To say Vatican residents love their wine would be an understatement. According to a recent report published by the Wine Institute, more wine is drunk per person in Vatican City than any other country in the world.
There are around 800 (give or take) residents in the Vatican. While there are probably a few people who prefer to pass on wine, most drink this beverage on a daily basis. The Wine Institute report suggests that the Vatican consumes an average of 74 liters of wine, which is about 105 bottles in a one-year period. Considering the fact that only 800 people live in the Vatican, that’s quite an impressive feat!
Note: These figures suggests that residents in Vatican City drink twice as much wine as Italy and France.
So, why do Vatican City residents have such a natural attraction towards wine? There are a couple different factors at play, one of which is communion. Residents here don’t drink wine strictly because they are thirsty or because they enjoy its flavor, but they also drink it for religious purposes. Vatican City is comprised mostly of older males, which also the plays a role in its abnormally high rate of wine consumption. When a resident wants a bottle of wine, they simply walk to the main market where it’s sold at a low cost with practically no tax.
Of course, Vatican City’s small size also affects its per-capita consumption. With just 800 residents in the small city, it’s easy to gauge a more a accurate reading of the city’s wine consumption. Performing this same measurement in a country like France wouldn’t work due to its size and population.
The Religion News Service (RNS) report states the following:
“The Wine institute says the Vatican consumed 74 liters of wine per person, around double the per-capita consumption of Italy as a whole. A standard bottle of wine is about .75 liters.
And while some of that consumption is clearly related to ceremonial Communion wine, Italian press reports say it’s more likely because Vatican residents are older (the lack of children are figured into the statistics), are overwhelmingly male, are highly educated and tend to eat communally — all factors that tend to lead toward higher wine consumption.”
What do you think about Vatican City’s love for wine?
Vatican City: photo by dsltravel.com.
Some people might turn their head at the notion of living organisms thriving in their favorite wine, but they are actually beneficial and help to create the delicate balance of flavor, aroma and body. A recent study published at Britain’s Royal Society revealed just what type of bugs are commonly found within wine. While most people are familiar with yeast (which is technically a living organism), there’s a new ‘wine bug’ in town that’s creating quite a stir among wine enthusiasts.
Okay, the bug found within wine isn’t exactly new, but scientists believe they are closer to understanding how it affects wine. Oenococcus oeni is a type of bacteria that’s commonly found in wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages. It forms during fermentation and plays a key role in the wine (or beer’s) flavor.
During the study, Italian and Spanish researchers closely monitored the protein cells within Oenococcus oeni. They broke down the wine bug to find out just how many different proteins it possessed. In total, researchers counted a total of 152 different proteins, all of which play a role in the bacteria’s normal function.
For the next leg of the study, researchers performed a side-by-side comparison of Oenococcus oeni with a similar, non-alcohol related bacteria strain. As they expected, Oenococcus oeni possessed proteins which were unique and not found in other, similar strains. According to researchers’ report published in the Open Biology journal, Oenococcus oeni is responsible for moving and rearranging compounds which give wine nutty and fruity flavors. It’s a pretty exciting discovery that may lead to changes within the wine industry.
Researchers said the following:
“The harsh wine environment represents a challenge to the survival of O. oeni and can strongly affect the successful outcome of the vinification. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms related to the stress adaptation and technical performance of O. oeni is crucial for the characterisation and selection of strains for industrial purposes.”
So, what does all of this mean for wine drinkers such as yourself? Unless you intend to start a winery, don’t worry too much about Oenococcus oeni. It’s a ‘good’ bacteria that’s found in practically all fermented beverages, including wine and beer. While scientists have known for some time that Oenococcus oeni affects wine, this study reveals exactly how it’s able to alter the flavor of wine (through compound rearrangement).
Photo of Oenococcus oeni via Wikipedia Public Domain.
