Latin vinum) is an alcoholic beverage made from grapes,
Vitis vinifera, fermented without the addition of sugars,
acids, enzymes, water, or other nutrients.
Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol and
carbon dioxide. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts
produce different styles of wine. These variations result from the
complex interactions between the biochemical development of the grape,
the reactions involved in fermentation, the terroir, and the
production process. Many countries enact legal appellations intended
to define styles and qualities of wine. These typically restrict the
geographical origin and permitted varieties of grapes, as well as
other aspects of wine production. Wines not made from grapes include
rice wine and fruit wines such as plum, cherry, pomegranate and
Wine has been produced for thousands of years. The earliest known
traces of wine are from Georgia (c. 6000 BC), Iran
(c. 5000 BC), and
Sicily (c. 4000 BC) although there is
evidence of a similar alcoholic beverage being consumed earlier in
China (c. 7000 BC). The earliest known winery is the
Areni-1 winery in Armenia.
Wine reached the
Balkans by 4500 BC and was consumed and celebrated in ancient
Greece, Thrace and Rome. Throughout history, wine has been consumed
for its intoxicating effects.
Wine has long played an important role in religion.
Red wine was
associated with blood by the ancient Egyptians and was used by
both the Greek cult of Dionysus and the Romans in their Bacchanalia;
Judaism also incorporates it in the
Christianity in the
2.1 Red wine
2.2 White wine
Mead (honey wine)
2.6 Starch-based "wine" and wine-based products
4.1 European classifications
4.2 Beyond Europe
8.1 Exporting countries
10 Culinary uses
11 Religious significance
11.1 Ancient religions
12 Health effects
12.1 Short-term effects
12.2 Long-term effects
13 Forgery and manipulation
17 See also
19 Further reading
20 External links
Main article: History of wine
Entrance to the Areni-1 cave in southern
Armenia near the town of
Areni. The cave is the location of the world's oldest known winery and
where the world's oldest known leather shoe has been found.
The earliest archaeological and archaeobotanical evidence for grape
wine and viniculture, dating to 6000 - 5800 BC was found on the
territory of modern Georgia. Both archaeological and genetic
evidence suggest that the earliest production of wine elsewhere was
relatively later, likely having taken place in the Southern Caucasus
(which encompasses Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan), or the West Asian
region between Eastern Turkey, and northwestern Iran.
The earliest evidence of a grape-based fermented drink was found in
China (c. 7000 BC), Georgia from 6000 BC,
Iran from 5000 BC, and
Sicily from 4000 BC. The earliest
evidence of a wine production facility is the
Areni-1 winery in
Armenia and is at least 6100 years old.
Detail of a relief of the eastern stairs of the Apadana, Persepolis,
Armenians bringing an amphora, probably of wine, to the
A 2003 report by archaeologists indicates a possibility that grapes
were mixed with rice to produce mixed fermented beverages in
the early years of the seventh millennium BC. Pottery jars from the
Neolithic site of Jiahu, Henan, contained traces of tartaric acid and
other organic compounds commonly found in wine. However, other fruits
indigenous to the region, such as hawthorn, cannot be ruled
out. If these beverages, which seem to be the precursors of
rice wine, included grapes rather than other fruits, they would have
been any of the several dozen indigenous wild species in China, rather
Vitis vinifera, which was introduced there 6000 years later.
The spread of wine culture westwards was most probably due to the
Phoenicians who spread outward from a base of city-states along the
Mediterranean coast of what are today Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and
Palestine. The wines of
Byblos were exported to Egypt during the
Old Kingdom and then throughout the Mediterranean. Evidence includes
two Phoenician shipwrecks from 750 BC discovered by Robert Ballard,
whose cargo of wine was still intact. As the first great traders
in wine (cherem), the
Phoenicians seem to have protected it from
oxidation with a layer of olive oil, followed by a seal of pinewood
and resin, similar to retsina.
Kvevri ancient wine vessel
The earliest remains of
Apadana Palace in
Persepolis dating back to
515 BC include carvings depicting soldiers from Achaemenid Empire
subject nations bringing gifts to the Achaemenid king, among them
Armenians bringing their famous wine.
Literary references to wine are abundant in
Homer (8th century BC, but
possibly relating earlier compositions),
Alkman (7th century BC), and
others. In ancient Egypt, six of 36 wine amphoras were found in the
tomb of King
Tutankhamun bearing the name "Kha'y", a royal chief
vintner. Five of these amphoras were designated as originating from
the king's personal estate, with the sixth from the estate of the
royal house of Aten. Traces of wine have also been found in
Xinjiang in modern-day China, dating from the second and
first millennia BC.
Wine boy at a symposium
Pressing wine after the harvest; Tacuinum Sanitatis, 14th century
The first known mention of grape-based wines in
India is from the late
4th-century BC writings of Chanakya, the chief minister of Emperor
Chandragupta Maurya. In his writings,
Chanakya condemns the use of
alcohol while chronicling the emperor and his court's frequent
indulgence of a style of wine known as madhu.
