germany did likewise in 2002, although their system has not yet achieved the authority of those of the other countries'. Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 and Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 have classifications based on a dual system of region of origin and product quality.

Beyond Europe


New World wine
New World wine
New World wines are those wines produced outside the traditional wine-growing areas of Europe, in particular from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.-Early wines in the Americas:...

—wines from outside of the traditional wine growing regions of Europe tend to be classified by grape rather than by terroir or region of origin, although there have been non-official attempts to classify them by quality.

Vintages



A "vintage wine" is one made from grapes that were all or mostly grown in a particular year, and labeled as such. Most countries allow a vintage wine to include a portion that is not from the labeled vintage. Variations in a wine's character from year to year can include subtle differences in color, palate, nose, body and development. High-quality wines can improve in flavor with age if properly stored. Consequently, it is not uncommon for wine enthusiasts and traders to save bottles of an especially good vintage wine for future consumption.

In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, for a wine to be vintage dated and labeled with a country of origin or American Viticultural Area
American Viticultural Area
An American Viticultural Area is a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States distinguishable by geographic features, with boundaries defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau , United States Department of the Treasury....

 (AVA) (such as "Sonoma Valley
Sonoma Valley
Sonoma Valley is the birthplace of the California wine industry and often called The Valley of the Moon. Sonoma Valley is home to some of the earliest vineyards and wineries in the state, some of which survived the phylloxera epidemic of the 1870s and the impact of Prohibition...

"), it must contain at least 95% of its volume from grapes harvested in that year. If a wine is not labeled with a country of origin or AVA the percentage requirement is lowered to 85%.

Vintage wines are generally bottled in a single batch so that each bottle will have a similar taste. Climate can have a big impact on the character of a wine to the extent that different vintages from the same vineyard can vary dramatically in flavor and quality. Thus, vintage wines are produced to be individually characteristic of the vintage and to serve as the flagship wines of the producer. Superior vintages, from reputable producers and regions, will often fetch much higher prices than their average vintages. Some vintage wines, like Brunello
Brunello di Montalcino
Brunello di Montalcino is a red Italian wine produced in the vineyards surrounding the town of Montalcino located about 120 km south of Florence in the Tuscany wine region. Brunello, roughly translated as "small dark one" in the local dialect, is the unofficial name of the clone of Sangiovese...

s, are only made in better-than-average years.

For consistency, non-vintage wines can be blended from more than one vintage, which helps wine makers sustain a reliable market image and maintain sales even in bad years. One recent study suggests that for normal drinkers, vintage year may not be as significant to perceived wine quality as currently thought, although wine connoisseurs continue to place great importance on it.

Tasting



Wine tasting
Wine tasting
Wine tasting is the sensory examination and evaluation of wine. While the practice of wine tasting is as ancient as its production, a more formalized methodology has slowly become established from the 14th century onwards...

 is the sensory examination and evaluation of wine. Wines are made up of chemical compounds similar or identical to those in fruits, vegetables, and spice
Spice
A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for flavor, color, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth. It may be used to flavour a dish or to hide other flavours...

s. The sweetness of wine
Sweetness of wine
The subjective sweetness of a wine is determined by the interaction of several factors, including the amount of sugar in the wine to be sure, but also the relative levels of alcohol, acids, and tannins. Briefly: sugars and alcohol enhance a wine's sweetness; acids and bitter tannins counteract it...

 is determined by the amount of residual sugar in the wine after fermentation, relative to the acidity present in the wine. Dry wine, for example, has only a small amount of residual sugar.

Individual flavors may also be detected, due to the complex mix of organic molecules such as ester
Ester
Esters are chemical compounds derived by reacting an oxoacid with a hydroxyl compound such as an alcohol or phenol. Esters are usually derived from an inorganic acid or organic acid in which at least one -OH group is replaced by an -O-alkyl group, and most commonly from carboxylic acids and...

s and terpene
Terpene
Terpenes are a large and diverse class of organic compounds, produced by a variety of plants, particularly conifers, though also by some insects such as termites or swallowtail butterflies, which emit terpenes from their osmeterium. They are often strong smelling and thus may have had a protective...

s that grape juice and wine can contain. Experienced tasters can distinguish between flavors characteristic of a specific grape and flavors that result from other factors in wine making. Typical intentional flavor elements in wine are those imparted by aging in oak casks; chocolate, vanilla, or coffee almost always come from the oak and not the grape itself.

Banana flavors (isoamyl acetate
Isoamyl acetate
Isoamyl acetate, also known as isopentyl acetate, is an organic compound that is the ester formed from isoamyl alcohol and acetic acid. It is a colorless liquid that is only slightly soluble in water, but very soluble in most organic solvents...

) are the product of yeast metabolism, as are spoilage aromas such as sweaty, barnyard, band-aid (4-ethylphenol
4-Ethylphenol
4-Ethylphenol, often abbreviated to 4-EP, is a phenolic compound with the molecular formula C8H10O. In wine and beer it is produced by the spoilage yeast Brettanomyces. When it reaches concentrations greater than the sensory threshold it can give the wine aromas described as barnyard, medicinal,...

 and 4-ethylguaiacol), and rotten egg (hydrogen sulfide
Hydrogen sulfide
Hydrogen sulfide is the chemical compound with the formula . It is a colorless, very poisonous, flammable gas with the characteristic foul odor of expired eggs perceptible at concentrations as low as 0.00047 parts per million...

). Some varietals can also have a mineral flavor due to the presence of water-soluble salts (like limestone).

Wine aroma comes from volatile compounds in the wine that are released into the air. Vaporization of these compounds can be sped up by twirling the wine glass or serving the wine at room temperature. For red wines that are already highly aromatic, like Chinon and Beaujolais
Beaujolais
Beaujolais is a French Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée wine generally made of the Gamay grape which has a thin skin and is low in tannins. Like most AOC wines they are not labeled varietally. Whites from the region, which make up only 1% of its production, are made mostly with Chardonnay grapes...

