23 December 2010

23Dec- quick comment on just one of our shortcomings
we know what this is. this is a funnel:

i'm sure everyone's quite familiar with the concept as well as its limitations. if we pour in, for example, peppercorns we might dump in a big handful and wait for the peppercorns to settle and arrange themselves and move through the tip of the funnel into, say, your grinder (pepper grinder, not a sub sandwich in new england.)

my reasonable expectation in this action is that the peppercorns that went in first will come out first but also that, given the friction of so many particles vying for one exit point i might have to give the funnel a shake to get the stream going.

or, if i'm not paying attention, i might even add another handful of peppercorns and find that not only is the pressure of the existing peppercorns severely limiting how well they exit but i've overfilled my funnel and i've regrettably lost some over the rim and now i've got several peppercorns bouncing around my kitchen floor, exactly where they shouldn't be, and several still that have rolled underneath the stove and, let's face it, i'm afraid those peppercorns are gone. (i'm aware how much that sentence ran on)

what's best is a thin but steady stream that uses the structure of the funnel as a path and not as a vessel in and of itself.

while this is the most efficient use of the funnel it is, regrettably, not always going to work so well.

our funnel didn't work that well last night.
but we were careful to warn and inform all of our customers last night about what might happen since everyone came in at the same time. no shortage of warnings; i don't want any illusions where that sort of thing is concerned.
so we thank everybody for their enthusiasm and interest in us and, especially, those of you who patiently stuck with us through a rough sort of night. also thanks to the twenty something potential customers whom we didn't precisely turn away but presented with the grim vision of things to come and who knew when to fold 'em. it's so much better for them to return on a different night and have a good time than to add to the chaos and i thank them for understanding that.

and we try as much as possible to take nights like last night and autopsy them. see what happened and try to talk it out to see what can be done to improve the situation. so rest assured we don't shake a night like that off and hope for the best the next night; we do try to learn from our mistakes.

so... that happened.

21 December 2010

21dec- holiday hours
right. this stuff.
we'll be closed on the 24 and the 25 of december. regular hours the following week until we close the 31st of december and the 1st of january.

19 December 2010

19Dec- wine hang-out
i like the fact that on night's like friday there were 3 wine reps from 3 different companies here not to sell their wares but to enjoy ours. which, of course, does include theirs. in addition to which, there were several people here who really enjoy the wine experience. not just the buzz, which can be fun, but the flavors, the intellectual challenge of the blind taste, the discovery of a new style, and the fun of pairing food with wine and beer.
nights like that are so gratifying to me and, not to put a fine point on it, make the rest of the life (the stress, the conflicts, the confrontations, but especially the sudden swings between mind numbing tedium and full-house panic.) worthwhile.

some of the stuff we all played with was a wonderfully dry sparkling vouvray. a few syrah, grenache, carignan blends (a st antonin faugeres, a delas cote-de-ventoux, and andrieux & fils gigondas). a lovely dry muscat from spain (botani). my eyrie pinot gris (which is now on our by the glass list). the ruinart champagne (which just went to the top of my favorite champagne list. that didn't get shared as much as the other stuff since it was the shop tart who ordered it for her table but the rest of us enjoyed talking about how much we liked ruinart, for various reasons.) a sort of sad little petite sirah that didn't offer much in the way of complexity (green truck) and a more interesting one (lost angel). an unexpected white bordeaux of semillon and colombard (chateau de la grave). that was cool. still trying to land on how much i liked it but i enjoyed it. and babcock's white syrah, identity crisis, which i still keep around but, for some reason, never makes the menu. i guess since it was a hard sell when it was on the menu but a relatively easy one by hand.

some of us ended up back at my place where the eyrie estate pinot was opened and thoroughly enjoyed as well as some absinthe and a bourbon tasting that pitted buffalo trace, blanton's, and basil hayden's against each other (blanton's came out on top.)

and, as morning's blue crept through the venetian blinds, a bottle of trig point alexander valley cabernet sauvignon was optimistically opened.

we're enjoying the remainder of that bottle now -and it's opened up beautifully, might i add.

not sure where i'm going with this.