Yes, there’s really a National Wine Day that’s celebrated by millions of people throughout the country. Yesterday, February, 18th, was National Wine Day. People from across the country enjoyed the flavor, aroma and delectable texture of this beverage. If you happened to miss the 2014 National Wine Day, keep reading for some of the nation’s top stories regarding this fun-filled American holiday.
What Exactly Is National Wine Day?
The short answer is that National Wine Day is an American holiday based around the enjoyment of wine. Whether you prefer white, red, rose or any other variety, you can pick up a bottle of wine to partake in this holiday.
We don’t know who exactly is responsible for starting National Wind Day, but the phenomenon has certainly grown over the years. The 2014 National Wine Day was picked up by dozens of news and media outlets, some of which included the Huffington Post, NBC Chicago and Examiner.
The website NationalWineDay.org (no confirmation whether or not this is the official site) states the following:
“The purpose of National Drink Wine Day is to spread the love and health benefits of wine. Wine has played an important role in history, religion and relationships. We embrace the positive benefits of wine such as new friends, reduced risk of heart disease and the enhancement of food and life.”
NBC Chicago published an article on their website highlighting some of the windy city’s wine events on the National Wine Day. Both D.O.C. Wine Bar locations were throwing special events yesterday specifically for National Wine Day. Patrons could enjoy half-priced bottles between 5PM - 2AM along with special wine-tasting events.
But Chicago wasn’t the only city that celebrated National Wine Day. From Atlanta and New York City to Los Angeles and Seattle, establishments throughout the country were offering special promotions in celebration of this American holiday. If you happened to miss out on this year’s National Wine Day, be sure to mark your calender for 2015. It’s a great time to meet new people while enjoying wine at discounted prices.
Of course, you really don’t need a holiday to enjoy your favorite bottle of wine. While “National Wine Day” is a fun theme that’s sure to attract some people to the hobby, there’s no reason why the other 364 days can’t be your own personal Wine Day.
Here’s a scenario to consider: you’re getting ready to travel on a long-distance business trip, so you stash a couple bottles of your favorite Pinot noir into the suitcase. Upon reaching your destination, however, you’re distraught by the sight of red wine and broken glass covering your clothes. In addition to losing your wine, you’ve also ruined your clothes.
Unfortunately, scenarios such as this are all too common. Whether you’re going on a business trip or taking a vacation with the family, you may feel inclined to bring along a bottle of your favorite wine. After all, you don’t want to end up scrounging around a foreign town in hopes of finding some cheap boxed wine to get you through the week. If you’re going to bring a bottle or two along, there are a few things you should know.
Air travel creates a whole new set of hurdles for wine drinkers. In the past, certain airlines allowed passengers to bring a bottle of wine in their carry-on bag. I’ve personally enjoyed numerous bottles of wine from an altitude of 40,000 feet. Over the past 15 years, however, the Travel Safety Administration (TSA) has tightened restrictions on airflow, now prohibiting wine or any other beverage in carry-on bags.
The good news is that you can still travel by air with your wine; you just need to store it in a checked bag. The TSA has certain regulations in place which prohibit and limit certain alcoholic beverages in checked bags, but they don’t apply to wine (assuming it’s lower than 24% alcohol by volume).
Whether you’re traveling by plane, car or boat, you should carefully pack your wine so there’s little-to-no chance of in-transit breakage. See below for some key tips on how to pack a bottle of wine in your luggage:
- Wrap the wine with several layers of bubble wrap.
- Cover the bubble wrap with packing paper.
- Nestle the newly wrapped bottle down into the center of your clothes.
- If necessary, add more clothes next to the wine so there’s no room for it to move around.
If All Else Fails…
If you’re concerned about losing your wine, and your clothes, from a broken bottle, you can always pay for the services of a professional carrier. Simply take your bottle to a local USPS, FedEx or UPS store and let them handle the legwork.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner (February 14th, FYI), men and women everywhere are scrambling to prepare the perfect evening with their significant other — and there’s no better way to celebrate this romantic holiday than with a bottle of wine. The rich flavors combined with pleasing aromas offer a delicate balance that your significant other is sure to appreciate. For more tips on choosing the perfect wine for Valentine’s Day, keep reading.
