Why Are Ships Christened with Wine?

Marine tradition

Wine has been a part of many cultural traditions for thousands of years. One familiar tradition is the smashing of a bottle of Champagne against the bow of a ship as part of a ship christening ceremony. But what is the origin of this tradition?  For thousands of years, many cultures have christened their ships,…

340-Year-Old Tree Made into Wine Barrels

In 2005, the Bordeaux barrel-maker Tonnellerie Sylvain (Sylvain Cooperage) paid a record-breaking 37,790 euros for a 340-year-old oak tree auctioned by the French government. The tree was the last of the oldest oaks from the Morat Grove of the ancient Tronçais forest. It had been planted during the reign of Louis XIV at the direction…

All About Cork

Cork-Tree, cork oak

Ever wonder where cork comes from or when it was first used to seal wine? Here’s some interesting information we learned from the Portuguese Cork Association (APCOR). What is cork? Cork is the bark of the cork oak (Quercus suber L), a tree that grows in Mediterranean regions such as Spain, Italy, France, Morocco, Algeria…

The Mexican Wine Industry

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Although most think of Mexico as the land of tequila, Mexico’s wine industry is actually the oldest in the New World. It got its start in 1521, one year after the Spanish invasion, when conquistadors started planting vines. Then, in 1524, Hernán Cortés, the governor of New Spain (Mexico), decreed that each Spanish settler who had…

Mead

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Mead (“honey wine”) is believed by many historians to be the oldest fermented beverage, dating back to about 8,000 B.C. It was enjoyed by ancient people in Europe, Africa and Asia, and mentions of it can be found in ancient myths, folktales, hymns and sacred texts from around the world. To the ancients, mead was…

US$172,000 “Bottle” of Wine

Penfolds is releasing a limited edition glass ampoule containing its rare 2004 Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon. Each ampoule contains the equivalent of one bottle of wine (750ml) and costs approximately US$172,000. According to Penfolds, the vessel is a “beautiful objet d’art designed to store wine in an ideal environment.” The handblown ampoule is securely…

Founding Fathers Wine Fun Facts

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Several of the United States’ Founding Fathers were fond of wine. Here are some fun facts on their interests from Thomas Jefferson on Wine by John Hailman. George Washington was particularly fond of Madeira. He ordered Madeira directly by the barrel straight from the best producers on the island. He also ordered vine cuttings from…

Red Wine Made into Dress

Researchers at the University of Western Australia have discovered a way to make red wine into clothing, no weaving required. Scientist Gary Cass got the idea when he noticed a skin-like rubbery layer covering a vat of wine that was contaminated with Acetobacter, a non-hazardous bacteria. Working with artist Donna Franklin, they developed this material…

Wine Crimes

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Counterfeiting, vandalism, arson. Here’s a rundown of some of the more notorious “wine crimes” that have been in the news recently… Wine Collector Indicted for Counterfeiting In May 2012, Rudy Kurniawan, a collector of fine and rare wines who represented himself as an expert skilled at detecting counterfeit wine, was arrested on charges that he…

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