In the first episode of Drunk Wine School, we talk about a few wine basics and five common misconceptions about our favorite fermented grape juice.
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Because we want to be drinking buddies.
We’re here to help you feel more comfortable around a topic that tends to feel intimidating and overwhelming. Wine is meant to be enjoyed so, grab a glass and follow along to learn more, drink better and have fun while doing it.
We’ll be expanding on each of these topics in future videos but here’s a quick look at some wine basics plus five misconceptions.
-- WHAT IS WINE?
Grapes + Yeast = CO2 & Alcohol = Wine
Quick version: Yeast is added to grapes during the winemaking process. The yeast eat the sugars in the grapes. The yeast burp out CO2 and alcohol. Once the yeast eat all of the sugar or they die from overeating, a wine is left either dry, with no residual sugar (RS), or with varying levels of RS making it off-dry or sweet.
-- A VERY BRIEF HISTORY
Roughly 8,000 years ago, the country of Georgia began making wine. Then the Romans started to make their own wine because it was safer than drinking water. They found, wine actually purified water when mixing it with wine so, they would drink wine instead of water. It’s been good for us for THOUSANDS OF YEARS!
-- ARE DRYNESS AND SWEETNESS IN WINE THE SAME THING?
When all of the sugars in the grapes have been made into alcohol, wine is considered “dry”. This is the technical term for how much RS is left in the wine after fermentation, not an indicator of fruit aromas or characteristics. 99% of wines you’re buying on a daily basis are dry. Tannins are the component that create a drying sensation in your mouth. This is different than the dryness level in a wine. Confusing, we know!
-- ARE THE SAME GRAPES GROWN IN DIFFERENT REGIONS?
There are about 1,300 different grapes used to make commercial wine. Many of the same grapes are planted in different regions around the world. Certain grapes have different characteristics based on where they are grown. For example, Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is fruit forward (but still dry!) with tropical fruit characteristics. Whereas Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, France is very mineral driven. Moral of the story - don’t boycott a grape before trying it from another region. There is a chance you’ll enjoy it!
-- IS ALL BUBBLY THE SAME? CAN YOU BUY A $15 BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE? (SHORT ANSWER, NO.)
Bubbles are different. The method of production and the aging requirements, vary the style of bubbly as does the region it comes from and the grapes that are used to make it.
Champagne is a small region in France making wine in the methode champenoise, which sees the last stage of fermentation taking place in the bottle with the addition of sugar and yeast. This method creates wines full of notes of brioche, toast, and pastries. A wallet-friendly alternative to Champagne is Crémant. This is made in Burgundy, in the same method as Champagne, mostly with the same grapes so, you are getting a similar style at a lower price point. Note: Only wines made in the region of Champagne can be called such. If we head southeast to Veneto, Italy we will find Prosecco. Prosecco is made differently creating a light floral, fruity, style of wine.
What’s important here? DRINK BUBBLES and celebrate the everyday. Drink bubbles because it’s Tuesday, not only because it’s someones birthday or wedding. Every day deserves a glass of bubbly.
-- WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH SULFITES?
Sulfites are naturally occurring. Some producers add in extra sulfites because it is a preservative. Most people attribute their headaches to sulfites and red wine. What has added sulfites? Your average $8 mass produced grocery store wine. This is not to say that you can’t spend less than $10 on a bottle of wine with low sulfites - you absolutely can! Lesser known regions such as Corbieres, France produce great wines that aren’t pumped full of additives. You’re getting headaches because you’re probably not drinking enough water (it’s tough) and/or you’re probably drinking too much and sulfites are a histamine that will clog up your mucus and cause inflammation. Drinking crappy wine will give you a headache.
-- WINE SEEMS SERIOUS - BUT IT'S NOT! JUST TAKE WHAT WE SAY SERIOUSLY.
We just want you to drink good wine. We’re here to help. There is an incredible amount of information about the world of wine. No one is ever going to be an “expert” in the sense that they know it all. We’re in this together, learning more every day. And no one is judging you for what you say and if they do, they are in the wrong industry. Have fun and drink what you like!