What to Know About Fine Wine
Wine ranks among the most popular beverages in the world, alongside beer, coffee, tea, and plain water. Wine has been made from fermented grapes since the days of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and it gets its modern name from the Roman word “vinum.” For centuries, France and Italy have both been the major wine-producing nations of the world, having the ideal climate and terrain for cultivating wine grapes. Many old French and Italian wine brands are well respected and beloved. Meanwhile, the United States has recently become the third major wine producing nation, and despite this late start, American wines have proven quite popular and lucrative. Most American state are home to at least a few vineyard and wineries, though most of the best natural wines might be grown in California. This sunny state is home to around 90% of all American wineries and many wine companies. Meanwhile, how popular is wine among Americans today, and what is there to know about buying it or letting wine breathe? Care should be taken when buying or serving wine, for maximum flavor.
Care for Wine
Wine is hardly water; it requires some care, and wine varies widely. It can be red or white, dry or sweet, and may vary by age, quality, and brand name. What about letting wine breathe properly? What does “letting wine breathe” even mean? The idea is that some red wines taste better when they are exposed to air, and letting wine breathe is a good idea for wines that are a few years old. In general, a wine under eight years old has built up some tannic acid and unwanted flavors from the casket, so letting wine breathe in open air can help clear all that out before serving. Young wines may need two hours or so of breathing before they are suitable to serve. Older wines may need just half an hour or so, and very old wines don’t even need to breathe at all. It is mainly younger, red wines that need this process done for them.
Wines are also sensitive to temperature, and someone who buys them will have a fridge spot open for them. Wines may be stored in room temperature at a grocery store, or in a cooled room at a winery. But if wine is ordered online and delivered by truck, that wine may be stored in a warehouse’s cooler if the buyer is far away enough. Wine would suffer in the heat of a truck’s trailer after some time, so the truck will stop by a warehouse and all wine inside is stored in the warehouse’s cooler units. The customer may then be notified, and they can visit to pick up their wine.
Even pouring wine is a bit of an art. In general, the bottle itself should not touch the vessel that wine is being poured into, and the bottle should not be tilted too far. Tilting it steeply may cause quite a rush of wine, and that could make a mess or slosh the wine around. A milder, more controlled stream is best for tidiness and decorum alike. Often, restaurant waiters will follow all of these rules when they pour wine for their guests.
The Popularity of Wine Today
The next question is: who is drinking all this wine in the U.S. today? The answer may be surprising. Often, it is Millennials, or the young adults born from 1982 to 1995, who are the most passionate wine drinkers, even more than their Baby Boomer parents. USA Today reported in 2015 that Millennials drank 42% of all wine consumed in that year, and that added up to 159.6 million cases of wine that Millennials consumed. Among Millennials who drink more than once per week, the average number of glasses per sitting is 3.1, and some 17% of Millennials spent over $20 on a wine bottle back in January 2016. Wine proves popular among women in particular who, in surveys, often name wine as their favorite alcoholic beverage (even beating beer). Wine is often a fine choice for a birthday party or a fine dinner, or for New Year’s Eve (a very popular time for wine).