Champagne Fun Facts

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Champagne, the King of Wines and the Wine of Kings. Whether or not you personally enjoy drinking Champagne, it’s hard to deny that this wine has a special mystique.  Here are some fun facts about Champagne that you might find interesting… • Dom Pérignon did not invent sparkling Champagne. Its fizzy quality was actually an “accident” of nature. The Champagne region…

Maiwein (May wine)

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Has dancing around a maypole celebrating the arrival of spring left you feeling thirsty? Or are you just in the mood for a traditional springtime wine-based drink? In either case, Maiwein may be the perfect option. Maiwein (May wine) is a centuries-old beverage of German origin enjoyed in the spring, traditionally on the May Day holiday. It…

The UK “Government Wine Cellar”

Bottles of wine aging in a cellar

In late March, the UK government pulled out a few bottles from its wine collection, sold them at auction, and pocketed almost £75,000 (US $115,275) which it plans to use to replenish its wine cellar. Wait—a government with its own wine cellar? It may seem odd, but when you think about it, many a person…

The Origin of Champagne

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Wine has been made in the Champagne region since Roman times, but the sparkling white wine we know today was not developed until centuries later. Here’s how the wine we know and love today—which has become a fixture at holidays and special celebrations—came to be… Dom Pérignon did not invent sparkling Champagne; rather, its “fizzy…

Phylloxera: Tiny Pest, Huge Impact

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      In the late 19th century, an insect commonly referred to as phylloxera, spread throughout Europe destroying every vineyard in its path, and then made its way to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, continuing its rampage. At the time it was thought to be the biggest disaster in the history of wine,…

An Introduction to Italian Wine Classifications

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Currently Italy’s wine classification system has four categories. In descending “quality” order they are: DOCG (e.g. Controlled and Guaranteed Origin Denomination), DOC (Controlled Origin Denomination), IGT (Protected Geographic Indication), and vino da tavola (table wine). On August 1, 2009, new EU regulations went into effect that created a three tiered “quality structure” for wines, and…

Under the Sea: 200-Year-Old Champagne

In July of 2010, bottles of château-aged, ultra-premium Champagne—lost for more than 170 years—were discovered by marine archaeologists inside a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea. The site of the wreckage was in waters belonging to the Aland Islands, a Finnish archipelago located between Sweden and Finland. The vessel was a twin-masted schooner, believed to have…

Chianti

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Chianti, a red wine produced in the heart of Tuscany, Italy, is a wine with a complicated history. Once upon a time “Chianti” signified the white wines of the area. A couple hundred years later it had become red, and winemakers of the area were starting their slow march towards producing the wine we drink…

An Overview of the Italian Wine Industry

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Prior to the Romans, Etruscans, as well as Greek settlers, made wine in the area that is now Italy. Currently, Italy is the second-largest producer of wine by value and by volume. Italy overtook France as the number one wine producer by volume in the world as recently as 2008, however, the Italians slipped back…

The Varietals and Sub Regions of Bordeaux

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Bordeaux is perhaps the most famous and prodigious wine region in the world. The five varietals of Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. For a long time there was a sixth varietal, Carménère, and it is still grown in small amounts in Bordeaux, but the grape has fallen out of favor…