, many people prefer them chilled.

Collecting




Outstanding vintages from the best vineyards may sell for thousands of dollars
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

 per bottle, though the broader term fine wine covers bottles typically retailing at over about US$30–50. "Investment wines" are considered by some to be Veblen goods—that is, goods for which demand increases instead of decreases as its price rises. The most common wines purchased for investment include those from Bordeaux
Bordeaux wine
A Bordeaux wine is any wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France. Average vintages produce over 700 million bottles of Bordeaux wine, ranging from large quantities of everyday table wine, to some of the most expensive and prestigious wines in the world...

, Burgundy
Burgundy wine
Burgundy wine is wine made in the Burgundy region in eastern France, in the valleys and slopes west of the Saône River, a tributary of the Rhône. The most famous wines produced here - those commonly referred to as "Burgundies" - are red wines made from Pinot Noir grapes or white wines made from...

, cult wines from Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and elsewhere, and Vintage port
Port wine
Port wine is a Portuguese fortified wine produced exclusively in the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of Portugal. It is typically a sweet, red wine, often served as a dessert wine, and comes in dry, semi-dry, and white varieties...

. Characteristics of highly collectible wines include:
  1. A proven track record of holding well over time
  2. A drinking window plateau (i.e., the period for maturity and approachability) that is many years long
  3. A consensus amongst experts as to the quality of the wines
  4. Rigorous production methods at every stage, including grape selection and appropriate barrel-aging


Investment in fine wine has attracted fraudsters who prey on their victims' ignorance of this sector of the wine market. Wine fraud
Wine fraud
Wine fraud is a form of fraud in which wines are sold to a customer illicitly, usually having the customer spend more money than the product is worth, or causing sickness due to harmful chemicals being mixed into the wine...

sters often work by charging excessively high prices for off-vintage or lower-status wines from famous wine regions, while claiming that they are offering a sound investment unaffected by economic cycles. Like any investment, proper research is essential before investing.

Production


Wine production by country 2006
Rank Country
(with link to wine article)
Production
(tonnes)
1   France
French wine
French wine is produced in several regions throughout France, in quantities between 50 and 60 million hectolitres per year, or 7–8 billion bottles. France has the world's second-largest total vineyard area, behind Spain, and is in the position of being the world's largest wine producer...

5,349,330
2   Italy
Italian wine
Italian wine is wine produced in Italy, a country which is home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. Italy is the world's largest wine producer, responsible for approximately one-fifth of world wine production in 2005. Italian wine is exported largely around the world and has...

 
4,963,300
3   Spain
Spanish wine
Spanish wines are wines produced in the southwestern European country of Spain. Located on the Iberian Peninsula, Spain has over 2.9 million acres planted—making it the most widely planted wine producing nation but it is the third largest producer of wine in the world, the largest...

 
3,520,870
4   United States
American wine
American wine has been produced for over 300 years. Today, wine production is undertaken in all fifty states, with California producing 89 percent of all US wine...

 
2,232,000
5   Argentina
Argentine wine
The Argentine wine industry is the fifth largest producer of wine in the world. Argentine wine, as with some aspects of Argentine cuisine, has its roots in Spain...

 
1,539,600
6   Australia
Australian wine
The Australian Wine Industry is the fourth largest exporter of wine around the world, with 760 million litres a year to a large international export market and contributes $5.5 billion per annum to the nation's economy...

 
1,410,483
7   China (People's Republic)  1,400,000
8   South Africa
South African wine
South African wine has a history dating back to 1659, and at one time Constantia was considered one of the greatest wines in the world. Access to international markets has unleashed a burst of new energy and new investment. Production is concentrated around Cape Town, with major vineyard and...

 
1,012,980
9   Chile
Chilean wine
Chilean wine is wine made in the South American country of Chile. The region has a long viticultural history for a New World wine region dating to the 16th century when the Spanish conquistadors brought Vitis vinifera vines with them as they colonized the region. In the mid-19th century, French...

 
977,087
10   Germany
German wine
German wine is primarily produced in the west of Germany, along the river Rhine and its tributaries, with the oldest plantations going back to the Roman era. Approximately 60 percent of the German wine production is situated in the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where 6 of the 13 regions ...

 
891,600

Wine production by country 2007
Rank Country
(with link to wine article)
Production
(tonnes)
1   France
French wine
French wine is produced in several regions throughout France, in quantities between 50 and 60 million hectolitres per year, or 7–8 billion bottles. France has the world's second-largest total vineyard area, behind Spain, and is in the position of being the world's largest wine producer...

 
4,711,600
2   Italy
Italian wine
Italian wine is wine produced in Italy, a country which is home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. Italy is the world's largest wine producer, responsible for approximately one-fifth of world wine production in 2005. Italian wine is exported largely around the world and has...

4,251,380
3   Spain
Spanish wine
Spanish wines are wines produced in the southwestern European country of Spain. Located on the Iberian Peninsula, Spain has over 2.9 million acres planted—making it the most widely planted wine producing nation but it is the third largest producer of wine in the world, the largest...

 
3,645,000
4   United States
American wine
American wine has been produced for over 300 years. Today, wine production is undertaken in all fifty states, with California producing 89 percent of all US wine...

 
2,300,000
5   Argentina
Argentine wine
The Argentine wine industry is the fifth largest producer of wine in the world. Argentine wine, as with some aspects of Argentine cuisine, has its roots in Spain...

 
1,550,000
6   China (People's Republic)  1,450,000
7   South Africa
South African wine
South African wine has a history dating back to 1659, and at one time Constantia was considered one of the greatest wines in the world. Access to international markets has unleashed a burst of new energy and new investment. Production is concentrated around Cape Town, with major vineyard and...

 
1,050,000
8   Australia
Australian wine
The Australian Wine Industry is the fourth largest exporter of wine around the world, with 760 million litres a year to a large international export market and contributes $5.5 billion per annum to the nation's economy...

