Wine (Red & White) Health Benefits, Types, and Recipes
A few weeks ago we covered the delight that beer can be, but, beer is not the only healthy alcoholic beverage in the world. Drinking a glass of red wine is healthy for your heart is a very common belief, and trust us, it is actually true. So, we at Medlife decided, let’s do a write up on another drink of the gods: Wine. In this article, we will be discussing the health benefits of wine, types of wine, recipes with wine. We will share recipes of not just cooking food with wine, but how to make wine at home. Explore the French Paradox, Gods of Wine, and the rich history of wine making. So, pour yourself a glass of Merlot, sit with a cheese plate, and show this write up to anyone who objects to your wine, and dines routine.
- What is Wine?
- Health Benefits of Wine
- Red Wine Benefits
- White Wine Benefits
- Rosé Wine Benefits
- Wine Grapes Vs Table Grapes
- The Process of Wine Making
- Different Types of Wines Available
- Easy Homemade Wine Recipe:
- Basics of Understanding Wine
- ABC’s of Wine Tasting
- Recipes with Wine:
- The French Paradox
- Wine History & Facts:
- Gods of Wine:
- News on Wine
What is Wine?
Wine is probably one of the oldest and most versatile alcoholic beverages in the world. It is made from fermented grape juice, but in theory, wine can be made from other fruits like plums, apples, cranberries, and so on. In fact, a very popular Japanese Wine called Sake is actually made of rice. To an amateur grape juice, wine can taste like many things, like too fruity, or bitter, or tart, or something else entirely. In fact, it is often said, that wine drinking in itself is an art, and finding the right wine involves a mastery on the understanding of what a well brewed and aged wine should taste like. We will be discussing, how to taste wine in a later section. For now, let us just conclude that the love for wine is an acquired taste, which is perfected with time and practice.
Having said that, wine is being produced and consumed since about the 6000 BCE, however, the current world leaders in wine production are Italy, France, and Spain, that are famous for offering different kinds of wine for not just different meals, but also for different courses, in a single meal.
Health Benefits of Wine
Wine is one of the most tested subjects in the world, especially, after researchers started observing what is popularly known as the French Paradox, which would be discussed in detail in a later section, wine became a subject of interest. Not to mention, the discovery of grape seed extract and the benefits of it, a lot of researchers started delving deeper into other products that employed grapes. So here are some benefits of both Red and White wine for you:
Red Wine Benefits
There has been much research into red wine and its benefits, in fact, if opinion of experts is taken, then they would say that red wine is hands down the healthier wine. But before we start looking at the benefits of red wine, let us first look at its nutrition facts:
Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases
The French Paradox propelled the world into researching the positive effects of wine on the human heart. Several subsequent research projects proved that wine actually benefits the heart.
i) In 1999, The Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology1, published a study by Mombouli JV et al. the study was designed to understand the cardiovascular activity of red wine and the researchers concluded that red wine exhibited cardioprotective properties.
ii) In 2006, The Experimental and Clinical Cardiology2, published a study by Vidavalur, Ramesh et al. where the researchers revisited the French Paradox. In the end the researchers concluded that red wine can lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 30%-50%.
iii) In 2016, The Nutrients3, published a study by Bonnefont-Rousselot, D who further investigated the properties of wine which provide cardiovascular benefits and concluded that wine is rich in antioxidants, and it also, exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, which could help reduce the risk of heart diseases like atherosclerosis, heart attack, hypertension, and so on.
Several animal studies have indicated that the resveratrol present in red wine can increase insulin sensitivity in lab animals, along with preventing other diabetes induced complications.
In 2008, The Current Aging Science4 published a study by Frojdo S et al, which was focused on exploring the link between improved insulin sensitivity and resveratrol, especially in an aging body. The researchers concluded that resveratrol can not only increase insulin sensitivity, but it can also prevent diabetes.
Prevention of Some Kinds of Cancer
Resveratrol in red wine is known to have anticarcinogenic properties and can help prevent some forms of cancer.
