The oldest winery ever may be an Armenian winery dating as far back as 4100 BCE! In other words, people all over the world have been enjoying wine for a long, long time–and in that time, quite a few bizarre and interesting tidbits have come up about the beloved beverage. Here are some of the most compelling.
Red Wine Grapes Are Older Than White Wine Grapes
The theory is that, decades ago, only red grapes existed. Over time, a DNA mutation occurred, leading to the growth of the green and white grapes we see today.
Wine Can Survive at the Bottom of the Ocean
In 2010, divers from Finland discovered several crates of champagne and wine from a sunken ship. The ship had remained at the bottom of the Baltic Sea for nearly 200 years. These bottles weren’t exactly neatly stored in wine cellar racks, but were the drinkable? As the pressure changed and some of the corks had popped off, the divers tasted the wine and found that it was, in fact, still drinkable!
The Coupe Glass is Modeled After… Breasts?
You read that correctly! Old fashioned champagne glasses — commonly referred to as “coup” — were actually molded from Marie Antoinette’s left breast. She suggested this customization of the glass because she wanted her court to toast her health by drinking from glasses shaped like her bosom. Originally, the porcelain bowls were designed for drinking milk as part of her “Pleasure Dairy,” where the queen and her ladies-in-waiting would dress up as milkmaids and frolic, milking and churning butter all day in Versailles.
Drinking Wine Saved Civilizations
Early civilizations faced two common problems: contaminated water or an utter lack of it. Drinking impure water led to all kinds of diseases and–frequently–death. Wine is easy to make and it’s been around just about forever, so these early peoples eluded death by drinking wine instead of disease- and germ-ridden water. Tainted water was actually the original source of some epidemics, like cholera. Plus, some believe that wine was not only a readily available alternative but also a protective one. It is possible that alcohol can kill pathogens indirectly through the bloodstream or directly in the stomach.
Wine Has a Long History — a Very Long History
The earliest archaeological evidence of wine produced from grapes has been found at sites in China in 7000 BC. Additionally, wine discoveries have been dated back to Georgia in 6000 BC, Lebanon and Iran in 5000 BC, and Sicily and Armenia in 4000 BC.
Wines Need To Be Stored On Their Side
Even modern wine cellars and wine cellar racks have something very important in common with more traditional wine cellars: wine bottles are always stored horizontally. The reason is that this keeps the cork damp and prevents air from seeping into bottles. In some cases, wine may be stored in pretty much the same fashion, only at a slight angle. This may help form favorable deposits at the bottom of the bottle.
In Japan, You Can Relax At A Wine Spa
Finally, Japan takes its appreciation of wine very seriously and even welcomes guests to swim in wine together at the renowned Yunessun Spa Resort. While swimming, the spa tops off patrons’ wine. If you need to warm up after, the same resort features green tea and coffee baths as well.
How much do you know about the compelling and unusual history of the bottles on your wine cellar racks? The next time you open up a bottle to share with guests, impress them with these interesting tidbits about wine!