 
961,972
9   Germany
German wine
German wine is primarily produced in the west of Germany, along the river Rhine and its tributaries, with the oldest plantations going back to the Roman era. Approximately 60 percent of the German wine production is situated in the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where 6 of the 13 regions ...

 
891,600
10   Chile
Chilean wine
Chilean wine is wine made in the South American country of Chile. The region has a long viticultural history for a New World wine region dating to the 16th century when the Spanish conquistadors brought Vitis vinifera vines with them as they colonized the region. In the mid-19th century, French...

 
827,746


Wine grapes grow almost exclusively between thirty and fifty degrees north or south of the equator
Equator
An equator is the intersection of a sphere's surface with the plane perpendicular to the sphere's axis of rotation and containing the sphere's center of mass....

. The world's southernmost vineyards are in the Central Otago
Central Otago
Central Otago is the inland part of the New Zealand region of Otago in the South Island. The area commonly known as Central Otago includes both the Central Otago District and the Queenstown-Lakes District to the west....

 region of New Zealand's South Island
South Island
The South Island is the larger of the two major islands of New Zealand, the other being the more populous North Island. It is bordered to the north by Cook Strait, to the west by the Tasman Sea, to the south and east by the Pacific Ocean...

 near the 45th parallel south
45th parallel south
The 45th parallel south is a circle of latitude that is 45 degrees south of the Earth's equatorial plane. It is the line that marks the theoretical halfway point between the equator and the South Pole...

, and the northernmost are in Flen
Flen
Flen is a locality and the seat of Flen Municipality, Södermanland County, Sweden with 6,114 inhabitants in 2005.Flen is most known for being the one place on earth where hot dogs are free....

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, just north of the 59th parallel north
59th parallel north
The 59th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 59 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

.

Exporting countries



Top ten wine exporting countries in 2006
Rank Country 1000 tonnes
1   Italy
Italian wine
Italian wine is wine produced in Italy, a country which is home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. Italy is the world's largest wine producer, responsible for approximately one-fifth of world wine production in 2005. Italian wine is exported largely around the world and has...

*
1,793
2   France
French wine
French wine is produced in several regions throughout France, in quantities between 50 and 60 million hectolitres per year, or 7–8 billion bottles. France has the world's second-largest total vineyard area, behind Spain, and is in the position of being the world's largest wine producer...

 
1,462
3   Spain
Spanish wine
Spanish wines are wines produced in the southwestern European country of Spain. Located on the Iberian Peninsula, Spain has over 2.9 million acres planted—making it the most widely planted wine producing nation but it is the third largest producer of wine in the world, the largest...

*
1,337
4   Australia
Australian wine
The Australian Wine Industry is the fourth largest exporter of wine around the world, with 760 million litres a year to a large international export market and contributes $5.5 billion per annum to the nation's economy...

 
762
5   Chile
Chilean wine
Chilean wine is wine made in the South American country of Chile. The region has a long viticultural history for a New World wine region dating to the 16th century when the Spanish conquistadors brought Vitis vinifera vines with them as they colonized the region. In the mid-19th century, French...

*
472
6   United States
American wine
American wine has been produced for over 300 years. Today, wine production is undertaken in all fifty states, with California producing 89 percent of all US wine...

 
369
7   Germany
German wine
German wine is primarily produced in the west of Germany, along the river Rhine and its tributaries, with the oldest plantations going back to the Roman era. Approximately 60 percent of the German wine production is situated in the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where 6 of the 13 regions ...

 
316
8   Argentina
Argentine wine
The Argentine wine industry is the fifth largest producer of wine in the world. Argentine wine, as with some aspects of Argentine cuisine, has its roots in Spain...

 
302
9   Portugal
Portuguese wine
Portuguese wine is the result of traditions introduced to the region by ancient civilizations, such as the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, and mostly the Romans. Portugal started to export its wines to Rome during the Roman Empire. Modern exports developed with trade to England after the...

 
286
10   South Africa
South African wine
South African wine has a history dating back to 1659, and at one time Constantia was considered one of the greatest wines in the world. Access to international markets has unleashed a burst of new energy and new investment. Production is concentrated around Cape Town, with major vineyard and...

 
272
World** 8,353

* Unofficial figure. ** May include official, semi-official or estimated data.
2006 export market shares
Rank Country Market share
(% of value in US$)
1   France
French wine
French wine is produced in several regions throughout France, in quantities between 50 and 60 million hectolitres per year, or 7–8 billion bottles. France has the world's second-largest total vineyard area, behind Spain, and is in the position of being the world's largest wine producer...

 
34.9%
2   Italy
Italian wine
Italian wine is wine produced in Italy, a country which is home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. Italy is the world's largest wine producer, responsible for approximately one-fifth of world wine production in 2005. Italian wine is exported largely around the world and has...

 
18.0%
3   Australia
Australian wine
The Australian Wine Industry is the fourth largest exporter of wine around the world, with 760 million litres a year to a large international export market and contributes $5.5 billion per annum to the nation's economy...

 
9.3%
4   Spain
Spanish wine
Spanish wines are wines produced in the southwestern European country of Spain. Located on the Iberian Peninsula, Spain has over 2.9 million acres planted—making it the most widely planted wine producing nation but it is the third largest producer of wine in the world, the largest...

 
8.7%
5   Chile
Chilean wine
Chilean wine is wine made in the South American country of Chile. The region has a long viticultural history for a New World wine region dating to the 16th century when the Spanish conquistadors brought Vitis vinifera vines with them as they colonized the region. In the mid-19th century, French...

 
4.3%
6   United States
American wine
American wine has been produced for over 300 years. Today, wine production is undertaken in all fifty states, with California producing 89 percent of all US wine...

 
3.6%
7   Germany
German wine
German wine is primarily produced in the west of Germany, along the river Rhine and its tributaries, with the oldest plantations going back to the Roman era. Approximately 60 percent of the German wine production is situated in the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where 6 of the 13 regions ...

