Did You Know?


 Did you know?

*Sulfites are a naturally occurring result of wine fermentation, coming from the skins of the grapes.

*Sulfur protects against damage to the wine by oxygen and prevents organisms from growing in the wine.

*Sulfur is used to sterilize wine barrels.

Headaches and wine....
Did you know?

*Sulfites are produced by the human body at a level of 1000 mg per day.

*Sulfites are a naturally occurring compound that nature uses to prevent bacterial growth.  They are found on grapes, onions, and garlic....just to name a few.

*Just 2 ounces of dried apricots contains 10 times the sulfites as a glass of wine.

*The more likely cause of headaches from red wine is the naturally occurring tannins released from the skins of the grapes.


Despite its negative appeal to American wine drinkers, sediment is usually an indication of a wine that was not only made years ago but made with extraordinary care to maintain its quality and character over time.  This bitter tasting but harmless residue is the byproduct of the application of little or no filtration in the wine making process, thus enabling a wine's personality to more fully develop in the bottle.

Sediment in red wine is created over time by the breakdown of pigments and tannin within the wine.  As time matures the wine, small amounts of these two phenolic compounds gradually settle at the bottom of the bottle.  Phenolic compounds are antioxidants and are believed to be the reason for wine's various health benefits.

It is important to know that this is not an indication of a fault in the wine and is not harmful if consumed.


   A bottle of wine is not bad if.... has  little white crystals accumulated or adhering to the cork.  These crystals (called tartrate) are a natural by-product of unfiltered, unprocessed fine wines and are totally harmless.

....the label is damaged.  Most wines travel thousands of miles to get to you.  Bottles that are packed tightly together can bump and even break, leaking wine onto hundreds of others.  This does not affect the wine inside the intact bottles.

....if the wine has bits of cork in it.  This is caused by the corkscrew being pushed all the way through the cork when opening, forcing pieces into the wine.

....if you simply don't like the wine you chose.  Everyone has different palates.


*Resveratrol is found naturally in red wine, grapes, blueberries, peanuts, and various other plants.
     studies indicate....
*Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant with anti-infective and anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent cell damage, heart attacks and strokes.
*These antioxidant benefits can also lessen the occurrence and severity of the common cold.

Four things that constitute defects in
a bottle of wine:

Corks are natural products, and some microorganisms like to eat them.  A wine is said to be "corked" when it has come in contact with a contaminated cork during the aging process.  The results of this contamination is almost always unmistakable.  The wine will smell moldy, nasty, and not at all enticing to the taster.  On the palate, it will be astringent, lacking in fruit, with a raspy finish.

However, you cannot discover a corked wine by smelling the cork.  Many fine wines have presented themselves from bottles with funky-smelling corks.

Oxygen is wine's invisible enemy, and when wine gets exposed to air, it becomes "oxidized."  The result is flat, lifeless wine that loses its pretty, vibrant fruit scents and is tasteless.

Heat is another destructive force exerted on wine, usually as a result of bad storage.  It can happen on cargo ships as they cross the ocean in the summertime.  An unopened bottle will have a cork that is pushed partly out of the neck (due to expansion within).

Fine wine is a living thing, the product of controlled fermentation.  Occasionally, some residual, dormant yeast will wake up, and wine will undergo a second fermentation after it has been released and shipped.  This manifests itself as effervescence, or fizziness, on the tongue.


About Wine Classifications....
If you look at any Italian label, you will find a phrase or abbreviation that indicates the classification of the wine.  The classifications for Italian wine are easy to understand.  There are four major categories of Italian wines. 

 Vino Da Tavola (VdT)
At one time, only required by law not to harm the drinker.  There were few rules or regulations and most wines were thin, weak wines sold in jugs.  But now...the world has changed.  There are some wine makers dedicated to changing the image of the VdT and the consistency, and these wines can be excellent bargains.

DOC - Vino a Denominazione di Origine Controllata
Wines produced in specific well-defined and tenured regions.  There are very specific rules designed to preserve the traditions of Italian wine making--each unique to the individual regions.  Thus, the rules for making Barolo differ markedly from those for making Chianti Rufina.  Region of production, grape varietals, minimum alcohol content, and aging length are all DOC regulations.  In addition, to be eligible for DOC designation, wines must pass a taste test and a chemical analysis.

IGT - Vino a Indicazione Geografica
A classification for a wine produced in a specific area.  "Toscana" is a common IGT where Tuscans blend Sangiovese with varying amounts of other grapes like Cabernet and Merlot.  These can be amazing wines with good acidity.  The "Super Tuscan" blends are IGT status and can be some of the best wines coming out of Italy, as well as some of the most unique.

DOCG - Vino Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita
The mother of all classifications.  Only the strong survive this set of rules and regulations.  To meet this standard, average yields are generally lower, and all DOCG wines must pass an evaluation of a tasting committee before they can be bottled.  The DOCG testing has resulted in an overall improvement in quality for Italian wines.  For many historic wines of extremely high quality, which meet all the requirements, the DOCG system functions splendidly and provides the wine drinker and consumer with an accounting of every bottle produced.