The ancient Romans planted vineyards near garrison towns so wine could
be produced locally rather than shipped over long distances. Some of
these areas are now world-renowned for wine production. The Romans
discovered that burning sulfur candles inside empty wine vessels kept
them fresh and free from a vinegar smell. In medieval Europe, the
Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church supported wine because the clergy required it
for the Mass. Monks in
France made wine for years, aging it in
caves. An old English recipe that survived in various forms until
the 19th century calls for refining white wine from bastard—bad or
tainted bastardo wine.
Map showing the word for wine in European languages.
The English word "wine" comes from the Proto-Germanic *winam, an early
borrowing from the
Latin vinum, "wine" or "(grape) vine", itself
derived from the
Proto-Indo-European stem *win-o- (cf. Armenian:
գինի, gini; Ancient Greek: οἶνος oinos; Aeolic Greek:
ϝοῖνος woinos; Hittite: wiyana; Lycian: oino). The
earliest attested terms referring to wine are the Mycenaean Greek
𐀕𐀶𐀺𐄀𐀚𐀺 me-tu-wo ne-wo (*μέθυϝος
νέϝῳ), meaning "in (the month)" or "(festival) of the new
wine", and 𐀺𐀜𐀷𐀴𐀯 wo-no-wa-ti-si, meaning "wine
garden", written in
Linear B inscriptions. Linear B
also includes, inter alia, an ideogram for wine, i.e. 𐂖.
Ultimate Indo-European origin of the word is the subject of continued
debate. Some scholars have noted the similarities between the words
for wine in
Indo-European languages (e.g. Armenian gini,
Ancient Greek οἶνος, Russian вино [vʲɪˈno]), Kartvelian
(e.g. Georgian ღვინო [ɣvinɔ]), and Semitic (*wayn; Hebrew
יין [jaiin]), pointing to the possibility of a common origin of the
word denoting "wine" in these language families. The Georgian word
goes back to
Proto-Kartvelian *ɣwino-, which is either a
borrowing from Proto-Indo-European or the
lexeme was specifically borrowed from
whence Armenian gini. An alternate hypothesis by
Fähnrich supposes *ɣwino- a native Kartvelian word derived from the
verbal root *ɣun- ('to bend'). See *ɣwino- for more. All these
theories place the origin of the word in the same geographical
location, Trans-Caucasia, that has been established based on
archeological and biomolecular studies as the origin of viticulture.
Main article: Red wine
The red-wine production process involves extraction of color and
flavor components from the grape skin.
Red wine is made from
dark-colored grape varieties. The actual color of the wine can range
from violet, typical of young wines, through red for mature wines, to
brown for older red wines. The juice from most purple grapes is
actually greenish-white; the red color comes from anthocyan pigments
(also called anthocyanins) present in the skin of the grape;
exceptions are the relatively uncommon teinturier varieties, which
actually have red flesh and produce red juice.
Main article: White wine
White wine can be straw-yellow, yellow-green, or yellow-gold.
Fermentation of the non-colored grape pulp produces white wine. The
grapes from which white wine is produced are typically green or
yellow. Some varieties are well-known, such as the Chardonnay,
Sauvignon, and Riesling. Other white wines are blended from multiple
varieties; Tokay, Sherry, and Sauternes are examples of these.
Dark-skinned grapes may be used to produce white wine if the
wine-maker is careful not to let the skin stain the wort during the
separation of the pulp-juice. Pinot noir, for example, is commonly
used to produce champagne.
Dry (non-sweet) white wine is the most common, derived from the
complete fermentation of the wort.
Sweet wines are produced when the
fermentation is interrupted before all the grape sugars are converted
into alcohol. Sparkling wines, which are mostly white wines, are
produced by not allowing carbon dioxide from the fermentation to
escape during fermentation, which takes place in the bottle rather
than in the barrel.
A rosé wine incorporates some of the color from the grape skins, but
not enough to qualify it as a red wine. It may be the oldest known
type of wine, as it is the most straightforward to make with the skin
contact method. The pink color can range from a pale orange to a vivid
near-purple, depending on the varietals used and wine-making
techniques. There are three primary ways to produce rosé wine: skin
contact (allowing dark grape skins to stain the wort), saignée
(removing juice from the must early in fermentation and continuing
fermentation of the juice separately), and blending (uncommon and
discouraged in most wine growing regions).
Rosé wines can be made
still, semi-sparkling, or sparkling, with a wide range of sweetness
levels from dry Provençal rosé to sweet White Zinfandels and
Rosé wines are made from a wide variety of grapes all over
Wines from other fruits, such as apples and berries, are usually named
after the fruit from which they are produced combined with the word
"wine" (for example, apple wine and elderberry wine) and are
generically called fruit wine or country wine (not to be confused with
the French term vin de pays). Other than the grape varieties
traditionally used for wine-making, most fruits naturally lack either
sufficient fermentable sugars, relatively low acidity, yeast nutrients
needed to promote or maintain fermentation, or a combination of these
three characteristics. This is probably one of the main reasons why
wine derived from grapes has historically been more prevalent by far
than other types, and why specific types of fruit wine have generally
been confined to regions in which the fruits were native or introduced
for other reasons.