 
3.5%
8   Portugal
Portuguese wine
Portuguese wine is the result of traditions introduced to the region by ancient civilizations, such as the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, and mostly the Romans. Portugal started to export its wines to Rome during the Roman Empire. Modern exports developed with trade to England after the...

 
3.0%
9   South Africa
South African wine
South African wine has a history dating back to 1659, and at one time Constantia was considered one of the greatest wines in the world. Access to international markets has unleashed a burst of new energy and new investment. Production is concentrated around Cape Town, with major vineyard and...

 
2.4%
10   New Zealand
New Zealand wine
New Zealand wine is largely produced in ten major wine growing regions spanning latitudes 36° to 45° South and extending . They are, from north to south Northland, Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury/Waipara and Central...

 
1.8%

The UK was the world's biggest importer of wine in 2007.

Consumption


Wine consumption data from a list of countries by alcohol consumption measured in liters of pure ethyl alcohol consumed per capita
Per capita
Per capita is a Latin prepositional phrase: per and capita . The phrase thus means "by heads" or "for each head", i.e. per individual or per person...

 in a given year, according to the most recent data from the World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

. The methodology used by the WHO counted use by persons 15 years of age or older.
Wine consumption
Country Liters per capita
8.14
6.65
6.38
5.80
5.69
5.10
5.10
4.94
4.67
4.62


Wine vs. beer consumption
Country Wine (l) Beer (l) Wine/beer ratio
4.18 0.45 9.29
6.38 1.73 3.69
8.14 2.31 3.52
3.92 1.12 3.50
3.40 1.12 3.04
3.95 1.33 2.97
2.29 0.89 2.57
4.51 2.20 2.05
4.62 2.49 1.86
6.65 3.75 1.77


Uses


Wine is a popular and important beverage that accompanies and enhances a wide range of European and Mediterranean
Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is a modern nutritional recommendation inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of southern Italy, Crete and much of the rest of Greece in the 1960s....

-style cuisine
Cuisine
Cuisine is a characteristic style of cooking practices and traditions, often associated with a specific culture. Cuisines are often named after the geographic areas or regions that they originate from...

s, from the simple and traditional to the most sophisticated and complex. Wine is important in cuisine not just for its value as a beverage, but as a flavor agent, primarily in stock
Stock (food)
Stock is a flavoured water preparation. It forms the basis of many dishes, particularly soups and sauces.- Preparation :Stock is made by simmering various ingredients in water, including some or all of the following...

s and braising
Braising
Braising , is a combination cooking method using both moist and dry heat; typically the food is first seared at a high temperature and then finished in a covered pot with a variable amount of liquid, resulting in a particular flavour...

, since its acidity lends balance to rich savory or sweet dishes. Red, white, and sparkling wines are the most popular, and are known as light wines because they are only 10–14% alcohol
Alcohol
In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxy functional group is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms....

-content by volume. Apéritif
Aperitif
Apéritifs and digestifs are alcoholic drinks that are normally served with meals.-Apéritifs:An apéritif is usually served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. This contrasts with digestifs, which are served after a meal for the purpose of aiding digestion...

 and dessert wine
Dessert wine
Dessert wines are sweet wines typically served with dessert.There is no simple definition of a dessert wine. In the UK, a dessert wine is considered to be any sweet wine drunk with a meal, as opposed to the white fortified wines drunk before the meal, and the red fortified wines drunk after it...

s contain 14–20% alcohol, and are sometimes fortified to make them richer and sweeter.

Some wine labels suggest opening the bottle and letting the wine "breathe" for a couple of hours before serving, while others recommend drinking it immediately. Decanting
Decanter
A decanter is a vessel that is used to hold the decantation of a liquid which may contain sediment. Decanters are normally used as serving vessels for wine. Decanters vary in shape and design. They are usually made of an inert material and will hold at least one standard bottle of wine...

—the act of pouring a wine into a special container just for breathing—is a controversial subject in wine. In addition to aeration, decanting with a filter allows one to remove bitter sediments that may have formed in the wine. Sediment is more common in older bottles but younger wines usually benefit more from aeration.

During aeration, the exposure of younger wines to air often "relaxes" the flavors and makes them taste smoother and better integrated in aroma, texture, and flavor. Older wines generally fade, or lose their character and flavor intensity, with extended aeration. Despite these general rules, breathing does not necessarily benefit all wines. Wine should be tasted as soon as it is opened to determine how long it should be aerated, if at all.

Religious uses



Ancient religions


The use of wine in religious ceremonies is common to many cultures and regions. Libation
Libation
A libation is a ritual pouring of a liquid as an offering to a god or spirit or in memory of those who have died. It was common in many religions of antiquity and continues to be offered in various cultures today....

s often included wine, and the religious mysteries
Dionysian Mysteries
The Dionysian Mysteries were a ritual of ancient Greece and Rome which used intoxicants and other trance-inducing techniques to remove inhibitions and social constraints, liberating the individual to return to a natural state. It also provided some liberation for those marginalized by Greek...

 of Dionysus used wine as a sacramental entheogen
Entheogen
An entheogen , in the strict sense, is a psychoactive substance used in a religious, shamanic, or spiritual context. Historically, entheogens were mostly derived from plant sources and have been used in a variety of traditional religious contexts...

 to induce a mind-altering state.

Judaism


Wine is an integral part of Jewish laws and traditions
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

. The Kiddush
Kiddush
Kiddush , literally, "sanctification," is a blessing recited over wine or grape juice to sanctify the Shabbat and Jewish holidays.-Significance:...

is a blessing recited over wine or grape juice to sanctify the Shabbat
Shabbat
Shabbat is the seventh day of the Jewish week and a day of rest in Judaism. Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until a few minutes after when one would expect to be able to see three stars in the sky on Saturday night. The exact times, therefore, differ from...

 or a Jewish holiday
Jewish holiday
Jewish holidays are days observed by Jews as holy or secular commemorations of important events in Jewish history. In Hebrew, Jewish holidays and festivals, depending on their nature, may be called yom tov or chag or ta'anit...