In 2012, The Clinical Biochemistry, published a comparative study by Soleas GJ et al, who compared the anticarcinogenic properties of four types of red wine. In the end the researchers concluded that resveratrol helps prevent cancer.
In 2015, The Translational Medicine, published a study conducted by Cai, H et al. who studied the impact of low doses of resveratrol on preventing colon cancer in at risk mice. At the end of the study, the researchers concluded that a low dose of resveratrol (amount present in 250 ml of Red Wine or one glass a day), can prevent the development of colon cancer by 50%, as opposed to the 25% prevention at high doses.
Generally, any kind of alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer, however, in 2012, The Journal of Women’s Health, published a comparative study report by Shufelt, Chrisandra et al. the study focused on the comparative analysis of aromatase inhibitors in red wine and white wine in premenopausal women. The researchers studied 36 participants and concluded that red wine is richer in aromatase inhibitors (AI), which helps prevent the development of breast cancer in women.
A 2007 study stated that moderate amount of red wine consumed regularly can reduce the risk of prostate cancer by half. In fact, 3-7 glasses of red wine per week can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer effectively.
Prevention of Dementia
Yes, alcohol can help prevent the permanent loss of cognitive abilities, nature is full of such ironies. In 2014, The Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience5 published a the report of a study conducted by Granzotto, Alberto, and Zatta, Paolo. The researchers studied the impact resveratrol has on preventing age related brain degeneration which in the end causes dementia. The researchers concluded that taken in lower amounts, resveratrol can help prevent the development of dementia.
Everyone has heard of the happy drunk, but who knew that drinking a glass of red wine everyday can actually keep depression away! In 2013, the BMC published a research study conducted by Spanish researchers, who based their results on the basis of a 7 year trial and over 5000 participants. The participants were aged between the ages of 55-80 years and had no prior history of depression. The researchers discovered that 2-7 glasses of wine per week can substantially lower the risk of depression.
White Wine Benefits
Well, experts do say that red wine is the clear winner when it comes to being healthier, but it in no way means that white wine is not healthy in its own right. Here are a few benefits of white wine, and before discussing it, we have the nutritional facts of white wine.
Yes, white wine can protect your heart as well as your red wine. In 1999, the Drugs Under Clinical and Experimental Research6 published review paper by Lamuela-Raventos, RM, and De la Torre-Boronat, MC, who reviewed research papers on white wine. The researchers concluded that while white wine may be processed differently, it contains same as or even more phenols than red wine and is thus beneficial to heart health.
Has anyone ever told you that alcohol makes you gain weight? Have you ever heard of people gaining a beer belly?
Well, what if we told you that white wine can actually help you lose weight? In 2017, the Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity7 published a research report conducted by Milat, Anna Miraj et al, who studied the effects of white wine on weight gain in mice. The researchers feed wine to mice for 4 weeks, the subjects belonged to all age groups, developing as well as developed adults. The researchers concluded that the rats who drank a moderate amount of white wine daily ate lesser, and thus showed lesser body weight growth.
Related Read: Home Remedies to Reduce Weight
All alcoholic beverages contain a high amount of congeners which provide the drink its taste, and smell among other things. Congeners also cause hangovers, the more congeners in your drink the worse hangover you will have. White wine has comparatively less congeners, which means that drinking white wine, may not give you that bad of a hangover.
Breathe easy with your glass of white wine. Although, red wine also benefits the health of lungs, white is known to be much more beneficials. In 2006, the Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association, published the report of a study conducted by Kamholz, Stephan L., the researchers focused on highlighting the benefits of wine on lung function. The author concludes, by pointing out that white wine is rich in a polyphenic compound called resveratrol which displays anti-inflammatory, estrogen controlling, and anti-oxidative behaviour, which helps in preventing lung diseases, especially, lung cancer.
Prevention of Diseases
Wine also promoted overall mental and physical health by helping prevent or control symptoms of a battery of diseases like depression8, or Hypertension9, or preventing/ minimizing brain degradation after a stroke. So, a glass of any kind of wine, is full of good health. The anti-oxidative properties of wine, also help with keeping the skin younger by negating the negative effects of oxidative stress.