Mead (honey wine)
Main article: Mead
Mead, also called honey wine, is created by fermenting honey with
water, sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains, or hops. As long
as the primary substance fermented is honey, the drink is considered
Mead was produced in ancient history throughout Europe,
Africa and Asia, and was known in
Europe before grape wine.
Starch-based "wine" and wine-based products
Other beverages called "wine", such as barley wine and rice wine (e.g.
sake), are made from starch-based materials and resemble beer more
than traditional wine, while ginger wine is fortified with brandy. In
these latter cases, the term "wine" refers to the similarity in
alcohol content rather than to the production process. The
commercial use of the English word "wine" (and its equivalent in other
languages) is protected by law in many jurisdictions.
Some UK supermarkets have been criticised for selling “wine based”
drinks, which only contain 75% wine, but which are still marketed as
wine. The International Organisation of
Wine requires that a
"wine based drink" must contain a minimum of 75% wine, but producers
do not have to divulge the nature of the remaining 25%.
Main article: List of grape varieties
Wine is usually made from one or more varieties of the European
Vitis vinifera, such as Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet
Gamay and Merlot. When one of these varieties is used as
the predominant grape (usually defined by law as minimums of 75% to
85%), the result is a "varietal" as opposed to a "blended" wine.
Blended wines are not considered inferior to varietal wines, rather
they are a different style of wine-making; some of the world's most
highly regarded wines, from regions like
Bordeaux and the Rhone
Valley, are blended from different grape varieties.
Wine can also be made from other species of grape or from hybrids,
created by the genetic crossing of two species. V. labrusca (of which
Concord grape is a cultivar), V. aestivalis, V. ruprestris, V.
rotundifolia and V. riparia are native North American grapes usually
grown to eat fresh or for grape juice, jam, or jelly, and only
occasionally made into wine.
Hybridization is different from grafting. Most of the world's
vineyards are planted with European V. vinifera vines that have been
grafted onto North American species' rootstock, a common practice due
to their resistance to phylloxera, a root louse that eventually kills
the vine. In the late 19th century, most of Europe's vineyards
(excluding some of the driest in the south) were devastated by the
infestation, leading to widespread vine deaths and eventual
Grafting is done in every wine-producing region in the
world except in Argentina, the
Canary Islands and Chile—the only
places not yet exposed to the insect.
In the context of wine production, terroir is a concept that
encompasses the varieties of grapes used, elevation and shape of the
vineyard, type and chemistry of soil, climate and seasonal conditions,
and the local yeast cultures. The range of possible combinations
of these factors can result in great differences among wines,
influencing the fermentation, finishing, and aging processes as well.
Many wineries use growing and production methods that preserve or
accentuate the aroma and taste influences of their unique terroir.
However, flavor differences are less desirable for producers of
mass-market table wine or other cheaper wines, where consistency takes
precedence. Such producers try to minimize differences in sources of
grapes through production techniques such as micro-oxygenation, tannin
filtration, cross-flow filtration, thin-film evaporation, and spinning
Main article: Classification of wine
Wine grapes on a vine
Regulations govern the classification and sale of wine in many regions
of the world. European wines tend to be classified by region (e.g.
Bordeaux, Rioja and Chianti), while non-European wines are most often
classified by grape (e.g.
Pinot noir and Merlot). Market recognition
of particular regions has recently been leading to their increased
prominence on non-European wine labels. Examples of recognized
non-European locales include Napa Valley, Santa Clara Valley, Sonoma
Valley, Anderson Valley, and
Mendocino County in California;
Willamette Valley and Rogue Valley in Oregon; Columbia Valley in
Washington; Barossa Valley in South Australia; Hunter Valley in New
South Wales; Luján de Cuyo in Argentina; Central Valley in Chile;
Vale dos Vinhedos in Brazil; Hawke's Bay and Marlborough in New
Zealand; and in Canada, the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, and
Niagara Peninsula and Essex County regions of Ontario are the
three largest producers.
Some blended wine names are marketing terms whose use is governed by
trademark law rather than by specific wine laws. For example, Meritage
(sounds like "heritage") is generally a Bordeaux-style blend of
Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, but may also include Cabernet Franc,
Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Commercial use of the term
allowed only via licensing agreements with the
Moscato d'Asti, a DOCG wine
France has various appellation systems based on the concept of
terroir, with classifications ranging from
Vin de Table ("table wine")
at the bottom, through
Vin de Pays
Vin de Pays and
Appellation d'Origine Vin
Délimité de Qualité Supérieure (AOVDQS), up to Appellation
d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) or similar, depending on the
Portugal has developed a system resembling that of
France and, in fact, pioneered this concept in 1756 with a royal
charter creating the Demarcated Douro Region and regulating the
production and trade of wine.