. On Pesach (Passover
Passover
Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

) during the Seder, it is a Rabbinic obligation of men and women to drink four cups of wine. In the Tabernacle and in the Temple in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

, the libation of wine was part of the sacrificial service. Note that this does not mean that wine is a symbol of blood, a common misconception that contributes to the myth of the blood libel
Blood libel
Blood libel is a false accusation or claim that religious minorities, usually Jews, murder children to use their blood in certain aspects of their religious rituals and holidays...

. The blessing over wine said before consuming the drink is: "Baruch atah Hashem (Adonai) Eloheinu melech ha-olam, boray p’ree hagafen"—"Praised be the Lord, our God, King of the universe, Creator of the fruit of vine."

Christianity




In Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, wine is used in a sacred rite called the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

, which originates in the Gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

 account of the Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

 (Gospel of Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 22:19) that describe Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 sharing bread and wine with his disciples and commanding them to, "do this in remembrance of me." Beliefs about the nature of the Eucharist vary among denominations
Christian denomination
A Christian denomination is an identifiable religious body under a common name, structure, and doctrine within Christianity. In the Orthodox tradition, Churches are divided often along ethnic and linguistic lines, into separate churches and traditions. Technically, divisions between one group and...

 (see Eucharistic theologies contrasted
Eucharistic theologies contrasted
This article contrasts the views of a number of churches regarding Eucharistic theology:-Roman Catholic Church:* Transubstantiation as a statement of what is changed when the bread and wine are consecrated, not an explanation of the means or mode by which the Real Presence is effected, since "[t]he...

).

While some Christians consider the use of wine from the grape as essential for validity of the sacrament
Sacrament
A sacrament is a sacred rite recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites.-General definitions and terms:...

, many Protestants also allow (or require) unfermented, pasteurized
Pasteurization
Pasteurization is a process of heating a food, usually liquid, to a specific temperature for a definite length of time, and then cooling it immediately. This process slows microbial growth in food...

 grape juice as a substitute. Wine was used in Eucharistic rites by all Protestant groups until an alternative arose in the late 19th century. Methodist
Methodism
Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley's evangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. His younger brother...

 dentist
Dentist
A dentist, also known as a 'dental surgeon', is a doctor that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity. The dentist's supporting team aides in providing oral health services...

 and prohibition
Prohibition
Prohibition of alcohol, often referred to simply as prohibition, is the practice of prohibiting the manufacture, transportation, import, export, sale, and consumption of alcohol and alcoholic beverages. The term can also apply to the periods in the histories of the countries during which the...

ist Thomas Bramwell Welch
Thomas Bramwell Welch
Thomas Bramwell Welch was the inventor of the pasteurization process to prevent the fermentation of grape juice.-Birth and emigration:...

 applied new pasteurization techniques to stop the natural fermentation process of grape juice
Grape juice
Grape juice is obtained from crushing and blending grapes into a liquid. The juice is often sold in stores or fermented and made into wine, brandy, or vinegar. In the wine industry, grape juice that contains 7-23 percent of pulp, skins, stems and seeds is often referred to as "must"...

. Some Christians who were part of the growing temperance movement
Temperance movement
A temperance movement is a social movement urging reduced use of alcoholic beverages. Temperance movements may criticize excessive alcohol use, promote complete abstinence , or pressure the government to enact anti-alcohol legislation or complete prohibition of alcohol.-Temperance movement by...

 pressed for a switch from wine to grape juice, and the substitution spread quickly over much of the United States and to other countries to a lesser degree. There remains an ongoing debate between some American Protestant denominations as to whether wine can and should be used for the Eucharist or allowed as an ordinary beverage.

Islam


Alcoholic beverages, including wine, are forbidden under most interpretations of Islamic law
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

. Iran and Afghanistan previously had thriving wine industries that disappeared after the Islamic Revolution
Iranian Revolution
The Iranian Revolution refers to events involving the overthrow of Iran's monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and its replacement with an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the...

 in 1979 and earlier in Afghanistan. However, people of Nuristan in Afghanistan have produced wine since ancient times and still do so. In Greater Persia, Mei
Persian wine
Persian wine also called Mei and Badeh is a cultural symbol and tradition in Persia, and had a significant presence in Persian mythology, Persian poetry and Persian miniature.-History of wine in Persia:...

(Persian wine) has been a central theme of poetry
Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

 for more than a thousand years. Some Alevi
Alevi
The Alevi are a religious and cultural community, primarily in Turkey, constituting probably more than 15 million people....

 sects use wine in their religious services.

Certain exceptions to this rule apply. Alcohol derived from a source other than grape (or its by-product) and date is allowed in very small quantities (loosely defined as a quantity which does not intoxicate a person) under the Sunni Hanafi
Hanafi
The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit , a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani...

 madhab, for specific purposes (such as medicines), where the goal is not intoxication, with modern Hanafi scholars regarding alcohol consumption as totally forbidden.

Health effects


Although excessive alcohol consumption has adverse health effects, epidemiological studies have consistently demonstrated that moderate consumption of alcohol and wine is statistically associated
Association (statistics)
In statistics, an association is any relationship between two measured quantities that renders them statistically dependent. The term "association" refers broadly to any such relationship, whereas the narrower term "correlation" refers to a linear relationship between two quantities.There are many...

 with a decrease in death due to cardiovascular events such as heart failure  according to additional news reports on the French Paradox
French paradox
The French Paradox is the observation that French people suffer a relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease, despite having a diet relatively rich in saturated fats...

