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  1. 1. Trivia
  2. 2. In ancient Greece, the dinner host would take the first sip of wine to ensure it was safe to drink, giving us the phrase to “drink to one’s health.”
  3. 3. The tradition of a celebratory “toast” began with the ancient Romans, who would drop a piece of toasted bread in their wine to buffer unpleasant tastes and excessive acidity.
  4. 4. The Romans also boiled wine in lead pots and mixed lead with wine to help preserve it and impart a sweet flavor. There is much debate among historians about how much lead poisoning contributed to the decline of the empire.
  5. 5. The alcohol bill for a celebration party for the 55 drafters of the Constitution was 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of Bordeaux, eight bottles of whiskey, 22 bottles of port, eight bottles of hard cider, 12 beers and seven bowls of alcohol punch large enough that “ducks could swim in them.”
  6. 6. In 1801, President Thomas Jefferson spent $3,000 on wine, 12 percent of his annual salary. To put that in modern context, that would be like President Obama spending $48,000 on wine this year alone.
  7. 7. When Tutankhamun’s tomb was opened in 1922, wine jars buried alongside him were labeled with the year, the name of the winemaker and descriptions about the quality of the wine. The labels could actually comply with modern wine label laws of several countries today.
  8. 8. One glass of wine consists of juice from one cluster of grapes. Seventyfive grapes comprise one cluster. One grape vine produces 10 bottles. One acre can contain 400 vines, resulting in five tons of grapes. On average, five tons of grapes can be made in to 300 cases or 3,600 bottles of finished wine.
  9. 9. Wine grapes rank first among the world’s fruit crops in terms of acres planted.
  10. 10. California, by itself, is the world’s fourth largest producer of wine after France, Italy and Spain.
  11. 11. The average age of a French oak tree harvested for use in creating wine barrels is 170 years
  12. 12. The Whistler Tree is the most productive cork oak tree on record. It grows in Portugal and is more than 230 years old. Harvested on a 9-year cycle, in 2009, it yielded enough cork for 100,000 bottles. As a comparison, the average cork oak produces material for 4,000 bottles. Named for the countless songbirds that occupy its dense canopy, the Whistler Tree is in excellent condition and is well on its way to produce a total lifetime production of more than one million corks
  13. 13. The first recognizable wine made from grapes was produced in Bronze Age Georgia and Iran (c 6000BC), although rice wine was already being made in China.
  14. 14. The tannins that give red wine its complex flavour and longevity are produced by the grape to deter caterpillars.
  15. 15. Before cork was used, oil-soaked rags were stuffed into bottles.
  16. 16. Coca-Cola owes its existence to wine. In the mid 19th century ''tonic'' wines became popular. These were often fortified with coca. An American version, Pemberton's French Wine Coca, was produced by John Pemberton and developed a following among the city's intellectuals. In 1885 local prohibition laws forced him to produce a non-alcoholic version, which he pepped up with caffeine-rich kola nuts from Africa. The rest of the story is history.
  17. 17. There were ways around alcohol prohibition. Some US grape-juices manufacturers would add a label to their product which read: ''CAUTION! Do not add these grapes to five gallons of water and five pounds of sugar with yeast, or it will ferment into wine, which is ILLEGAL.''
  18. 18. The dark green wine bottle was an English invention, the work of Sir Kenelm Digby (1603-1665), a Catholic polymath and diplomat, who also managed his family's coalfired gasworks. Previously wine had been kept in goat skin bags.