Germany created a similar scheme in
2002, although it has not yet achieved the authority of the other
countries' classification systems. Spain,
Greece and Italy
have classifications based on a dual system of region of origin and
New World wines—those made outside the traditional wine regions of
Europe—are usually classified by grape rather than by terroir or
region of origin, although there have been unofficial attempts to
classify them by quality.
According to Canadian Food and Drug Regulations, wine in Canada is an
alcoholic beverage that is produced by the complete or partial
alcoholic fermentation of fresh grapes, grape must, products derived
solely from fresh grapes, or any combination of them. There are many
materials added during the course of the manufacture, such as yeast,
concentrated grape juice, dextrose, fructose, glucose or glucose
solids, invert sugar, sugar, or aqueous solutions. Calcium sulphate in
such quantity that the content of soluble sulphates in the finished
wine shall not exceed 0.2 per cent weight by volume calculated as
potassium sulphate. Calcium carbonate in such quantity that the
content of tartaric acid in the finished wine shall not be less than
0.15 per cent weight by volume. Also, sulphurous acid, including salts
thereof, in such quantity that its content in the finished wine shall
not exceed 70 parts per million in the free state, or 350 parts per
million in the combined state, calculated as sulphur dioxide. Caramel,
amylase and pectinase at a maximum level of use consistent with good
manufacturing practice. Brandy, fruit spirit or alcohol derived from
the alcoholic fermentation of a food source distilled to not less than
94 per cent alcohol by volume. Prior to final filtration may be
treated with a strongly acid cation exchange resin in the sodium ion
form, or a weakly basic anion exchange resin in the hydroxyl ion
Main article: Vintage
Vintage French Champagne
In the United States, for a wine to be vintage-dated and labeled with
a country of origin or
American Viticultural Area
American Viticultural Area (AVA; e.g., Sonoma
Valley), 95% of its volume must be from grapes harvested in that
year. If a wine is not labeled with a country of origin or AVA the
percentage requirement is lowered to 85%.
Vintage wines are generally bottled in a single batch so that each
bottle will have a similar taste. Climate's impact on the character of
a wine can be significant enough to cause different vintages from the
same vineyard to vary dramatically in flavor and quality. Thus,
vintage wines are produced to be individually characteristic of the
particular vintage and to serve as the flagship wines of the producer.
Superior vintages from reputable producers and regions will often
command much higher prices than their average ones. Some vintage wines
(e.g. Brunello), are only made in better-than-average years.
For consistency, non-vintage wines can be blended from more than one
vintage, which helps wine-makers sustain a reliable market image and
maintain sales even in bad years. One recent study suggests
that for the average wine drinker, the vintage year may not be as
significant for perceived quality as had been thought, although wine
connoisseurs continue to place great importance on it.
Judging color is the first step in tasting a wine.
Wine tasting descriptors
Wine tasting is the sensory examination and evaluation of wine. Wines
contain many chemical compounds similar or identical to those in
fruits, vegetables, and spices. The sweetness of wine is determined by
the amount of residual sugar in the wine after fermentation, relative
to the acidity present in the wine. Dry wine, for example, has only a
small amount of residual sugar. Some wine labels suggest opening the
bottle and letting the wine "breathe" for a couple of hours before
serving, while others recommend drinking it immediately. Decanting
(the act of pouring a wine into a special container just for
breathing) is a controversial subject among wine enthusiasts. In
addition to aeration, decanting with a filter allows the removal of
bitter sediments that may have formed in the wine. Sediment is more
common in older bottles, but aeration may benefit younger wines.
During aeration, a younger wine's exposure to air often "relaxes" the
drink, making it smoother and better integrated in aroma, texture, and
flavor. Older wines generally fade (lose their character and flavor
intensity) with extended aeration. Despite these general rules,
breathing does not necessarily benefit all wines.
Wine may be tasted
as soon as the bottle is opened to determine how long it should be
aerated, if at all. When tasting wine, individual
flavors may also be detected, due to the complex mix of organic
molecules (e.g. esters and terpenes) that grape juice and wine can
contain. Experienced tasters can distinguish between flavors
characteristic of a specific grape and flavors that result from other
factors in wine-making. Typical intentional flavor elements in
wine—chocolate, vanilla, or coffee—are those imparted by aging in
oak casks rather than the grape itself.
Vertical and horizontal tasting involves a range of vintages within
the same grape and vineyard, or the latter in which there is one
vintage from multiple vineyards. "Banana" flavors (isoamyl acetate)
are the product of yeast metabolism, as are spoilage aromas such as
"medicinal" or "Band-Aid" (4-ethylphenol), "spicy" or "smoky"
(4-ethylguaiacol), and rotten egg (hydrogen sulfide). Some
varieties can also exhibit a mineral flavor due to the presence of
water-soluble salts as a result of limestone's presence in the
Wine aroma comes from volatile compounds released
into the air. Vaporization of these compounds can be accelerated
by twirling the wine glass or serving at room temperature. Many
drinkers prefer to chill red wines that are already highly aromatic,
like Chinon and Beaujolais.