maybe it's just that columbia has this to offer. there are plenty of people in this town to make a night like this happen and every night, no less. (hopefully not here, every night. that was fun but exhausting.)
what's gratifying is that columbia is still growing and there are places, in addition to us, where an evening of fun wine and great food are par for the course. we've got our motor supply and our terra's and the momo's down the street from us, all with solid wine lists. plus the friendly's and the cellar on greens. the vibe here is different, of course. plus i try to make the wine experience educational, often whether you like it or not.
but go out there and enjoy a night of wine and food. or beer and food. enjoy it for the wineness and foodness of it all. explore the by the glass lists and don't forget the beer lists, many of which are improving considerably with the influx of new beers being distributed.

and, of course, come here, too. but a rising tide raises all ships and everyone who puts genuine energy into their beverage program and their food needs to be rewarded by your attention.

17 December 2010

17Dec- this is fun.

16 December 2010

16Dec- on the fancy movin' pitcher box
our local wltx tv station did a little segment on us tonight. we featured the tom kha soup, the tom yum soup, the pulled pork panang, the tuna and prawns green curry, and the eyrie chardonnay.

15 December 2010

15Dec- ethics in wine/beer lists?

sometime ago i did away with our bud light and budweiser on the grounds that, partially, i didn't drink them but mostly that i didn't like customers to have that 'out'. i'd heard things like "i don't know any of these beers. i'll just take a bud." or worse "the only normal beer they have is bud." and they sold. pretty well. and, of course, the mark up was pretty good but i started feeling dirty about it and like i was enabling diners to give up. on a busy night once (and i tend to say stupid, frank things when i'm distracted) i did actually tell someone not to give up on me and to order something more interesting.
then i thought, to whom am i obligated to carry these beers of which i don't approve? no one, as it turns out. so i did away with them. and clearly, it's not about the money since we'd rake it in if we just offered cheap beers marked up. it's about encouraging people to try different things. expand those horizons for an hour at 5 or 6 bucks.
but am i encouraging or am i forcing? or both?
i've just decided to do away with our zinfandel. a pleasant lodi number that does what it's supposed to but i've begun to hear people waving a hand and saying "i'll just take the zinfandel." after a cursory glance at the menu. so. is it wrong to take it away just to force people to take the steps to try something new? i chose to try something new; no one forced me.
i think of this place as an extension of our personalities; an extension of our house. baan, after all, means house. and i certainly don't keep beers, wines, or liquors around the house to appeal to the broadest array of potential visitors. i stock things that please me. that fascinate me.
i haven't heard complaints about the decisions i've made on the beer and wine lists. i've heard some occasional pointed remarks on what has been perceived as "snobbiness" but i've heard more remarks about how refreshing it is to have the chance to try new and different things.

we recently had a glorious dinner at holeman and finch in atlanta and the beer/wine list (to say nothing of the astonishing food) was an absolute inspiration. i know. i know. it's a totally different market but they're getting away with awesome things (by the glass!) like a corvina, rondinella, sangiovese blend. by the glass!
and to be fair to columbia, we've done a (variably) brisk by-the-glass trade in my babies like mencia and godello. so i'm going to take the mild success we've had with little grapes like those as confirmation that i'm on the right path. that my gentle (to forced) urgings to try new wines and beers is a good thing.

and that as good as the zinfandel has been to us, i've got to go with something else. a petite sirah, perhaps. not just for me, you understand.
ah, who am i kidding.
i'm being selfish.

10 December 2010

10Dec- tom kha matzo ball? maybe..

Alex is playing arouond with this: tom kha matzo ball. using the pulverized bones from his roasted chicken he made a chicken broth that is the base for this soup (differing from our normal vegetable broth base). he was inspired by the soul-satisfying matzo ball soups he's had in delis in chicago and seeks to recreate those warm, good feelings.

10Dec- fun irrelevance

07 December 2010

06Dec- The Eyrie Vineyards is finally available for me to sell!
seriously, i can't quite tell you how excited i am by this.
i've been following eyrie for a few years now and it is, by far, the wine to which i respond most viscerally. not only for having had the honor of walking its original vineyards with diana lett but it was the first american made pinot that truly opened my eyes to what is possible on these shores. i'd had domestic pinots i'd enjoyed before but the eyrie vineyards' 2002 reserve bottling grabbed my soul like the first gorgeous burgundy i ever had. character, power, elegance, complexity hiding under the smooth guise of simplicity. it was like drinking the sure, fluid movements of a master pianist's fingers as they ripple across the keys to produce a rich and ethereal music. it was like drinking the shoulder blades of a jungle cat as it calmly stalked its prey. it was like drinking the sure, immediate transition of a mulitlinguist as they move from language to language.

it was, in short, an epiphany.

so. i'm jazzed i can offer an echo of that now in the current releases of their pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot blanc, and pinot gris. i am determined to have on hand, at all times, the selections of theirs my distributor has to offer.