. The French paradox refers to the comparatively lower incidence of coronary heart disease
Coronary heart disease
Coronary artery disease is the end result of the accumulation of atheromatous plaques within the walls of the coronary arteries that supply the myocardium with oxygen and nutrients. It is sometimes also called coronary heart disease...

 in France despite high levels of saturated fat
Saturated fat
Saturated fat is fat that consists of triglycerides containing only saturated fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids have no double bonds between the individual carbon atoms of the fatty acid chain. That is, the chain of carbon atoms is fully "saturated" with hydrogen atoms...

 in the traditional French diet. Some epidemiologists suspect that this difference is due to the higher consumption of wines by the French, but the scientific evidence for this theory is limited. The average moderate wine drinker is more likely to exercise more, to be more health conscious, and to be of a higher educational and socioeconomic class, evidence that the association between moderate wine drinking and health may be related to confounding factors.

Population studies have observed a J curve
J curve
The term J-curve is used in several different fields to refer to a variety of unrelated J-shaped diagrams where a curve initially falls, but then rises to higher than the starting point....

 association between wine consumption and the risk of heart disease. This means that heavy drinkers have an elevated risk, while moderate drinkers (at most two five-ounce servings of wine per day) have a lower risk than non-drinkers. Studies have also found that moderate consumption of other alcoholic beverages may be cardioprotective, although the association is considerably stronger for wine. Also, some studies have found increased health benefits for red wine over white wine, though other studies have found no difference. Red wine contains more polyphenols than white wine, and these are thought to be particularly protective against cardiovascular disease.

A chemical in red wine called resveratrol
Resveratrol
Resveratrol is a stilbenoid, a type of natural phenol, and a phytoalexin produced naturally by several plants when under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi....

 has been shown to have both cardioprotective and chemoprotective effects in animal studies. Low doses of resveratrol in the diet of middle-aged mice has a widespread influence on the genetic levers of aging and may confer special protection on the heart. Specifically, low doses of resveratrol mimic the effects of what is known as caloric restriction - diets with 20–30 percent fewer calories than a typical diet. Resveratrol is produced naturally by grape skins in response to fungal infection, including exposure to yeast during fermentation
Fermentation (wine)
The process of fermentation in wine turns grape juice into an alcoholic beverage. During fermentation, yeast interact with sugars in the juice to create ethanol, commonly known as ethyl alcohol, and carbon dioxide...

. As white wine has minimal contact with grape skins during this process, it generally contains lower levels of the chemical. Other beneficial compounds in wine include other polyphenols, antioxidant
Antioxidant
An antioxidant is a molecule capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons or hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When...

s, and flavonoid
Flavonoid
Flavonoids , are a class of plant secondary metabolites....

s.

To fully get the benefits of resveratrol in wines, it is recommended to sip slowly when drinking wines. Due to inactivation in the gut and liver, most of the resveratrol in imbibed red wine does not reach the blood circulation. However, when sipping slowly, absorption via the mucous membranes in the mouth can result in up to around 100 times the blood levels of resveratrol.

Red wines from the south of France and from Sardinia
Sardinia
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

 in Italy have been found to have the highest levels of procyanidins
Proanthocyanidin
Proanthocyanidins, also known as OPCs or condensed tannins, are a subgroup of the flavonoid class of polyphenols...

, which are compounds in grape seeds suspected to be responsible for red wine's heart benefits. Red wines from these areas have between two and four times as much procyanidins as other red wines. Procyanidins suppress the synthesis of a peptide called endothelin-1 that constricts blood vessels.

A 2007 study found that both red and white wines are effective anti-bacterial agents against strains of Streptococcus
Streptococcus
Streptococcus is a genus of spherical Gram-positive bacteria belonging to the phylum Firmicutes and the lactic acid bacteria group. Cellular division occurs along a single axis in these bacteria, and thus they grow in chains or pairs, hence the name — from Greek στρεπτος streptos, meaning...

. Also, a report in the October 2008 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, posits that moderate consumption of red wine may decrease the risk of lung cancer
Lung cancer
Lung cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. If left untreated, this growth can spread beyond the lung in a process called metastasis into nearby tissue and, eventually, into other parts of the body. Most cancers that start in lung, known as primary...

 in men.

While evidence from laboratory and epidemiological (observational) studies suggest a cardioprotective effect, no controlled studies have been completed on the effect of alcoholic drinks on the risk of developing heart disease or stroke. Excessive consumption of alcohol can cause cirrhosis
Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis is a consequence of chronic liver disease characterized by replacement of liver tissue by fibrosis, scar tissue and regenerative nodules , leading to loss of liver function...

 of the liver and alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

; the American Heart Association
American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a non-profit organization in the United States that fosters appropriate cardiac care in an effort to reduce disability and deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke. It is headquartered in Dallas, Texas...

 cautions people to "consult your doctor on the benefits and risks of consuming alcohol in moderation."

Wine's effect on the brain is also under study. One study concluded that wine made from the Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most widely recognized red wine grape varieties. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country among a diverse spectrum of climates from Canada's Okanagan Valley to Lebanon's Beqaa Valley...

 grape reduces the risk of Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease also known in medical literature as Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death...

. Another study concluded that among alcoholics, wine damages the hippocampus to a greater degree than other alcoholic beverages.

Sulfite
Sulfite
Sulfites are compounds that contain the sulfite ion SO. The sulfite ion is the conjugate base of bisulfite. Although the acid itself is elusive, its salts are widely used.-Structure:...

s are present in all wines and are formed as a natural product of the fermentation process, and many wine producers add sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide is the chemical compound with the formula . It is released by volcanoes and in various industrial processes. Since coal and petroleum often contain sulfur compounds, their combustion generates sulfur dioxide unless the sulfur compounds are removed before burning the fuel...

 in order to help preserve wine. Sulfur dioxide is also added to foods such as dried apricot
Apricot
The apricot, Prunus armeniaca, is a species of Prunus, classified with the plum in the subgenus Prunus. The native range is somewhat uncertain due to its extensive prehistoric cultivation.- Description :...

s and orange juice
Orange juice
Orange juice is a popular beverage made from oranges. It is made by extraction from the fresh fruit, by desiccation and subsequent reconstitution of dried juice, or by concentration of the juice and the subsequent addition of water to the concentrate...