The ideal temperature for serving a particular wine is a matter of
debate by wine enthusiasts and sommeliers, but some broad guidelines
have emerged that will generally enhance the experience of tasting
certain common wines. A white wine should foster a sense of coolness,
achieved by serving at "cellar temperature" (13 °C
[55 °F]). Light red wines drunk young should also be brought to
the table at this temperature, where they will quickly rise a few
degrees. Red wines are generally perceived best when served chambré
("at room temperature"). However, this does not mean the temperature
of the dining room—often around (21 °C [70 °F])—but
rather the coolest room in the house and, therefore, always slightly
cooler than the dining room itself.
Pinot noir should be brought to
the table for serving at (16 °C [61 °F]) and will reach
its full bouquet at (18 °C [64 °F]). Cabernet Sauvignon,
zinfandel, and Rhone varieties should be served at (18 °C
[64 °F]) and allowed to warm on the table to 21 °C
(70 °F) for best aroma.
See also: Aging of wine, Investment wine, and Storage of wine
Château Margaux, a
First Growth from the
Bordeaux region of France,
is highly collectible.
Outstanding vintages from the best vineyards may sell for thousands of
dollars per bottle, though the broader term "fine wine" covers those
typically retailing in excess of US$30–50. "Investment wines"
are considered by some to be Veblen goods: those for which demand
increases rather than decreases as their prices rise. Particular
selections have higher value, such as "Verticals", in which a range of
vintages of a specific grape and vineyard, are offered. The most
notable was a Château d'Yquem 135 year vertical containing every
vintage from 1860 to 2003 sold for $1.5 million. The most common wines
purchased for investment include those from
Bordeaux and Burgundy;
cult wines from
Europe and elsewhere; and vintage port.
Characteristics of highly collectible wines include:
A proven track record of holding well over time
A drinking-window plateau (i.e., the period for maturity and
approachability) that is many years long
A consensus among experts as to the quality of the wines
Rigorous production methods at every stage, including grape selection
and appropriate barrel aging
Investment in fine wine has attracted those who take advantage of
their victims' relative ignorance of this wine market sector. Such
wine fraudsters often profit by charging excessively high prices for
off-vintage or lower-status wines from well-known wine regions, while
claiming that they are offering a sound investment unaffected by
economic cycles. As with any investment, thorough research is
essential to making an informed decision.
Main article: Winemaking
List of wine-producing countries
List of wine-producing countries and List of wine-producing
Grapes fermenting to make wine in Western Australia
2014 wine production estimates
(with link to wine article)
* May include official, semi-official or estimated data.
Wine grapes grow almost exclusively between 30 and 50 degrees latitude
north and south of the equator. The world's southernmost vineyards are
Central Otago region of New Zealand's
South Island near the
45th parallel south, and the northernmost are in Flen, Sweden,
just north of the 59th parallel north.
Top ten wine exporting countries in 2013
* May include official, semi-official or estimated data.
2013 export market shares
(% of value in US$)
Wine Exports by Country (2014) from Harvard Atlas of Economic
The UK was the world's largest importer of wine in 2007.
Wine-consumption data from a list of countries by alcohol consumption
measured in liters of pure ethyl alcohol consumed per capita in a
given year, according to the most recent data from the World Health
Organization. The methodology includes persons 15 years of age or
Liters per capita
Wine vs. beer consumption per capita
São Tomé and Príncipe
Reduction of red wine for a sauce by cooking it on a stovetop. It is
called a reduction because the heat boils off some of the water,
leaving a more concentrated, wine-flavoured sauce.
Wine is a popular and important beverage that accompanies and enhances
a wide range of cuisines, from the simple and traditional stews to the
most sophisticated and complex haute cuisines.
Wine is often served
Sweet dessert wines may be served with the dessert
course. In fine restaurants in Western countries, wine typically
accompanies dinner. At a restaurant, patrons are helped to make good
food-wine pairings by the restaurant's sommelier or wine waiter.
Individuals dining at home may use wine guides to help make
Wine is also drunk without the accompaniment of
a meal in wine bars or with a selection of cheeses (at a wine and
Wine is important in cuisine not just for its value as a beverage, but
as a flavor agent, primarily in stocks and braising, since its acidity
lends balance to rich savory or sweet dishes.
Wine sauce is an
example of a culinary sauce that uses wine as a primary
ingredient. Natural wines may exhibit a broad range of alcohol
content, from below 9% to above 16% ABV, with most wines being in the
12.5–14.5% range. Fortified wines (usually with brandy) may
contain 20% alcohol or more.
See also: Alcohol and religion
The use of wine in ancient
Near Eastern and
Ancient Egyptian religious
ceremonies was common. Libations often included wine, and the
religious mysteries of Dionysus used wine as a sacramental entheogen
to induce a mind-altering state.