03 December 2010

04Dec- new beers
it's important to take stock of oneself, from time to time. sometimes where one comes up lacking is evident and can therefore be changed for the better.
such was the case when i realized i only had 7 beers on the menu the other day. with slow days clutching us most weeks i haven't been able to argue myself into trying new things but, when i saw how stagnant the list was becoming i hung my head in shame.
so i went a bit beer crazy, purchasing cases of 7 new beers, half with restaurant money and half with my own money since i can't be sure if they'll actually sell but i love them all so much i'm happy to drink them if they don't
i'm very excited about everything but two bottles shine in particular: the brew dog paradox macallan. at $20 an 11.2oz bottle it's a lot to ask but what you get is an extraordinary, deep, rich, complex imperial stout at 10%alc/vol. raisins and espresso and a touch of the whiskey barrels in which it's aged. i kind of had to fight a bit just to get these 12 bottles and i'm not liable to see it again for a little while.
the other star is the weyerbacher merry monks' belgian style golden ale. this is such a pure expression of how i recognize belgian ales. great fruit and that awesome yeasty, banana-y nose. little bit of spice. and the best part is that it goes for a song at $5.75. not bad for a 9.3%alc/vol beer that drinks like it costs twice as much.
but we've got 5 more new beers that are all wonderful in their own way. a crisp kolsch. a clean, pear-y amber ale from nantucket. a floral and malty christmas ale from our friends at bell's. an awesome chocolatey scottish ale out of colorado. a fresh tasting strawberry ale from sam smith. i think that's it.
but, man. it'll do.

22 November 2010

22Nov- thanksgiving time off
this year will be just the day of thanksgiving. so, this thursday we'll be closed and we'll be open the rest of the week.

15 November 2010

ignore this post

15nov- completely, totally irrelevant.
but i need a way to post a picture on a thread and i have to use this blogspot to do it. so ignore this image.

12 November 2010

12Nov- some new stuff
-we'll be pouring an awesome new moscato d'asti that's scratching an itch i didn't realize i had again until i tried it yesterday. it was like meeting an old, good friend whom you haven't seen in some time and find that the chemistry is still there in full force and you pick up right where you left off.

-also, i encountered the great divide baltic smoked porter, which was recommended to me enthusiastically, at the tobacco merchant in harbison. i was pleasantly surprised to see that, despite it being a baltic porter, its abv was only about 6%. it was smooth and balanced but still rich and a good food beer. a tough combination to find. also, i liked that the guy at the tobacconist told me, with no small degree of urgency, if you want some of this you've got to call your distributor now (here he jabbed a finger at a counter to indicate the nowness). doing so i found that danielle knew of two cases in the warehouse which, upon further inspection, was in fact one case. i love getting the last of something. as an aside, the tobacco merchant in harbison (near the ice cream joint and miyo's) has a nice, broad selection of both cigars and beers. it's been a nice, comfortable place to settle down with a cigar and a beer, though they do have more ipa's than i'd think since i don't think the high hop content goes well with most cigars. maybe an aged patel since it's softer and won't fight the sharpness of an ipa. anyway. check them out. (their pipe tobacco selection is improving though i still highly recommend talking to my tobacconist John at modern age tobacco on colonial life blvd for, especially, your pipe tobacco needs. great choices, great guy. knows his stuff and just loves it when people show a genuine interest. nice basket pipes, too.)

-also i'll be playing with a dry silvaner from franken region in germany. minerally and medium bodied with some spice to the nose. kind of reminded me of an alsatian pinot gris, but nobody seemed to agree with me on that point. still, it reminds *me* of some pinot gris i've had. but, given its body and mineral it should be gorgeous with something like ginger shrimp.

