Building Wine Know… Day 4 of 6

Winos… I’d like to confirm that it is so damn fun to spend the whole day talking about and studying wine.

Before I get going with today’s fun facts learned from my lessons at the International Wine Guild, I’d like to mention that I corrected some info regarding reserve wines in my previous post.  Legal definitions/requirements for the word for “reserve” exist for five countries, not just one.  See that post for more details….

So… let the wine fun facts roll…

  • The movie Sideways, which came out in 2004, made a huge impact on the U.S. wine industry.  The main character talked extensively of the greatness of Pinot Noir and his personal disdain for Merlot.  After that movie, Pinot Noir sales jumped by 50%… Luckily, Merlot didn’t decrease – and they actually still increased in sales by about 5%.
  • The U.S. has more native species of grapes than any other region in the world.  Sadly, most are not suitable for making wine… In contrast, Europe has only one species of grape, which clearly is suitable for winemaking. (And is mostly what we use in the U.S. for winemaking as well.)
  • Pinot Noir was not planted in Oregon until 1965! In fact, the U.S. really didn’t get into winemaking until the 1980s after Chateau Montelena (a California winery) won a blind tasting in France in 1976.  (Watch the movie Bottle Shock – it tells this great story!)  Soon after, vineyards began to take root and winemaking started to flow.  (Both puns intended because I’m feeling annoying.) Anyway, northern California went from having a handful of wineries to hundreds in just a few years. Strange to think this country hasn’t been making wine on a large scale until the last 35 years.

Two more days of fun facts to go…

PS: I should really be focused on preparing for my quiz tomorrow (while enjoying this gorgeous bottle of Ridge Zin). But I’m so entertained by these random bits of wine know, I just had to share!

I should be studying these right now...

I should be studying these right now…



  1. What makes a grape unsuitable for wine-making? Sugar content? Size?

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