Wine is a unique beverage that has been drunk (and gotten people drunk) for thousands of years. There are a number of particularities about wine that make it such an interesting beverage. Here are nine fun facts about wine that you possibly didn’t know about:

1. Wine dates back to 4,000 B.C.

The concept of fermenting grapes into wine for drinking, as far as archeological evidence can tell, dates back to 4,000 B.C. in Sicily. Archeologists have also been able to find evidence of wine production that dates as far back as 4,100 B.C. in Armenia.

2. Wine is global

The list of the top wine producing countries in the world lists 73 countries on every inhabitable continent. In addition to this list, there are many other countries that produce wine on a much smaller scale, and very few that do not produce it at all. In addition, most countries that do not produce it (or that produce very little) do drink it. As a wine lover, you can buy and drink wine from all around the world.

3. There are over 10,000 types of wine grapes

Although there is such a wide variety of wine grapes available for wine production, a very small number of those grapes are actively used in the production of wine. In fact, only about 20 grape varieties have achieved global fame as good wine grapes.

4. New World vs. Old World

Old World countries are considered the birthplaces of wine. France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Greece, Portugal, Lebanon, Israel, Croatia, Georgia, and Hungary are Old World countries. New World countries are the United States, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, and Canada.

5. Wine naming is particular

When labelling what type a certain wine is, there are two ways which actually means that some types of wines are the same, but they have different names. Old World wines are name for the region the grapes were grown in. New World wines are named for the grape primarily used in the wine.

6. Not all wine can be aged

In general, people tend to think that all wines get better with age. In fact, only very specific wines can be aged. Wines that are high in tannins age better because the tannins act as a natural preservative. Usually red wines age better than whites. Wine that is aged when it shouldn’t have been can turn vinegary and won’t taste the way it is supposed to.

7. Wine (usually) has no sugar added

Even sweet wines do not usually have sugar added to them. The sweetness is all from the grapes’ natural sugars. Grapes that are more ripe will be much sweeter than grapes that are harvested earlier. In some cases, though not as often as would be expected, beet or cane sugar may be added if the grapes were harvested too early. This is a decision made by the winemaker on a particular occasion, and isn’t a given.

8. Flavour comes from the grapes

Other than an oaky taste that comes from oak chips soaking in the wine, or from the wine being fermented in oak barrels, the flavours you taste in wine come almost exclusively from the grapes themselves. This is easy to believe when it comes to leather or tobacco flavours, but it is even true of wines that taste of pear, citrus, and other fruit.

9. It can be healthy

Take that statement with a grain of salt – wine is not going to cure all of your ailments. However, one to two glasses of wine each day may help reduce the risk of some diseases including heart disease, bowel cancer, cholesterol problems, and Alzheimer’s. But each benefit that wine can provide, wine can also take away if the drinker overindulges.

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