- and some other fun stuff is coming in mostly for me to try before i unleash them. if you're in and i'm in (i've been absent saturdays lately) and are curious about the fun stuff off menu, feel free to ask. if i can get at least a two glass guarantee i'm usually pretty happy to open a $40 and below bottle.

26 October 2010

26Oct- good article on wine/cheese pairings
true, some of the specific wines and/or cheeses may be difficult to find but the article does mostly explain why one works with the other so the observant reader may apply what they've learned to other cheeses and wines.

one of the best wine/cheese pairings i've had was at motor supply with their delice de bourgogne triple cream and the torbreck woodcutter semillon. the smooth, silky texture and the slight sweetness with the little acidic overtones worked so nicely with the wine, which exhibited roughly the same characteristics. and then tim suggested the duck liver mousse with the wine and, god, that was gorgeous.

i want some right now....

23 October 2010

23Oct- wine and beer list updated

what? mourvedre by the glass? such naïveté! i'm happy to say that we sold 5 glasses last night. i think that's pretty awesome.

also, i'm kicking around the idea of starting not a club, exactly, but an incentive to experiment with all the fun little, sometimes obscure wines that i try to do by the glass. haven't polished the idea yet but there will be prizes.

08 October 2010

01 October 2010

01Oct- wine/beer updates

just updated the by the glass list, by the bottle list, and the beer list.
picked up a lot of fun white wines by the bottle and the wonderful, refreshing, and weird Freaktoberfest by the Shmaltz people who do the messiah bold.
01Oct- 82 facts about wine
i found this at Random Facts
i think my favorite is #3