Uh Oh! What If I Don’t Know How To Order?
Here’s a scenario to consider: you’re out enjoying a nice dinner on Valentine’s Day and your date wants you to order a bottle of wine. Unfortunately, you aren’t experienced in ordering wine at restaurants, so you end up choosing a poor variety that doesn’t compliment the food.
Scenarios such as the one mentioned above are all too common, but the good news is that you can order wine like a pro — even if it’s your first time — by following some simple steps this Valentine’s Day.
- Ask the server if they have any Valentine’s Day wine specials.
- Look over the wine list before ordering.
- Avoid the “house” wines, as they are typically sub-par to other varieties available.
- Choose a variety that compliments your and your date’s meals.
So, Which Valentine’s Day Wine Should I Choose?
If you’re going out to dinner at a local restaurant, you’ll be limited to choosing a wine offered at the establishment. Again, this is why it’s important to scan over the wine list.
Of course, some couples may prefer to stay home rather than battling their way through massive crowds accompanied with 2-hour long wait times. Opting for a quite evening at home offers a greater amount of freedom in terms of wine selection.
White, Red, Rose, Sparkling and More, Oh My!
Can’t seem to choose a variety of your Valentine’s Day extravaganza? Talk with your significant other to see what they prefer. Some people prefer the bubbly, carbonated body of sparkling wine for Valentine’s Day, while others prefer a more romantic and calming red variety.
Also, you should hit the wine store ahead of time so you aren’t fighting the crowds on Valentine’s Day. Waiting until February 14th to pick up your wine could leave you standing in long lines, not to mention the possibility of your wine selling out by then.
California is currently in the midst of a severe drought. Not only has this magnified the intensity of fires in the region, but it’s also had a severe impact on Napa Valley’s wine industry. With vineyard owners struggling to water their crops, some people are forced to harvest early or lose their grapes altogether.
How Bad Is The Drought?
To put the problem of California’s drought into perspective, satellite images courtesy of NASA reveals the missing snow and ice-capped mountains in the region. It’s pretty stunning to see just how much of a difference a one-year-long drought can make in a region.
Mark Cowin stated the following: ”In November, because of the drought, officials at the state Department of Water Resources announced that summer water deliveries from the project would be only 5 percent of the amount that the farms and cities who buy water from the project have under contract. By comparison, the project allocated 35 percent last year and 65 percent in 2012.
However, he then followed up with: “Simply put, there’s not enough water in the system right now for customers to expect any water this season from the project,”
How California’s Drought Has Affected Napa Valley
Water is arguably one of the most influential factors in terroir. Without water, grapes will cease to grow; it’s just that simple.
California’s widespread drought has left Napa Valley wineries to harvest early and grow fewer crops. When you’re forced to use 70% less water, you’ll experience a 70% smaller crop. As you can expect, this is a huge blow to wineries in the region who rely on wine sales as their primary source of income.
But there is hope on the horizon for Napa Valley wineries. Even with the state’s severe drought, there are plenty of underground aquifers throughout the region which winery and vineyard owners may use to irrigate their crops. It’s certainly not a long-term solution, but accessing these underground water sources will temporarily provide crops with water.
There’s still no word yet on whether or not this drought will affect Napa Valley wine prices. If a large portion of the vineyards are lost as a result of the drought, however, there’s a good chance we’ll see higher prices in the months to come.
What do you think about California’s drought and how it’s affected Napa Valley’s wine industry?
Congratulations on your decision to purchase a wine refrigerator. It’s a smart investment that improves the quality of your wine while prolonging its life in the process. But once you’ve acquired one, you’ll need to find a location to store it. In this blog post, we’re going to reveal some helpful tips on how to choose the right location for a wine refrigerator..