Main article: Kosher wine
Baruch atah Hashem (Ado-nai) Eloheinu melech ha-olam, boray p'ree
hagafen – Praised be the Lord, our God, King of the universe,
Creator of the fruit of the vine.
— The blessing over wine said before consuming the drink.
Wine is an integral part of Jewish laws and traditions. The
a blessing recited over wine or grape juice to sanctify the Shabbat.
On Pesach (Passover) during the Seder, it is a Rabbinic obligation of
adults to drink four cups of wine. In the Tabernacle and in the
Temple in Jerusalem, the libation of wine was part of the sacrificial
service. Note that this does not mean that wine is a symbol of
blood, a common misconception that contributes to the Christian myth
of the blood libel. "It has been one of history's cruel ironies that
the blood libel—accusations against Jews using the blood of murdered
gentile children for the making of wine and matzot—became the false
pretext for numerous pogroms. And due to the danger, those who live in
a place where blood libels occur are halachically exempted from using
red wine, lest it be seized as "evidence" against them."
Christian views on alcohol
Christian views on alcohol and Alcohol in the Bible
Jesus making wine from water in The Marriage at Cana, a 14th-century
fresco from the Visoki Dečani monastery
In Christianity, wine is used in a sacred rite called the Eucharist,
which originates in the
Gospel account of the
Last Supper (
Luke 22:19) describing
Jesus sharing bread and wine with his disciples
and commanding them to "do this in remembrance of me." Beliefs about
the nature of the
Eucharist vary among denominations (see Eucharistic
While some Christians consider the use of wine from the grape as
essential for the validity of the sacrament, many Protestants also
allow (or require) pasteurized grape juice as a substitute.
used in Eucharistic rites by all
Protestant groups until an
alternative arose in the late 19th century. Methodist dentist and
Thomas Bramwell Welch
Thomas Bramwell Welch applied new pasteurization
techniques to stop the natural fermentation process of grape juice.
Some Christians who were part of the growing temperance movement
pressed for a switch from wine to grape juice, and the substitution
spread quickly over much of the United States, as well as to other
countries to a lesser degree. There remains an ongoing debate
between some American
Protestant denominations as to whether wine can
and should be used for the
Eucharist or allowed as an ordinary
beverage, with Catholics and some mainline Protestants allowing wine
drinking in moderation, and some conservative
opposing consumption of alcohol altogether.
All alcohol is prohibited under Islamic law, although there has been a
long tradition of drinking wine in some Islamic areas, especially in
Main article: Islam and alcohol
Alcoholic beverages, including wine, are forbidden under most
interpretations of Islamic law. In many Muslim countries,
possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages carry legal
Iran had previously had a thriving wine industry that
disappeared after the Islamic Revolution in 1979. In Greater
Persia, mey (Persian wine) was a central theme of poetry for more than
a thousand years, long before the advent of Islam. Some Alevi
sects–one of the two main branches of Islam in Turkey (the other
being Sunni Islam)–use wine in their religious services.
Certain exceptions to the ban on alcohol apply. Alcohol derived from a
source other than the grape (or its byproducts) and the date is
allowed in "very small quantities" (loosely defined as a quantity that
does not cause intoxication) under the Sunni
Hanafi madhab, for
specific purposes (such as medicines), where the goal is not
intoxication. However, modern
Hanafi scholars regard alcohol
consumption as totally forbidden.
See also: Health effects of wine
Red wine headache
Red table wine
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
355 kJ (85 kcal)
10.6 g alcohol is 13%vol.
100 g wine is approximately 100 ml (3.4 fl oz.)
Sugar and alcohol content can vary.
μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams
IU = International units
Main article: Short-term effects of alcohol
Wine contains ethyl alcohol, the same chemical that is present in beer
and distilled spirits and as such, wine consumption has short-term
psychological and physiological effects on the user. Different
concentrations of alcohol in the human body have different effects on
a person. The effects of alcohol depend on the amount an individual
has drunk, the percentage of alcohol in the wine and the timespan that
the consumption took place, the amount of food eaten and whether an
individual has taken other prescription, over-the-counter or street
drugs, among other factors. Drinking enough to cause a blood alcohol
concentration (BAC) of 0.03%-0.12% typically causes an overall
improvement in mood and possible euphoria, increased self-confidence
and sociability, decreased anxiety, a flushed, red appearance in the
face and impaired judgment and fine muscle coordination. A BAC of
0.09% to 0.25% causes lethargy, sedation, balance problems and blurred
vision. A BAC from 0.18% to 0.30% causes profound confusion, impaired
speech (e.g. slurred speech), staggering, dizziness and vomiting. A
BAC from 0.25% to 0.40% causes stupor, unconsciousness, anterograde
amnesia, vomiting, and death may occur due to inhalation of vomit
(pulmonary aspiration) while unconscious and respiratory depression
(potentially life-threatening). A BAC from 0.35% to 0.80% causes a
coma (unconsciousness), life-threatening respiratory depression and
possibly fatal alcohol poisoning. As with all alcoholic beverages,
drinking while driving, operating an aircraft or heavy machinery
increases the risk of an accident; many countries have penalties
against drunk driving.
