Wine 101

| Posted by Megan for Sutter Home

Wine. We know you love it. The pop of the cork, the splash into the glass, pairing with dinner. You may be a wine liker, a wine lover, a wine geek. You may want to just enjoy it but you may want more…we’re here to bring you more.

Fun facts! (Thanks to Napa Valley Vintners!)

~California vineyards were first planted in 1778 by Spanish Mission Fathers. The first winery was established in the 1850s during the California Gold Rush.

~One barrel of wine equals roughly 20 cases, which equals 1200 glasses.

~A ton of grapes makes about 720 bottles of wine, or 60 cases.

~One vine annually produces between four and six bottles of wine, or between 20 and 30 glasses.

How to read the label
Here is a great article on how to read a wine label from the Wine Institute:

1. Brand/producer name.

2. Vintage, or the year the grapes were grown—wines must contain a minimum of 95 percent of the stated vintage if the appellation is an AVA, and a minimum of 85 percent for appellations that are a county, state, multi-county or multi-state.

3. Type of wine—this may be varietal, generic, or proprietary. Varietal wines, like the Chardonnay above, must contain at least 75 percent of the stated wine varietal.
4. Place of origin/geographical growing area—to state “California,” 100 percent of the wine must come from grapes grown within the state; to use a county name, 75 percent of the grapes must come from that county; and to use an AVA (a federally approved American Viticultural Area) 85 percent of the grapes must come from the defined area.

5. Individual vineyard—at least 95 percent of the wine in the bottle must have come from grapes grown in the named vineyard.

6. Alcohol content—wines designated as “Table Wine” (7 to 14 percent alcohol) are not required to show alcohol content. Otherwise, these wines with 7-14 percent state the alcohol content. For wine that exceeds 14 percent alcohol, the label must reveal that information.

7. Sulfite statement—sulfur dioxide is a natural by-product of winemaking, and has been used for centuries as a preservative in virtually all wines. Federal law now requires that the label reveal that wine contains sulfites.

How to open a bottle
We know you already know how to do this but maybe there’s a tip or two that can make it easier!

1. Place the foil cutter (the knife part of the tool, may also be a sharp cutting disk) under the lip at the end of the wine capsule on the top of the bottle. Press against the edge under the rim of the foil and rip the cutter knive upwards all the way to the top removing the foil.

2. CAREFULLY enclose the knife back into it's recess.

3. The coiled section of a Sommelier knife is called the "worm". Place the tip of the worm just next to the center of the cork,on a 45'angle. The middle of the worm (where there is no metal) should be over the middle of the cork.

4. Press the worm into the cork turning clockwise while you twist the the bottle anticlockwise in your other hand turn the worm until it's just about tothe end of the cork.(don't go any further into the cork.

5. Move the lever arm down against the neck. (top of the bottle).

6. Pull up on the lever (i.e. the handle) firmly. The cork will gently lift up out of the bottle.

We’ll continue this series throughout the year.

Cheers!

Comments

Submitted by John on

How come wine is not simply listed as sweet, dry, and in between?

Submitted by Megan on

Great! We're happy these were helpful for you. We'll continue the series regularly, so if you have any burning questions about wine, send them over!

Submitted by Jody on

Great tips! Thank you! Wine 101 is a class I will go back to school for! lol

Submitted by Megan on

Hi John! In general, most tasting notes will help you decipher a wine's residual sugar (RS) level - look for words like off-dry, slightly sweet, dessert, dry, strong tannins (very dry), soft, etc. If you ever have any questions about Sutter Home wines (or any wine!), feel free to contact us any time via email, our blog comments, Twitter: @sutterhome or Facebook! www.facebook.com/sutterhome

Submitted by Deborah on

I really like the facts. It is amazing how it can become a conversation piece. Looking forward to more tips, ideas, and facts.

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