Although the popularity and consumption of wine has dramatically surged in the past decade, it has actually been around for centuries. In fact, though no one knows exactly when the first batch was produced, we do know that Middle Eastern peoples were drinking it as early as 2500 B.C. Wine has played a significant role in the development of culture and religion, with evidence of wine found throughout the Bible and in Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Wine is an alcoholic beverage that can technically be made from any fruit, but is most commonly produced from fermented grapes. However, wine is not derived for many of the common grapes you see in the produce section. Unlike the plump table grapes we are accustomed to seeing and eating, wine grapes are “lean and mean”…small and sweet, delicate with thicker skins and bitter seeds. There are literally thousands of different grape varieties in the world, but less than 100 are used in the world’s commercial wine production.
You may have seen or read about bottles of wine selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction and wondered what makes that wine so valuable. Although many characteristics influence the price of collectible wine, the primary factor is time. Shelving certain types of ultra-fine wine in a cool location and letting time extend the fermentation process can lead to extraordinary—and uber-expensive—wine.
Each wine is distinctive and there are multiple components that contribute to a wine’s unique flavor:
• Acidity: Wines are acidic in nature and this creates tartness, making the beverage so refreshing.
• Sweetness: Some wines are much sweeter than others. Sweetness depends on the sugar-content of the grapes, but also on levels of acids, alcohol and tannins (explained below) in the wine.
• Alcohol: The alcohol-content of wines ranges from an estimated 5% (Moscato) to over 20% (ports, sherry and Madeira). This is significantly higher than most beers but lower than other alcoholic beverages, such as vodka, tequila and whiskey.
• Tannin: Tannin is a naturally-occurring compound found in bark, plants and fruit skins and adds a distinctive sharpness or bitterness to wine, traditionally red wine.
• Aromatic Compounds: Each variety of grapes has its own distinctive physiological composition, including unique aromatic compounds which are found in their skin cells. Following fermentation, these aromas can be detected by the nose and make the wine smell spicy or fruity or floral.
• Vintage: Vintage refers to the year during which the grapes were picked and made into wine. Grapes take a full year to grow, thus only an annual wine yield is possible. Because weather has such a significant impact on wine production, the same wine from the same vineyard but with a different vintage can taste entirely different.
Joseph Phelps Vineyards is a world-class winery found in the lush, picturesque Napa Valley of Northern California. Napa Valley is one of the most famous wine regions in the world and Joseph Phelps Vineyards has proudly called this home for nearly 45 years. The winery’s spectacular location and majestic scenery make it the ideal destination for an unforgettable and classically American wine experience.
The experts at Joseph Phelps Vineyard are passionate about wine and committed to natural and organic yields along with a sustainable growth formula. The winery hosts memorable private and semi-private events, during which its award-winning wines are paired with homemade delicacies—featuring local organic ingredients—and top regional cheeses.
About Joseph Phelps Vineyards
Joseph Phelps Vineyards is one of the most recognized wineries in the world and one of the most respected among wine connoisseurs everywhere. Since its introduction over 40 years ago, Joseph Phelps Vineyards’ exclusive Insignia has won many accolades, including “Wine of the Year” from Wine Spectator in 2002. You are invited to visit the winery in Napa Valley or conveniently buy wine online and have it delivered to your doorstep.