Wines can trigger the positive emotions in a short period of time,
such as relaxed and comfortable. The context and quality of wine can
affect the mood and emotions, too. 
See also: Long-term effects of alcohol consumption
Most significant of the possible long-term effects of ethanol, one of
the constituents of wine. Consumption of alcohol by pregnant mothers
may result in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
The main active ingredient of wine is alcohol, and therefore, the
health effects of alcohol apply to wine. Drinking small quantities of
alcohol (less than one drink in women and two in men) is associated
with a decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes mellitus, and
early death. Drinking more than this amount however, increases
the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation,
and stroke. Risk is greater in younger people due to binge
drinking which may result in violence or accidents. About 3.3
million deaths (5.9% of all deaths) are believed to be due to alcohol
Alcoholism is a broad term for any drinking of alcohol that results in
problems. It was previously divided into two types: alcohol abuse
and alcohol dependence. In a medical context, alcoholism is
said to exist when two or more of the following conditions is present:
a person drinks large amounts over a long time period, has difficulty
cutting down, acquiring and drinking alcohol takes up a great deal of
time, alcohol is strongly desired, usage results in not fulfilling
responsibilities, usage results in social problems, usage results in
health problems, usage results in risky situations, withdrawal occurs
when stopping, and alcohol tolerance has occurred with use.
Alcoholism reduces a person's life expectancy by around ten years
and alcohol use is the third leading cause of early death in the
United States. No professional medical association recommends
that people who are nondrinkers should start drinking wine.
Although lower quality evidence suggest a cardioprotective effect, no
controlled studies have been completed on the effect of alcohol on the
risk of developing heart disease or stroke. Excessive consumption of
alcohol can cause liver cirrhosis and alcoholism. The American
Heart Association "cautions people NOT to start drinking ... if they
do not already drink alcohol. Consult your doctor on the benefits and
risks of consuming alcohol in moderation."
Population studies exhibit a J-curve correlation between wine
consumption and rates of heart disease: heavy drinkers have an
elevated rate, while people who drink small amount (up to 20 g of
alcohol per day, approximately 200 ml
(7 imp fl oz; 7 US fl oz) of 12.7% ABV
wine) have a lower rate than non-drinkers. Studies have also found
that moderate consumption of other alcoholic beverages is correlated
with decreased mortality from cardiovascular causes, although the
association is stronger for wine. Additionally, some studies have
found a greater correlation of health benefits with red than white
wine, though other studies have found no difference.
Red wine contains
more polyphenols than white wine, and these could be protective
against cardiovascular disease.
Although red wine contains the chemical resveratrol and there is
tentative evidence it may improve heart health, the evidence is
unclear for those at high risk as of 2013[update].
naturally produce resveratrol in response to fungal infection,
including exposure to yeast during fermentation.
White wine generally
contains lower levels of the chemical as it has minimal contact with
grape skins during this process.
Forgery and manipulation
Honoré Daumier: All These Grapes Seem to Have Fallen Ill... (Tous ces
raisins me font l'effet d'avoir la maladie...)
See also: List of food contamination incidents
Incidents of fraud, such as mislabeling the origin or quality of
wines, have resulted in regulations on labeling. "
Wine scandals" that
have received media attention include:
The 1985 Diethylene Glycol
Wine Scandal, in which diethylene glycol
was used as a sweetener in some Austrian wines.
In 1986, methanol (a toxic type of alcohol) was used to alter certain
wines manufactured in Italy.
In 2008, some Italian wines were found to include sulfuric acid and
In 2010, some Chinese red wines were found to be adulterated, and as a
consequence China's Hebei province has shut down nearly 30
See also: Cork (material), Closure (bottle), Alternative wine closure,
Wine bottle, Box wine, and
Screw cap (wine)
Assorted wine corks
Most wines are sold in glass bottles and sealed with corks (50% of
which come from Portugal). An increasing number of wine producers
have been using alternative closures such as screwcaps and synthetic
plastic "corks". Although alternative closures are less expensive and
prevent cork taint, they have been blamed for such problems as
excessive reduction.
Some wines are packaged in thick plastic bags within corrugated
fiberboard boxes, and are called "box wines", or "cask wine". Tucked
inside the package is a tap affixed to the bag in box, or bladder,
that is later extended by the consumer for serving the contents. Box
wine can stay acceptably fresh for up to a month after opening because
the bladder collapses as wine is dispensed, limiting contact with air
and, thus, slowing the rate of oxidation. In contrast, bottled wine
oxidizes more rapidly after opening because of the increasing ratio of
air to wine as the contents are dispensed; it can degrade considerably
in a few days.