Do I Really Need a Wine Refrigerator?
Far too many people stick their wines in the kitchen refrigerator with complete disregard for the temperature and humidity levels. This ultimately leads to premature spoilage, essentially ruining an otherwise perfect bottle of wine. A wine refrigerator is designed to store wine safely and effectively to prevent spoilage such as this.
Advantages of using a wine refrigerator:
- Adjustable temperature controls
- Adjustable humidity controls
- Stores wine horizontally rather than vertical (recommended method).
- Protects against premature spoilage
- Let’s face it, wine refrigerators are stylish accessories that brighten a home’s decor
- Certain models are capable of storing dozens or even hundreds of wine bottles
Most people tend to install their wine refrigerators in the kitchen. When they are ready to enjoy a bottle of wine, they’ll have access to all of the appropriate stemware nearby.
Of course, some people prefer to compliment their wine with a snack, such as cheese, crackers or fruit, which is another reason why the kitchen is a popular location for a wine refrigerator.
Other Locations To Consider…
You don’t have to limit yourself to the kitchen, however. There are several other locations throughout the home which are suitable for wine refrigerators. Game rooms, for instance, are a popular alternative. When guests come over to watch a sports game or move in the game room, you’ll have access to all of your favorite wines right at your fingertips — without having to make a special trip up to the kitchen.
I’ve also seen wine refrigerators installed in the dining room. Here, they offer a subtle touch of elegance and opulence to the surrounding decor, bringing the dining room together in a cohesive manner.
Note: regardless of which room you choose to install your wine refrigerator, make sure there’s and electrical outlet nearby.
The bottom line is that it’s really up to you where you decide to install your new wine refrigerator. The key thing to remember is that you want to choose a convenient location that’s going to make it easy for you to pop the cork when you’re ready to enjoy a bottle.
48-bottle dual-zone wine refrigerator.
There’s nothing quite as delectable as a glass of red wine along with a piece of dark chocolate. Most people view this combination poor in terms of nutrition and health effects, but a recent study in the January edition of the Journal of Medicine suggests otherwise.
The Journal of Medicine study monitored the diet habits of roughly 2,000 women, paying close attention to their flavonoid consumption. Participants were given a questionnaire, asking which types of flavonoid foods they consumed and how much. In addition, participants were asked to provide blood samples for further data research.
Tim Spector, co-author of the study, said:
“This is an exciting finding that shows that some components of foods that we consider unhealthy like chocolate or wine may contain some beneficial substances. If we can start to identify and separate these substances we can potentially improve healthy eating. There are many reasons including genetics why people prefer certain foods so we should be cautious until we test them properly in randomized trials and in people developing early diabetes.”
Flavonoid Consumption Linked To Lower Rates of Diabetes
The study found that participants who consumers moderate-to-high amounts of flavonoids experienced lower rates of diabetes. More specifically, these participants had better insulin activity than participants with little-to-no flavonoid consumption, which translates into a lower chance of diabetes.
What Are Flavonoids?
Now let’s talk about flavonoids and how they relate to red wine and chocolate. In short, flavonoids are organic compounds found in most plants and plant-based matter. They work as an antioxidant to neutralize the threat of cell-damaging free radicals.
While there are hundreds of foods contains flavonoids, red wine and dark chocolate are two of the top sources for these antioxidant compounds. It’s important to note, however, that dark chocolate (not milk) and red wine (not white) are the best in terms of health.
Like all things, though, chocolate and wine should be consumed in moderation for optimal results. A glass or two of red wine per day is perfectly fine, but drinking more than this amount could negate its positive benefits.
Lead researcher Professor Aedin Cassidy said the following:
“Small changes to the normal diet you have can have significant effects on prevention efforts. We show that one portion of berries every day can help you control your blood sugar levels but also prevent you having a heart attack.”
Glass of red wine and chocolates: photo by kev-shine.