82 Delicious Facts About . . .


  1. The smell of young wine is called an “aroma” while a more mature wine offers a more subtle “bouquet.”a
  2. In ancient Greece, a dinner host would take the first sip of wine to assure guests the wine was not poisoned, hence the phrase “drinking to one’s health.” “Toasting” started in ancient Rome when the Romans continued the Greek tradition but started dropping a piece of toasted bread into each wine glass to temper undesirable tastes or excessive acidity.e
  3. A “cork-tease” is someone who constantly talks about the wine he or she will open but never does.e
  4. Since wine tasting is essentially wine smelling, women tend to be better wine testers because women, particularly of reproductive ages, have a better sense of smell than men.h
  5. wine sex
    Drinking moderate amounts of wine may lead to more enjoyable sex for women
  6. An Italian study argues that women who drink two glasses of wine a day have better sex than those who don’t drink at all.f
  7. Red wines are red because fermentation extracts color from the grape skins. White wines are not fermented with the skins present.e
  8. In the whole of the Biblical Old Testament, only the Book of Jonah has no reference to the vine or wine.d
  9. Early Roman women were forbidden to drink wine, and a husband who found his wife drinking was at liberty to kill her. Divorce on the same grounds was last recorded in Rome in 194 B.C.g
  10. The world’s oldest bottle of wine dates back to A.D. 325 and was found near the town of Speyer, Germany, inside one of two Roman sarcophaguses. It is on display at the town's Historisches Museum der Pfalz.g
  11. There is increasing scientific evidence that moderate, regular wine drinking can reduce the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and gum disease.e
  12. While wine offers certain medical benefits, it may slightly increase the risk of contracting certain kinds of cancer of the digestive tract, particularly the esophagus. There is also a slightly increased risk of breast cancer.e
  13. Red wine, typically more than white wine, has antioxidant properties and contains resveratrol, which seems to be important in the cardio-protective effects of wine.e
  14. California, New York, and Florida lead the United States in wine consumption.i
  15. California is the fourth-largest wine producer in the world, after France, Italy, and Spain.i
  16. wine swirling
    Swirling oxygenates wine and helps release its aromas
  17. Wine testers swirl their glass to encourage the wine to release all of its powerful aromas. Most don’t fill the glass more than a third full in order to allow aromas to collect and to not spill it during a swirl.e
  18. Most wine is served in a glass that has a gently curved rim at the top to help contain the aromas in the glass. The thinner the glass and the finer the rim, the better. A flaring, trumpet-shaped class dissipates the aromas.a
  19. When tasting wine, hold the wine in the mouth for a moment or two and then either swallow it or, preferably, spit it out, usually into a spittoon. A really good wine will have a long aftertaste, while an inferior wine will have a short aftertaste.a
  20. Wine grapes rank number one among the world’s fruit crops in terms of acres planted.i
  21. The Code of Hammurabi (1800 B.C.) includes a law that punishes fraudulent wine sellers: They were to be drowned in a river.b
  22. Romans discovered that mixing lead with wine not only helped preserve wine, but also gave it a sweet taste and succulent texture. Chronic lead poisoning has often been cited as one of the causes of the decline of Rome.c
  23. The Vikings called America Vinland (“wine-land” or “pasture-land”) for the profusion of native grape vines they found there around A.D. 1000.d
  24. A wine that tastes watery is said to taste “dilute.” It may have been made from grapes picked during a rainstorm.e
  25. The worst place to store wine is usually in the kitchen because it is typically too warm to store wine safely. Refrigerators are not satisfactory for storing wine either. Even at their warmest setting, they’re too cold.e
  26. wine food
    Wine often creates an exciting “synergy“ with food
  27. When wine and food are paired together, they have “synergy” or a third flavor beyond what either the food or drink offers alone.a
  28. Richer, heavier foods usually go well with richer, heavier wines; lighter foods demand light wines. Additionally, red wine typically is served with red meat, white wine with white meat and fish, and sweet wine with desserts.a
  29. It is traditional to first serve lighter wines and then move to heavier wines throughout a meal. Additionally, white wine should be served before red, younger wine before older, and dry wine before sweet.e
  30. Serving temperatures should be lower for white (45-50 degrees Fahrenheit) than for red wines (50-60 degrees Fahrenheit).e
  31. The prohibitionists, or the “drys,” in the early twentieth century fought to remove any mention of wine from school and college texts, including Greek and Roman literature. They also sought to remove medicinal wines from the United States Pharmacopoeia and to prove that Biblical praises of wine were for unfermented grape juice.j
  32. The vintage year isn’t necessarily the year wine is bottled, because some wines may not be bottled the same year the grapes are picked. Typically, a vintage wine is a product of a single year’s harvest. A non-vintage wine is a blend of wines from two or more years.e
  33. There is a right and wrong way to hold a wine glass. Wine glasses should always be held by the stem and not the bowl because the heat of the hand will raise the temperature of the wine.a
  34. Champagne, one of the world’s greatest sparkling wines, is popularly but erroneously thought to have been invented by the Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Perignon (1638-1715). Although he did not invent or discover champagne, he founded many principles and processes in its production that are still in use today. And he purportedly declared upon drinking the bubbly beverage, “I am drinking stars.”j
  35. Noble rot, or pourriture noble, is a benign type of grape fungus that can actually sweeten some types of wine.e
  36. wine stored
    Most wines are designed to be consumed within a few years of production
  37. Not all wines improve with time. In fact, a vast majority of wines produced are ready to drink and do not have much potential for aging. Only a rare few will last longer than a decade.a
  38. A “dumb” wine refers to the lack of odor in a wine, though it may develop a pleasing odor in the future. Many Cabernet-Sauvignons, for example, are considered “dumb.” A “numb” wine, on the other hand, has no odor and no potential of developing a pleasing odor in the future.a
  39. European wines are named after their geographic locations (e.g., Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot and Bordeaux) while non-European wines (e.g., Pinot Noir and Merlot) are named after different grape varieties.i
  40. A feminine wine is a wine that is more delicate than most. A masculine wine refers to a “big” or “full” wine.a
  41. Contrary to traditional belief, smelling the cork reveals little about the wine. Instead, if a server or sommelier hands you a cork, you should look for the date and other identifying information (inexpensive wine won’t have these features). Additionally, look for mold, drying, cracking, or breaks in the cork.e
  42. A wine that has a musty smell, similar to wet cardboard or mold, may mean that the bottle is “corked” (the bottle has a contaminated cork).e
  43. In 1988, Italian women started one of the first female organizations devoted to wine, the Le Donne del Vino. Its goal is to encourage and promote women’s role in the Italian wine industry.h
  44. women wine
    Wine has a more concentrated effect on women than on men
  45. Women are more susceptible to the effects of wine than men partly because they have less of an enzyme in the lining of the stomach that is needed to metabolize alcohol efficiently.h
  46. Besides churches and monasteries, two other great medieval institutions derived much of their income from wine: hospitals and universities. The most famous medieval wine-endowed hospital (now a museum) is the beautiful Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune, France.d
