Millennials are drinking more wine than any other generation has done before, so it's safe to say that it's pretty popular these days. In 2015, millennials drank a massive 42 percent of all the wine in the U.S. That means that the 79 million Americans between the ages of 21 and 38 drank on average two cases each per year. Interestingly, that age group also seems more likely to shell out a little more for nice wine, as well as have more eclectic tastes and be more likely to buy wine that came from another country than California. Odds are good that you're one of these wine drinkers. After all, there's no greater joy in life than sharing a bottle with your girlfriends and gossiping (and sharing awful date stories, too). Here are 15 really cool facts about wine that you probably don't know. Read on (and maybe grab a glass of your fave).
15 You Can't Tell The Difference Between Red And White
Now if you are a seasoned wine drinker or even an occasional one, you would probably assume that there are big taste differences between reds and whites. And it seems obvious, right? They just taste different. However, that might not actually be the case. A study done in 2001 at the University of Bordeaux put this to the test by tricking students into tasting what they thought was a red wine, but what was actually a dyed white wine. They had no idea. The biggest difference between red and white wine? It's actually how they're made. Red wines are made with darker grapes and with white wines generally the juice is squeezed out of the grapes and then just the juice is fermented without the grape skins in there to give it color. This is also why red wines typically have more tannins and the antioxidant resveratrol.
14 Wine Experts Aren't So Expert
Of course, there has also been plenty of studies about whether or not wine specialists really know as much as they claim to. Some studies have found that many wine specialists will talk up a more expensive wine compared to the less expensive wine... even when they're being tricked and they are actually the same wine. The moral? Unless you're a trained and certified wine expert, pickiness might be a bit of a farce. Sorry if you're a self-proclaimed wine snob. One guy named Roger Hodgson has tested multiple times to compare the consistency of wines who win at certain competitions and not at others. It seems to be bunk. He has said, "The results are disturbing. Only about 10% of judges are consistent and those judges who were consistent one year were ordinary the next year. Chance has a great deal to do with the awards that wines win."
13 One Wine Expert Was A P.E. Teacher
Former P.E. teacher Richard Juhlin proved he had one of the best noses for wine in 2003, when he did a blind tasting for Spectacle du Monde and properly identified 43 of the 50 wines. Supposedly he was extra good with champagne. To put those numbers into perspective, the person who came in at second place only correctly identified four of them. To be a trained wine professional who makes wine pairings in a restaurant you have to become a sommelier, which is no small feat. It requires some sort of combination of experience, training, and formal education. To advance the degree you have to put in a lot of study time as well as money, but then you can get a snazzy job of being the wine boss at the nicest restaurant in town.
12 Two Glasses Of Wine Will Impair You
Drinking just two glasses of wine can lead to the same drop in performance as staying awake for 17 hours can. So even if you don't feel drunk, you sort of are. Not to mention the fact that women tend to get drunk faster than men do thanks to the ratio of water to fat in the body. You should keep in mind that what you consider one glass of wine is not how the law measures it. Even if you think you're pouring yourself a single serving of wine, studies have shown that it's almost impossible for people to gauge the volume of liquids, especially when you throw different types of glasses or cups into the equation. Plus, how often do you fill up the top of your glass on purpose because why not? That's technically going to be more than a glass, and pretty quickly more than you could drive on.
11 You Can Drink Wine And Volunteer, Too
There is an organization called Wine to Water in Africa that pairs wine tasting with digging wells. Catchy name, worthy cause. A bartender named Doc Hendley started it in 2003 because he wanted to do something good for the world using the bar and nightlife industry. After finding out about the water crisis around the world he started holding fundraisers in Raleigh North Carolina, and then later expanding to working on water projects in Sudan, India, Cambodia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Peru, and Kenya. Around 3.5 million people die each year due to water-related issues, so it's a big problem. So far the organization has implemented sustainable drinking water initiatives to over 25,000 individuals. And you can help, too!
10 Ancient Greeks Drank Wine In Moderation
The ancient Greeks actually had this crazy wine glass contraption that could be filled to a certain level but if it was overfilled the wine would leak out the bottom of the cup. Although, no word on how they kept people from coming back for seconds... or thirds or ninths. Why did they do this? They drank wine to achieve greater intellectual clarity and spiritual awareness when they would sit down for philosophical talks at "symposia". Wine was also embodied in the deity Dionysus, who was highly worshiped by artists and philosophers. The first traces of wine production in Greece have been found in Crete, which goes back to the 3rd century B.C.
9 You Can Swim In Wine In Japan
Yup, you read that right. In Japan, you can go to a spa and swim in pools full of different drinks including, tea, coffee, sake, and wine. And chocolate on Valentine's Day, too. The idea is to get some of the antioxidant benefits on the external part of your body as well. In addition to soaking in the wine, they will also pour a glass that you can drink while you're in there so it's double the fun. One study found that the antioxidants found in red wine might be able to inhibit the growth of the bacteria that leads to acne breakouts, so that's one way it can help make your skin look nice. The resveratrol in wine can also boost the effects of benzoyl peroxide on stopping the formation of acne, which is a common ingredient in acne treatments.