If you are one of the millions of Americans who made a resolution to lose weight this year, you aren’t alone. According to StatisticsBrain.com, the most common resolution for 2014 was to lose weight, with “getting organized” following closely behind in second place. While wine isn’t a calorie-free beverage, you can still enjoy it while losing weight; here’s how you do it:
Choose a Variety With Low Alcohol Content
Alcohol plays a direct role in the calories of wine. The higher the alcohol content, the more calories it contains. Whether you’re looking to shed some unwanted pounds or maintain a healthier lifestyle, opting for a low-alcohol wine will help you achieve these goals.
Don’t be afraid to ask your server or bartender for recommendations on a low-alcohol wine variety. Assuming they are knowledgeable of their inventory, they should be able to guide you in the right direction. Alternatively, refer to the lists below for more details on low and high-alcohol wine varieties.
- Pinot gris
- Sauvignon Blanc
- French Sauterness
- Chenin blanc
- Pinot noir
- rose wine
- dessert wine.
- German Reisling
- White Zinfandel
- Bordeux wine
- sparkling wine
Note: alcohol content may vary depending on production methods, terrior, region and aging.
Drink In Moderation
Enjoying wine in moderation is critical if you are trying to slim down. A four-ounce glass of red wine contains roughly 90-100 calories, which is actually less than a can of soda. However, most people overfill their glasses with 6 or even 8 ounces.
A good rule of thumb is to stick with 1-2 glasses of wine per day. Drinking this amount should have little-to-no effect on your weight, while still allowing you to enjoy this delicious beverage.
Stick With Red Wine
Red wine is considered an all-around healthier choice than red varieties. The reasoning being is that it’s fermented while the grape skins are left in tact. This allows the wine to become infused with key antioxidants polyphenols. Although white wine offers ‘some’ health benefits, it fails in comparison to red varieties.
Take the Mediterranean Diet, for instance, people living here experience significantly lower rates of heart disease, and researchers believe this is due in part to their daily consumption of red wine.
Drinking red wine isn’t going to miraculously help you lose weight, but the benefits it provides will certainly get your body back on the right track to better health.
Storing wine in authentic oak barrels allows it gracefully age while infusing it with distinct, natural flavors. Oak is the material of choice for many wineries due to its ability to enhance wine flavors rather than overwhelm them. While this hardwood can be found throughout the wood, wine barrels are typically made from either American or French oak. These two oak varieties are excellent choices for wine barrels; however, there are some subtle nuances that you should know.
Typically used for storing wine varieties like Cabernet, Merlot and Zinfandel, American oak is a popular alternative to traditional French oak. Although it looks similar — if not identical — to French oak, there are a few key differences between them. For starters, American oak is more dense than its counterpart, resulting in slower extraction. It’s still able to absorb ‘some’ of the wine stored inside, but it’s not nearly as porous as French oak.
In terms of flavor, most wine experts agree that American oak possesses a unique combination of sweetness, nutmeg, clove, cedar and vanilla. Depending on the particular type (see list mentioned above) of wine being stored, using an American oak barrel can really enhance its flavors to achieve superb drinking experience.
From a vineyard or winery’s perspective, another benefit of choosing American over French oak is the cost. American oak wine barrels cost a fraction of the price of their counterpart, making it an excellent choice for new, budget-conscious wineries looking to enter the industry.
In the past, nearly all wine barrels were produced using French oak. It’s a versatile, highly sought after hardwood that’s perfect for storing wine. One of the advantages of choosing French over American oak for the production of wine barrels is the increased tannin content in provides. Due to the organic makeup of French oak, wine stored inside these barrels tends to develop a higher tannin content over time.
The flavor offered by French oak wine barrels varies, but some of the most commonly reported flavor ‘hints’ include butterscotch, cedar, vanilla, and coconut, along with a general creamy texture. The heavier flavors combined with an increased tannin content are ideal for full-bodies wine varieties.
Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding of the differences between French and American oak barrels for wine.