“When you have mastered numbers, you will in fact no longer be reading numbers, any more than you read words when reading books You will be reading meanings.”
That was an observation of W.E.B. Du Bois, a Harvard graduate, history professor, co-founder of the NAACP and civil rights activist.
I have always made my living by putting words together. The mathematics gene in the Johnson family went to my older brother, Terry. But I have long been aware of the importance of numbers in almost every aspect of life — including the wonderful world of wine.
Today, let’s look at the meanings of a few numbers associated with wine…
- 50 — Although the optimum temperature for storing wine is around 50 degrees, it’s better to keep it in the 60- to 70-degree range than to subject it to wider fluctuations — especially high heat in the summertime. Heat spikes will “cook” wine, rendering it less enjoyable at best or undrinkable at worst.
- 40 — Navarro Vineyards, located in Mendocino County’s bucolic Anderson Valley, celebrated its 40th birthday in 2014 and was named Winery of the Year at the California State Fair. Congratulations to the Bennett and Cahn families!
- 5 — Number of barrels of wine produced from two tons of winegrapes. That equates to around 1,500 bottles (standard 750-ml. size).
32,400,000 — Number of bottles of Champagne shipped from France to the United Kingdom in 2012. That made the U.K. the top export market for Champagne, followed by the United States, which received 17.7 million bottles. (Source: Comité Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne)
- 856,000,000 — Wine consumption in the United States in 2013, in gallons. (Source: Statista.com)
- 3 — Number of stars awarded to the movie “SOMM” by reviewer Bruce Ingram, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times. The 2013 film deals with the effort required to earn a master sommelier’s credential. In case you missed it, you can read my review of that entertaining movie here.