  47. At the center of Greek social and intellectual life was the symposium, which literally means, “drinking together.” Indeed, the symposium reflects Greek fondness for mixing wine and intellectual discussion.b
  48. When Tutankhamen’s tomb was opened in 1922, the wine jars buried with him were labeled with the year, the name of the winemaker, and comments such as “very good wine.” The labels were so specific that they could actually meet modern wine label laws of several countries.c
  49. One ton of grapes makes about 60 cases of wine, or 720 bottles. One bottle of wine contains about 2.8 pounds of grapes.e
  50. Greece is the only country in the world that has perpetuated up to the present the ancient tradition of adding a tree resin to wine to give it a unique sappy taste. Most non-Greeks assert this type of Greek wine or retsina wine is an acquired taste and should be served very cold.e
  51. Wine for Orthodox Jews must be kosher, meaning it must not be touched at any point in its process (from picking of the grapes to bottling it) by either a “Gentile” or non-observant Jew and it must contain only kosher ingredients.j
  52. vineyard
    The terroir of wine differentiates and adds value to wine
  53. The combination of soil type, climate, degree of slope, and exposure to the sun constitutes the terroir of a vineyard and what makes each vineyard and each wine unique.i
  54. In the Middle Ages, the greatest and most innovative winemakers of the day were monastic orders. The Cistercians and Benedictines were particularly apt winemakers, and they are said to have actually tasted the earth to discover how the soil changed from place to place. Their findings are still important today.d
  55. Wineskins were a common way to transport wine in the ancient world. Animal skins (usually pig) were cleaned and tanned and turned inside out so that the hairy side was in contact with the wine.e
  56. Traditionally, wine was never stored standing up. Keeping the wine on its side kept the wine in contact with the cork, thereby preventing the cork from drying, shrinking, and letting in air. However, wine can be stored vertically if the bottle has an artificial cork.e
  57. A few vine cuttings from the New World brought to Europe spread a tiny insect calledPhylloxera vastatrix, which feeds on the roots of vines. The only way to save European grape vines was to graft native American vines to European rootstocks. Consequently, Pre-Phylloxera wine, strictly speaking, is one made in the years before Phylloxera reached the vineyards in the 1860s, though the phrase is also used to mean wine from ungrafted vines.j
  58. A standard glass of dry red or white wine contains around 110 calories. Sweeter wine has more calories.a
  59. The substance in wine that tingles the gums is tannin (related to the word “tan”), which is derived from the skins, pips, and stalks of grapes. It is usually found only in red wine and is an excellent antioxidant. Visually, it is the sediment found at the bottom of the bottle.e
  60. Darker shades of wine (the deepest, blackest reds and the most golden whites) usually come from warm climates and are rich and ripe. Lighter colors, especially in white wines, come from cooler climates and are lighter and less lush.e
  61. With age, red wines tend to lose color and will eventually end up a sort of brick red. On the other hand, white wines gain color, becoming golden and eventually brown-yellow.e
  62. All wines taste like fruit. Only rarely does a wine taste like grapes—for example, Muscat or Concord wines.e
  63. Red Burgundy is made from the Pinot Noir grape and is so difficult to make that winemakers all over the world see it as some kind of Holy Grail.e
  64. The Germans invented Eiswein, or wine that is made from frozen grapes.e
  65. Enologists are wine chemists who analyze samples of wine and advise winemakers.e
  66. champagne
    The European Union declared that sparkling wine produced outside the French region of Champagne can no longer be labeled ”champagne”
  67. The word “champagne” is named after a province in France, meaning “open country. Due to the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) law in Europe, sparkling wine made outside the Champagne region of France can no longer be called “champagne.”i
  68. The Bergerac wine region in southwest France has produced wine since Roman times.e
  69. The English word “wine” may be rooted in the Semiticyayin (lamentation and wailing). In Arabic, the word iswain, in Greek it is oinos, and in the Romance languages it is vin, vino, vina, vinho.g
  70. Grapes are the only fruit that are capable of producing the proper nutrition for the yeast on its skin and sugar in its juice to ferment naturally.a
  71. Because grapes in the Southern Hemisphere are picked during what is Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, a 1999 Australian wine could be six months older than a 1999.e
  72. Wine facilitated contacts between ancient cultures, providing the motive and means of trade. For example, the Greeks traded wine for precious metals, and the Romans traded wine for slaves.j
  73. In ancient Egypt, the ability to store wine until maturity was considered alchemy and was the privilege of only the pharaohs.g
  74. Archaeologists found grape pips (seeds), usually considered evidence of winemaking, dating from 8000 B.C. in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. The oldest pips of cultivated vines were found in (then Soviet) Georgia from 7000-5000 B.C.g
  75. Winemaking is a significant theme in one of the oldest literary works known, the Epic of Gilgamesh. The divinity in charge of the wine was the goddess Siduri, whose depiction suggests a symbolic association between wine and fertility.d
  76. One of the most quoted legends about the discovery of wine is the story of Jamsheed a semi-mythical Persian king (who may have been Noah). A woman of his harem tried to take her life with fermented grapes, which were thought to be poisonous. Wine was discovered when she found herself rejuvenated and lively.d
  77. Standard of Ur
    The Standard of Ur (2600-2400 B.C.) depicts the first known illustration of wine drinking
  78. The first known illustration of wine drinking is found on a 5,000-year-old Sumerian panel known as the Standard of Ur.d
  79. Thucydides wrote that the people of the Mediterranean began to “emerge from barbarism when they learned to cultivate the oil and the vine.”d
  80. The standard wine container of the ancient world was the amphora (something which can be carried by two), a clay vase with two handles. It was invented by the Canaanites, who introduced it into Egypt before the fifteenth century B.C. Their forebears, the Phoenicians, spread its use throughout the Mediterranean.g
  81. Plato argued that the minimum drinking age should be 18, and then wine in moderation may be tasted until 31. When a man reaches 40, he may drink as much as he wants to cure the “crabbedness of old age.”b
  82. Hippocrates, widely considered the father of medicine, includes wine in almost every one of his recorded remedies. He used it for cooling fevers, as a diuretic, as a general antiseptic, and to help convalescence.b
  83. Ancient Romans thought seasoning was more important than the primary flavor of wine and often added fermented fish sauce, garlic, asafetida (onion root), lead, and absinthe.e
  84. The man who most profoundly affected the history of wine was the prophet Mohammed. Within ten years of his death in A.D. 632, wine was largely banned from Arabia and from every country that heeded him.d
  85. A crop of newly planted grape vines takes four to five years to grow before it can be harvested.a
  86. Red wine represents 55% of restaurant wine sales.a
  87. Bubbles in wine have been observed since ancient Greece and were attributed to the phases of the moon or to evil spirits.c
  88. Global warming may redefine wine growing in the future. Even tiny temperature changes can dramatically change the quality of wine.e
  89. Many consumers and winemakers argue that genetically engineered wine would not only lead to uniformity but would also compromise the traditional romance and mystique associated with wine.e
  90. Oenophobia is an intense fear or hatred of wine.e