8 It Could Improve Your Private Life
A study in Italy found that women who drank two glasses of wine on a daily basis enjoyed the deed more than women who never drank. They didn't mention exactly why or where the correlation was, but hey, if wine is going to make it more enjoyable that seems like a pretty good excuse to keep some on hand for daily consumption. Yet another study found that red wine, in particular, is the wine to drink when you want to boost your bedroom enjoyment since apparently it can increase the blood flow to your nether regions which is going to increase the feeling. But keep it to a drink or two because more than that can definitely hinder this.
7 Wine Was First Discovered In The Middle East
The first remnants of wine that have been found were in Iran and date back to the neolithic period which was 8500-4000 B.C. The first time wine seemed to be cultivated intentionally was in Georgia back in the time period of 7000-5000 B.C. Pretty old. Researchers assume that the first wine created was a mistake. A glorious mistake, of course. All it would have required was some yeasts coming into contact with some stored grapes, which would turn the sugars into alcohols through natural fermentation. Well, that process plus someone then tasting the concoction and then discovering that they felt pretty nice afterward and perhaps wanted some more. The Egyptians are credited with refining the winemaking process later on, which they probably had to make a lot of once Cleopatra was on the throne because she liked to take baths in it, as well as drink a lot of it.
6 Wine Doesn't Make You Fat
If you're downing a couple bottles of wine a day over the course of a week then okay, maybe it will make you fat. But in general, wine is not known for packing on the pounds in the same way than say beer is. Some experts don't think that the calories in wine are metabolized in the same way that calories from carbohydrates, fats, or proteins are. One study went so far as to say that “women who routinely drank moderate amounts of alcohol, totaling about one drink per day, carried almost 10 pounds less body fat than women who did not drink at all." For this reason, some people suggest drinking a glass of wine at night instead of eating dessert to drop a few pounds. That's pretty good as diets go since wine is probably going to make you happier and more relaxed anyway. Ditch the sugar rush. But note that says "a" glass of wine, not four.
5 The Chinese Drink A Ton Of Red Wine
In 2013, the Chinese drank 155 million cases of red wine, which is more than Italy who drank 150 million cases that year. The consumption in Italy has actually gone down while in China it has gone up, which might be because red is considered a lucky color. In general, red is considered a good luck color and pops up a lot during celebrations like the Chinese new year. The wine industry in China has continued to grow and as of 2015 the country has more vineyards than France, Italy, Australia, and the U.S. But not more than Spain. However per capita France drinks quite a bit more wine than China. Overall, the country that drinks the most wine per capita is the Vatican. In the U.S., California, New York, and Florida are the top wine drinking states.
4 Monks Perfected The Art Of Winemaking
We can thank the monks of the Middle Ages for a lot of what we know about making wine. In the medieval times the monks and nuns were seen as the intellectual elite who could read and write unlike the average person at the time, and eventually, the monasteries started selling regional products to make money, which included brandy, beer, cheese, and of course wine. (As it turns out that wine and cheese pairing goes way back.) Naturally some monks excelled at creating their ideal booze and really came up with some impressive techniques. In fact, Dom Pérignon was named after a monk named Dom Pierre Pérignon who was around from 1638 to 1715. He was an advocate of organic winemaking, and also tested out some new methods for making wine which was successful and still used today. Thanks, monks!
3 Red Wine Is Probably Healthier Than White
Since red wine is made with the grape skins as opposed to white wine which is not, red wine is always going to contain a lot more antioxidants than white wine. The polyphenols and resveratrol are both good for the heart and might be able to reduce the odds of getting certain cancers. Resveratrol is also touted as a weight loss help. White wine, on the other hand, does not contain high levels of these healthy antioxidants, and some studies have actually looked into the possibility that white wine can increase the risks of getting certain cancers, especially the kind in the digestive system. But let's be honest, drinking red wine is not always the most convenient choice when you're trying to keep a white dress clean at a day party. Just switch over the reds when you're dining out and chilling at home to keep the healthy aspects of drinking in balance.
2 The Shade Of Wine Says Where It's From
The color shade of red and some white wine varies from geographical location depending on the region and climate, so you can actually tell quite a bit about a wine just by looking at it. The darker wine varieties generally come from the areas that have warmer climates, while the lighter ones tend to come from cooler one. The lighter wines also tend to taste less strong and lush. Most European wines are actually named after the geographical location they come from. One popular example is the Bordeaux wine, which is from the Bordeaux region of France. Bordeaux wine can be made from cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, petit verdot, and occasionally carmenere or malbec. Wines that are from somewhere outside of Europe are generally named by the grape type, ie merlot.
1 Toasting Goes Way Back
Today, we toast our glasses when we're celebrating something, or at least to acknowledge the people we're drinking with or the meal we're drinking over. There is a myth that toasting started out of a fear of poisoning (to spill the wine into the other cup with the clink), but that has never been proven. There is actually evidence that the Ancient Greeks offered libations to the Gods with their wine, and also that they drank to one another's health. At one point in time, the Roman Senate actually passed a decree that said that everyone had to drink to Emperor Augustus. The actual term "toast" seemed to come about in the 16th century and was first written in Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. The character of Falstaff demand : “Go fetch me a quart of sack; put a toast isn't.” The more you know, right?