Party season is here.
Parties with besties.
Wine always makes a great adult beverage for such occasions because it extends the festivities and even provides a topic of conversation. After all, we don’t “shoot” wine; we sip it. And it’s always fun for folks to talk about their favorite kind of wine, and how that came to be.
If you have a party (or two or three) coming up and would like to fold a little “wine talk” into the conversation, here are six fascinating facts — think of them as “talking points” — that you can easily commit to memory…
1. Wine is made in virtually every country in the world.
That’s nearly 200 countries. We recently returned from a (long-awaited and much-deserved) riverboat cruise along the Danube, and brought home wines from Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. We’re going to open them up when friends come over to visit a few days before Christmas.
2. There are approximately 10,000 varieties of wine grapes worldwide.
We hear about such a small percentage of them here in the States, and we learn about a few dozen more through The World of Wine Club. But if you visit countries that are not top-of-mind when it comes to wine, you’ll learn about varieties you’ve never heard of — and in many cases, can’t even pronounce.
3. Traditionally, European wines have been named after their places of origin.
Well-known examples include Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne and Chianti. But that is changing, and it’s becoming more common for varietal names to be found on European wine labels.
4. The color in red wine comes from the grape skins.
Specifically, from a plant pigment called anthocyanin. If anyone wants to learn more about anthocyanin, politely excuse yourself and make a beeline for the appetizer table.
5. French oak barrels are made from oak trees that average 170 years in age. (Bonus fun fact: There are more than 400 different oak species that can be sourced for barrels.)
6. Take any vintage of Australian wine, and it’s likely to be six months older than the same vintage from California.
How could this be? Because Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, where the grapes are picked in what is the springtime in the Northern Hemisphere.
If you run out of conversation starters, just open another bottle of wine.