. The level of added sulphites varies, and some wines have been marketed with low sulphite content. Sulphites in wine can cause some people, particularly those with asthma
Asthma
Asthma is the common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath...

, to have adverse reactions.

A study of women in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, called The Million Women Study
The Million Women Study
The Million Women Study is a study of women’s health analyzing data from more than one million women aged 50 and over conducted by UK researchers. It is a collaborative project between Cancer Research UK and the National Health Service , with additional funding from the Medical Research Council...

, concluded that moderate alcohol consumption can increase the risk of certain cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

s, including breast, pharynx and liver cancer. This has led the lead author of the study, Professor Valerie Beral, to assert that there is not enough evidence to conclude that any positive health effects of red wine outweigh the risk of cancer, and is quoted as saying, "It's an absolute myth that red wine is good for you." Professor Roger Corder, author of The Red Wine Diet, counters that two small glasses of a very tannic, procyanadin rich wine would confer a benefit, although "most supermarket wines are low procyanadin and high alcohol."

Packaging



Most wines are sold in glass bottles
Wine bottle
A wine bottle is a bottle used for holding wine, generally made of glass. Some wines are fermented in the bottle, others are bottled only after fermentation. They come in a large variety of sizes, several named for Biblical kings and other figures. The standard bottle contains 750 ml,...

 and are sealed using corks
Cork (material)
Cork is an impermeable, buoyant material, a prime-subset of bark tissue that is harvested for commercial use primarily from Quercus suber , which is endemic to southwest Europe and northwest Africa...

 (50% of which come from Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

). An increasing number of wine producers have been using alternative closures
Alternative wine closures
Alternative wine closures are substitute closures used in the wine industry for sealing wine bottles in place of traditional cork closures. The emergence of these alternatives has grown in response to quality control efforts by winemakers to protect against "cork taint" caused by the presence of...

 such as screwcaps
Screw cap (wine)
A screw cap is a metal cap that screws onto threads on the neck of a bottle, generally with a metal skirt down the neck to resemble the traditional wine capsule . A layer of plastic , cork, rubber, or other soft material is used as wad to make a seal with the mouth of the bottle...

, or synthetic plastic
Plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

 "corks". In addition to being less expensive, alternative closures prevent cork taint
Cork taint
Cork taint is a broad term referring to a wine fault characterized by a set of undesirable smells or tastes found in a bottle of wine, especially spoilage that can only be detected after bottling, aging and opening...

, although they have been blamed for other problems such as excessive reduction.

Some wines are packaged in heavy plastic bags within cardboard boxes, and are called box wine
Box wine
A box wine is a wine packaged as a Bag-In-Box. Such packages contain a plastic bladder protected by a box, usually made of corrugated fiberboard.- History :...

s
, or cask wine. These wines are typically accessed via a tap on the side of the box. Box wine can stay acceptably fresh for up to a month after opening, while bottled wine oxidizes more rapidly and can degrade considerably in a few days.

Environmental considerations of wine packaging reveal benefits and drawbacks of both bottled and box wines. The glass used to make bottles is a nontoxic naturally-occurring substance that is completely recyclable, whereas the plastics used for box wine containers are typically much less environmentally friendly. However, wine bottle manufacturers have been cited for Clean Air Act
Clean Air Act
A Clean Air Act is one of a number of pieces of legislation relating to the reduction of airborne contaminants, smog and air pollution in general. The use by governments to enforce clean air standards has contributed to an improvement in human health and longer life spans...

 violations. A New York Times editorial suggested that box wine, being lighter in package weight, has a reduced carbon footprint
Carbon footprint
A carbon footprint has historically been defined as "the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organization, event, product or person.". However, calculating a carbon footprint which conforms to this definition is often impracticable due to the large amount of data required, which is...

 from its distribution. Boxed wine plastics, even though possibly recyclable, can be more labor-intensive (and therefore expensive) to process than glass bottles. And, while a wine box is recyclable, its plastic wine bladder most likely is not.

Storage



Wine cellar
Wine cellar
A wine cellar is a storage room for wine in bottles or barrels, or more rarely in carboys, amphorae or plastic containers. In an active wine cellar, important factors such as temperature and humidity are maintained by a climate control system. In contrast, passive wine cellars are not...

s
, or wine rooms if they are above-ground, are places designed specifically for the storage and aging of wine. In an active wine cellar, temperature and humidity are maintained by a climate control system. Passive wine cellars are not climate-controlled, and so must be carefully located. Wine is a natural, perishable food product; when exposed to heat, light, vibration or fluctuations in temperature and humidity, all types of wine, including red, white, sparkling, and fortified, can spoil. When properly stored, wines can maintain their quality and in some cases improve in aroma, flavor, and complexity as they age. Some wine experts contend that the optimal temperature for aging wine is 55 °F (12.8 °C), others 59 °F (15 °C). Wine refrigerators offer an alternative to wine cellars. They are available in capacities ranging from small 16-bottle units to furniture pieces that can contain 400 bottles. Wine refrigerators are not ideal for aging, but rather serve to chill wine to the perfect temperature for drinking. These refrigerators keep the humidity low, usually under 50%, which is below the optimal humidity of 50% to 70%. Lower humidity levels can dry corks out over time, allowing oxygen to enter the bottle and reduce the wine's quality.
Related professions
Name Description
Cooper
Cooper (profession)
Traditionally, a cooper is someone who makes wooden staved vessels of a conical form, of greater length than breadth, bound together with hoops and possessing flat ends or heads...

Craftsman of wooden barrels and casks. A cooperage is a company that produces such casks.
Garagiste
Garagistes
The garagistes refers to a group of innovative winemakers in the Bordeaux region, producing "Vins de garage", "Garage wine". A group emerged in the mid 1990s in reaction to the traditional style of red Bordeaux wine, which is highly tannic and requires long ageing in the bottle to become drinkable...

