1) When did humans start making wine?
Earlier than you’d think. Winemaking actually began back in 6,000 B.C. in ancient Mesopotamia and soon became very important to Israel, Egypt, and Greece. Winemaking rapidly expanded and was perfected during the Roman empire. It became such a profitable business that the emperor Domitian had to put a cap on vineyards to make sure enough grain was being grown for the population. Another fun fact: winemaking was one of the main technologies to survive the dark ages as it was essential to the catholic church during mass.
2) When was the corkscrew invented?
The corkscrew was invented during the 1700s. How did they age wine before the use of a cork and invention of a corkscrew? They didn’t. Before this time, wine was not aged. It was briefly stored in terracotta amphoras (a type of clay urn) and later in history, wooden barrels. The point was not to store the wine but to sell the wine as soon as possible. People would then purchase the wine hoping to consume it before it ever had a chance to spoil.
3) How many grapes does it take to make a standard bottle of wine?
It takes about two and a half pounds of grapes to make a bottle of wine. This is roughly 1,204 grapes. Pictured below is a half ton bin. Can you guess how many grapes that would be? It would be roughly 4,000 clusters which would be roughly 520,000 grapes! Which if you’re wondering, comes out to just about 432 bottles of wine. It takes quite a few grapes to make wine!
4) Where did the phrase, “drink to one’s health,” come from?
This phrase came from ancient Greece. It was a tradition in Greece for the host of a dinner party to take the first sip of wine to assure guests that the wine was not poisoned. There were a lot of politics in Greece! If you’re wondering why we more commonly toast now, it is because this Greek tradition carried on into the Roman empire where it was slightly altered. Roman’s kept the tradition of the first sip but also added a piece of toasted bread to each wine glass to temper excessive acidity.
5) Who are the better wine tasters, men or women?
The answer: women, particularly women of reproductive ages. This is because women have a stronger sense of smell than men do. In addition to this heightened sense of smell, it has been found that up to 35% of women are supertasters (containing a higher than average count of taste buds) compared to a mere 15% of men.