-- Posted August 21, 2009


a Bonadies, Michael. 1998. Sip By Sip: An Insiders Guide to Learning All about Wine. New York, NY: Doubleday Dell Publishing Books.

b Charters, Stephen. 2006. Wine and Society: The Social and Cultural Context of Drink. Woburn, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.

c Estreicher, Stefan K. 2006. Wine from Neolithic Times to the 21st Century. Algora Publishing.

d Johnson, Hugh. 2005. The Story of Wine: New Illustrated Edition. London, UK: Mitchell Beazley.

e Joseph, Robert and Margaret Rand. 2000. Kiss: Guide to Wine. New York, NY: Dorling Kindersley.

f Miller, Tracy. “Women Who Drink Two Glasses of Wine a Day Have Better Sex Than Non-Drinkers.” August 6, 2009. Accessed: August 15, 2009.

g Pellechia, Thomas. 2006. Wine: the 8000 Year-Old Story of the Wine Trade. New York, NY: Thunder’s Mouth Press.

h Sbrocco, Leslie. 2003. Wine for Women: A Guide to Buying, Pairing, and Sharing Wine. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

i Sommers, Brian J. 2008. The Geography of Wine: How Landscapes, Cultures, Terroir, and the Weather Make a Good Drop. London, UK: Plume.

j Unwin, P.T. H. 2006. Wine and the Vine: An Historical Geography of Viticulture and the Wine Trade. New York, NY: Routledge.