A ‘Back-to-School’ Quiz to Test Your Wine Knowledge

It has been way too long since we featured a quiz in this blog.

So, since it’s “back-to-school” time in many parts of the country, let’s take care of that today with a test of your wine wisdom.

Get one or two right, and you’ll need to spend some time in study hall.

Get three correct, and you’re just barely passing — which means more “tasting practice” is needed.

Answer four correctly, and you’ll hold your own at almost any tasting room.

And if you get all five correct, open a bottle and raise a glass to your wine wisdom.


1. What grape variety is often blended with Sauvignon Blanc to “trim” Sauvignon Blanc’s grassy flavor?

a. Semillon

b. Chardonnay

c. Pinot Noir

2. Tannins can be quite persistent in red wines, particularly “big” reds like Cabernet Sauvignon. In what other beverage is it common to encounter tannins?

a. Beer

b. Tea

c. Strawberry-Banana Milkshakes

3. Which of the following best describes the reason for swirling wine in a glass?

a. To coat the inside of the glass and view the wine’s “legs”

b. To impress people at the next table over

c. To release the aromas of the wine

4. Who served as a wine adviser to three United States Presidents?

a. Emeril Lagasse

b. Thomas Jefferson

c. Robert Mondavi

5. How does Australia label its wines?

a. By harvest month and year

b. By region (such as “Bordeaux” in France)

c. By grape variety name


1 — a. Semillon. Rarely seen bottled on its own, when blended with Sauvignon Blanc it can create a more complex and well-rounded wine. In Australia, many winemakers craft exceptional white cuvees of Semillon and Chardonnay, typically referred to as “Sem-Chard.”

2 — b. Tea. Tannins account for the bitterness in some teas and create a puckery sensation. They are the reason many people reach for packets or sugar or other sweeteners when tea is served.

3 — c. To release the aromas of the wine. Have you ever stuck your nose inside a glass containing a freshly poured glass of wine and found the aroma to be virtually non-existent? It can take some wines a while to “open up,” and swirling speeds that process by “mixing” oxygen with the wine, which helps “unlock” the fragrances.

4 — b. Thomas Jefferson. Considered one of the world’s most knowledgeable wine lovers of his generation, Jefferson lent his vinous expertise to Presidents Washington, Madison and Monroe. His travels and position enabled him to sample wines from countless regions around the world. While he appreciated fine reds from Bordeaux, Burgundy and beyond, his favorite type of wine is said to have been Sauternes — the sweet elixir from the Graves growing area of Bordeaux.

5 — c. By grape variety name. This even goes for blends of two varieties, as noted in quiz question No. 1. While blends of Semillon and Chardonnay (“Sem-Chard”) are popular among white-wine lovers, those who prefer reds may opt for “Cabernet-Shiraz” — a sublime melding of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz (a.k.a. Syrah).

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