Environmental considerations of wine packaging reveal benefits and
drawbacks of both bottled and box wines. The glass used to make
bottles is a nontoxic, naturally occurring substance that is
completely recyclable, whereas the plastics used for box-wine
containers are typically much less environmentally friendly. However,
wine-bottle manufacturers have been cited for Clean Air Act
violations. A New York Times editorial suggested that box wine, being
lighter in package weight, has a reduced carbon footprint from its
distribution; however, box-wine plastics, even though possibly
recyclable, can be more labor-intensive (and therefore expensive) to
process than glass bottles. In addition, while a wine box is
recyclable, its plastic bladder most likely is not.
Some wine is sold in stainless steel kegs and is referred to as wine
Main article: Storage of wine
Oak wine barrels
Wine cellars, or wine rooms, if they are above-ground, are places
designed specifically for the storage and aging of wine. Fine
restaurants and some private homes have wine cellars. In an active
wine cellar, temperature and humidity are maintained by a
climate-control system. Passive wine cellars are not
climate-controlled, and so must be carefully located. Because wine is
a natural, perishable food product, all types—including red, white,
sparkling, and fortified—can spoil when exposed to heat, light,
vibration or fluctuations in temperature and humidity. When properly
stored, wines can maintain their quality and in some cases improve in
aroma, flavor, and complexity as they age. Some wine experts contend
that the optimal temperature for aging wine is 13 °C
(55 °F), others 15 °C (59 °F).
Wine refrigerators offer a smaller alternative to wine cellars and are
available in capacities ranging from small, 16-bottle units to
furniture-quality pieces that can contain 400 bottles. Wine
refrigerators are not ideal for aging, but rather serve to chill wine
to the proper temperature for drinking. These refrigerators keep the
humidity low (usually under 50%), below the optimal humidity of 50% to
70%. Lower humidity levels can dry out corks over time, allowing
oxygen to enter the bottle, which reduces the wine's quality through
oxidation. While some types of alcohol are sometimes stored in
freezer, such as vodka, it is not possible to safely freeze wine in
the bottle, as there is insufficient room for it to expand as it
freezes and the bottle will usually crack. Certain shapes of bottle
may allow the cork to be pushed out by the ice, but if the bottle is
frozen on its side, the wine in the narrower neck will invariably
freeze first, preventing this.
There are a large number of occupations and professions that are part
of the wine industry, ranging from the individuals who grow the
grapes, prepare the wine, bottle it, sell it, assess it, market it and
finally make recommendations to clients and serve the wine.
A person in charge of a wine cellar
A craftsperson of wooden barrels and casks. A cooperage is a facility
that produces such casks
A wine merchant who purchases the product of smaller growers or
wine-makers to sell them under its own name
A wine scientist or wine chemist; a student of oenology. In the 2000s,
B.Sc. degrees in oenology and viticulture are available. A wine-maker
may be trained as an oenologist, but often hires one as a consultant
Also called a "wine steward", this is a specialist wine expert in
charge of developing a restaurant's wine list, educating the staff
about wine, and assisting customers with their selections (especially
A wine producer; a person who makes wine
A specialist in the science of grapevines; a manager of vineyard
pruning, irrigation, and pest control
A wine expert and journalist who tastes and reviews wines for books
A wine expert who tastes wines to ascertain their quality and flavour
A restaurant or wine bar server with a basic- to mid-level knowledge
of wine and food-wine pairings
Main article: Outline of wine
Acids in wine
Conditum Paradoxum, a spiced wine of Ancient Rome
Glossary of wine terms
International Organisation of
Vine and Wine
List of beverages
List of wine-producing regions
List of wine-producing regions –
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^ Muzaurieta, Annie Bell, thedailygreen.com (1 October 2008). Holy
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Wine Temperature Archived 8 July 2009
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Wine Fridges and
Colman, Tyler (2008).
Wine Politics: How Governments,
Environmentalists, Mobsters, and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink.
University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-25521-0.
Foulkes, Christopher (2001). Larousse Encyclopedia of Wine. Larousse.
Johnson, Hugh (2003). Hugh Johnson's
Wine Companion (5th ed.).
Mitchell Beazley. ISBN 978-1-84000-704-6.
McCarthy, Ed; Mary Ewing-Mulligan; Piero Antinori (2006).
Dummies. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-470-04579-5.
MacNeil, Karen (2001). The
Wine Bible. Workman.
Oldman, Mark (2004). Oldman's Guide to Outsmarting Wine. Penguin.
Parker, Robert (2008). Parker's
Wine Buyer's Guide. Simon and
Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-7198-1.
Pigott, Stuart (2004). Planet Wine: A
Grape Visual Guide to
Wine World. Mitchell Beazley.
Robinson, Jancis (2006). The Oxford Companion to
Wine (3rd ed.).
Oxford: OUP. ISBN 0-19-860990-6.
Simpson, James (2011). Creating Wine: The Emergence of a World
Industry, 1840–1914. Princeton University Press.
ISBN 978-1-4008-3888-2. online review
Zraly, Kevin (2006). Windows on the World Complete
Sterling. ISBN 1-4027-3928-1.
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