An amateur wine maker, or a derogatory term used for small scale operations of recent inception, usually without pedigree and located in Bordeaux
Négociant
Négociant
A négociant is the French term for a wine merchant who assembles the produce of smaller growers and winemakers and sells the result under its own name....

A wine merchant, most specifically those who assemble the produce of smaller growers and winemakers and sells them under their own name
Oenologist Wine scientist or wine chemist; a student of oenology
Oenology
Oenology,[p] œnology , or enology is the science and study of all aspects of wine and winemaking except vine-growing and grape-harvesting, which is a subfield called viticulture. “Viticulture & oenology” is a common designation for training programmes and research centres that include both the...

. A winemaker
Winemaker
A winemaker or vintner is a person engaged in winemaking. They are generally employed by wineries or wine companies, where their work includes:*Cooperating with viticulturists...

 may be trained as oenologist, but often hires a consultant instead
Sommelier
Sommelier
A sommelier , or wine steward, is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, commonly working in fine restaurants, who specializes in all aspects of wine service as well as wine and food matching...

A restaurant specialist in charge of assembling the wine list
Wine list
A wine list is a menu of wine selections for purchase, typically in a restaurant setting. A restaurant may include a list of available wines on its main menu, but usually provides a separate menu just for wines...

, educating the staff about wine, and assisting customers with their wine selections
Terroir specialist Someone (often a consultant or academic) with special knowledge of the interplay between the environmental factors such as soil, climate and topography—also known as terroir
Terroir
Terroir comes from the word terre "land". It was originally a French term in wine, coffee and tea used to denote the special characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place bestowed upon particular varieties...

—and wine grape quality or wine character
Vintner
Vintner
A vintner is a wine merchant. You pronounce it like this In some modern use, in particular in American English, the term is alsoused as a synonym for winemaker....

, Winemaker
Winemaker
A winemaker or vintner is a person engaged in winemaking. They are generally employed by wineries or wine companies, where their work includes:*Cooperating with viticulturists...

A wine producer; a person who makes wine
Viticulturist A person who specializes in the science of grapevines—can also be someone who manages vineyard pruning, irrigation, and pest control

See also


  • Acids in wine
    Acids in wine
    The acids in wine are an important component in both winemaking and the finished product of wine. They are present in both grapes and wine, having direct influences on the color, balance and taste of the wine as well as the growth and vitality of yeasts during fermentation and protecting the wine...

  • Aging of wine
    Aging of wine
    The aging of wine, and its ability to potentially improve wine quality, distinguishes wine from most other consumable goods. While wine is perishable and capable of deteriorating, complex chemical reactions involving a wine's sugars, acids and phenolic compounds can alter the aroma, color,...

  • Beverage
  • Conditum Paradoxum
    Conditum Paradoxum
    Conditum Paradoxum is a spiced wine of Ancient Rome. The Latin name translates roughly as "wine of spice and surprise". A recipe for Conditum Paradoxum was given in the classical cookbook Apicius or De re coquinaria and includes the following ingredients: wine, honey, pepper, mastic, laurel,...

    , a spiced wine of Ancient Rome
    Ancient Rome
    Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

  • Cork
  • Fruit wine
    Fruit wine
    Fruit wines are fermented alcoholic beverages made from a variety of base ingredients ; they may also have additional flavours taken from fruits, flowers, and herbs. This definition is sometimes broadened to include any fermented alcoholic beverage except beer...

  • Glossary of wine terms
    Glossary of wine terms
    The glossary of wine terms lists the definitions of many general terms used within the wine industry. For terms specific to viticulture, winemaking, grape varieties, and wine tasting, see the topic specific list in the "See also" section below.-A:...

  • Non-grape based wine
    Non-grape based wine
    The term wine can sometimes include alcoholic beverages that are not grape-based. This can include wines produced from fruits like apples and elderberries, starches like rice, as well as flowers and weeds like dandelion and marijuana...


  • Oak (wine)
  • Screw cap (wine)
    Screw cap (wine)
    A screw cap is a metal cap that screws onto threads on the neck of a bottle, generally with a metal skirt down the neck to resemble the traditional wine capsule . A layer of plastic , cork, rubber, or other soft material is used as wad to make a seal with the mouth of the bottle...

  • Spritzer
    Spritzer
    A spritzer is a tall, chilled drink, usually made with white wine and seltzer or club soda.-Origin and variations:Spritzer is derived from the variant of the German language spoken in Austria, where the drink is very popular. It is used alongside the equally common form Gespritzter A spritzer is a...

  • Wine accessory
    Wine accessory
    A Wine accessory is generally any equipment that may be used in the storing or serving of wine. Wine accessories include many items such as wine glasses, corkscrews, and wine racks.-Wine glasses:...

  • Wine clubs
    Wine clubs
    Wine Clubs are a developing extension of modern wine culture. Wine clubs are designed to provide customers with a series of wine bottles on a monthly or quarterly basis that they would otherwise have to find and purchase on their own. Wine clubs often behave in a themed manner, providing...

  • Wine Country
    Wine Country
    The Wine Country is a region of Northern California in the United States known worldwide as a premium wine-growing region. Viticulture and wine-making have been practiced in the region since the mid-19th century...

  • Winemaking
    Winemaking
    Winemaking, or vinification, is the production of wine, starting with selection of the grapes or other produce and ending with bottling the finished wine. Although most wine is made from grapes, it may also be made from other fruit or non-toxic plant material...



Further reading


Books

Review articles on possible health benefits

External links


  • The Guardian & Observer Guide to Wine
  • The wine anorak by wine writer Jamie Goode
    Jamie Goode
    Jamie Goode is a British author with a PhD in plant biology, and a wine columnist of The Sunday Express. Goode also contributes to wine publications such as Harpers, The World of Fine Wine, Decanter, GrapesTALK and Sommelier Journal....