Did you know that Thomas Jefferson’s knowledge of wine was so extensive, he served as the White House wine advisor under a few presidents? That is just one nugget of trivia surrounding the wonderful world of wine. The Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition celebrates not only the globe’s finest vintages, but honors the fascinating history behind this ebullient beverage. Here are some more engaging tidbits:
- In the Middle Ages, wine was used as currency.
- The first commercial U.S. winery, established in 1823, was located in Missouri.
- The Armenians claim Noah planted the first vineyards on earth in their country.
- When Leif Ericsson landed in North America in 1001 A.D., he was so impressed by the proliferation of grapevines that he named it Vinland.
- When Mt. Vesuvius buried Pompeii in volcanic lava in 79 A.D., it also buried more than 200 wine bars.
- Wine has so many organic chemical compounds, it is considered more complex than blood serum.
- Grapes were first planted in California at Mission San Diego in 1769.
- Louis Pasteur first determined the true nature of fermentation.
- The descending tears of wine seen on the inside of a glass after it has
been swirled are called legs.
- The 17th century Benedictine monk, Dom Pérignon, is credited with discovering the cork as a means to seal wine and champagne bottles. He is also credited with discovering the process of making champagne. It is said upon his first taste of champagne he cried, “Come quickly, I am tasting stars…”
- One glass of wine contains 9.7 ounces of grapes and 6.4 ounces of wine.
- One bottle of wine contains 2.4 pounds of grapes, 25.6 ounces of wine and four glasses of wine.
- Robert Mondavi built Napa Valley’s first new winery after the repeal of prohibition.
- Prior to the Civil War, Ohio was considered America’s most important wine producing state.
- Robert Louis Stevenson referred to wine as “bottled poetry.”
- According to scientist Bill Lembeck, there are approximately 49 million bubbles in a bottle of champagne.
- A morbid, irrational fear of or aversion to wine is oenophobia.
- The largest cork tree in the world is known as “The Whistler Tree.” Located in the Alentejo region of Portugal, it averages more than one ton of raw cork per harvest – enough to cork 100,000 bottles of wine.
- Napa Valley recently surpassed Disneyland as California’s No. 1 tourist destination with 5.5 million visitors a year.
- The U.S. is the fourth largest wine-producing nation coming in behind Italy, France and Spain.
- The U.S. ranks 33rd in per capita wine consumption with 2.08 gallons a year.
Trivia from the Web sites laboheme.com, damngoodwine.com, travelenvoy.com, bellaoneline.com and smalloak.com.