wine trivia

This Matter of Cellaring

I have had many inquiries lately as to the availability of cellaring equipment and or building one. Building one is not as hard as it might seem, and you just might have the equipment required at your home. I found a room in the house (closet, pantry etc.) that I could spare (a friend cut… read more »

Member Inquiry: Tannins

“Paul, I noticed that you often mention ‘tannins’ in your newslet­ter. Are tannins what makes a wine taste dry?”          E.N., Portland, OR This is a good question and al­though the answer is yes, there’s much more here than meets the eye (or the palate, in our case). In looking at a wine’s overall quality profile,… read more »

Member Inquiry: Transporting Wine

“Paul, I have heard that the jos­tling of wine during transportation can damage it. Is this so and, if so, will it help if I let my bottles rest after I have received them from you?”       S.R., Emeryville, CA People often ask me this when I tell them that I will be shipping wines to… read more »

Member Inquiry: Lead in Wine

Dear Paul, I heard something not too long ago about lead getting into wine. Then I recently noticed that the ‘foil” which covers the cork on a lot of wine bottles is different than what it used to be. Am I cor­rect in assuming that there is some relationship between the two? — K.N. Huntington… read more »

This Matter of Uncorking Champagne

For some reason, the chore of uncorking a bottle of sparkling wine intimidates some people. They sort of quietly pass on the re­sponsibility to another in the group! (and thus never learn how to do it well). Then… there are those who tackle it head on, and sort of think that popping it is the… read more »

This Matter of California Wine Labels

Wine labels are an interesting phenomenon. There are two forces governing them. First, there’s the marketing arm of the winery which, hopefully, is in tune with what the consumer wants and gives it to them. Secondly, there is the government, better known as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF). These two are frequently… read more »

This Matter of Vintage Charts

We’ve often had people come up to us and point to the vintage chart hand-outs that we offer to the general public: They ask in wide-eyed bewilderment, “What is this?” Basically, vintage charts score the success of the vintage, as far as the quality of the wine goes. The charts are universally tabular in form,… read more »

This Matter of “Reserve” Wine

Imagine that you are a winemaker or that you own a winery, and you are tasting some of the wines that are maturing in the bar­rels. You are an experienced taster, and are able to read into wine. You can detect characteristics that tell you this wine will improve and be­come a superb wine. From… read more »

This Matter of Phylloxera (Part II)

About one year ago, (WOMC Newsletter, June 1991), we wrote about the deadly root-burrowing louse, phylloxera vastatrix. We in­cluded the article as a history les­son. During the latter half of the 19th century, the parasite, which is of American origin, devastated millions of acres of vineyards around the globe. It was brought under control by… read more »

Member Inquiry: Grape Origins

Paul, Are any of the domestic wines that we are accustomed to made from native grapes, or do they all have their origins else­where?” M.M., Temple City, CA Any grape, really, can be made into wine, but few indigenous grapes have achieved any degree of success as raw wine materials. Native grapes, botanically of the… read more »