Rosé Wine Benefits
Rosé wine is seldom talked about but it appears that rosé wine may offer you the best of both worlds as it turns out, Rosé wine is often either a mix or somewhere between red and white wines, which means that it imbibes both their benefits in fine pack. Here are the nutrition facts of rosé wine:
Lowers Bad Cholesterol
We have established time and again that all kinds of wine are heart friendly. Rosé wines are no different. They help lower bad cholesterol, manage blood pressure as well as display the general antioxidative, and anti-inflammation properties.
We have not discussed calories for any of the wines yet, but a normal portion of Rosé wine only adds 82 calories to your daily diet. This calorific value makes rosé the lightest of all alcoholic beverages, making it an ideal drink with foods, that are a little on the heavier side.
Rosé wines have more resveratrol than white wine as they have been allowed in part to absorb colour from the skin as must, or are created by mixing white and red wine, allowing them to offer more benefits. Resveratrol is an important component which helps protect the brain from degradation due to age.
Wine Grapes Vs Table Grapes
Grapes belong to the Vitis genus, which is subdivided into 3 broad subcategories to accommodate the 70 different types of grapes found in the genus. The three broad categories are Vitis Vinifera, Vitis Labrusca, and Vitis Rotundifolia. Apart from these 3 categories, there are nearly 40 indigenous varieties of grapes found in China itself, and 27 other international varieties that have not yet been classified and these are just the more popularly identified varieties, in reality, there are thousands of grape varieties. However, not all grape varieties are used to make wine, thus, it is important to recognize the distinguishing features of wine grapes and table grapes:
|1||Size of the fruit||Wine grapes are cultivated for maximum potency, and hence are smaller in size.||Table grapes are grown for everyday consumption, and their sale is largely dependent on how robust, big and beautiful they look, thus, they are bigger in size.|
|2||Presence of seeds||Not only are wine grape smaller in size, but they are also riddled with seeds.||On the other hand, table grapes are grown with the purpose of making them easy and effortless to consume, and thus are without seeds.|
|3||Taste of the fruit||Wine grapes are full of flavour and have a higher sugar content thus, sweeter.||While seedless grapes are easy to consume, they are also less flavourful.|
|4||Texture of the grape skin||The skin is thicker and chewier.||The skin is thinner, as the maximum efforts are focused on making the fruit pulpy.|
|5||Amount of pulp present||Amount of pulp is actually really low in wine grapes. They have higher juice content.||A high amount of pulp, less juice, which leads to lesser flavour.|
|6||Type/Variety of Grape||Nearly all wine grapes (90%) belong to Vitis Vinifera category. Popular varieties include Merlot, Chardonnay, Riesling, and so on.||Table grapes are found in nearly all types, varieties being Red Globe (Vitis vinifera), Delaware (Vitis labrusca), Cowart (Vitis rotundifolia), and so on.|
The Process of Wine Making
The 90s generation grew up with a Discovery Channel, which was still discovering the world around it with wide eyed wonder. We had awed and excited show hosts, bringing the world to our living rooms, and some of those episodes were dedicated to wineries. In those days, you would have a community of people, jumping into a big vat of grapes and squishing the seeds under their feet. A great recreational activity for some.
Winemaking has come a long way technology wise, but the process remains the same. Here are a few quick steps into understanding the process of wine-making:
Any wine drinker will tell you that the road to an excellent batch of wine, starts with a good batch of grapes. Grapes are not just grown with care, they are harvested with extreme care, ensuring that the best of each grape could be used to make you a good bottle of wine.
Crushing of Grapes
For years, grape crushing was a communal process, the wine grapes were collected and added to large wooden vats. People would then climb in, with naked feet and crush the grape under their feet. Today, there are automated crushers to carry out the same process. The grape juice is collected in separate barrels for fermentation, but this is the step where the process for making red wine, white wine or rosé wine actually starts:
- For Red Wine: To make red wine, grape juice as well as skin are allowed to sit together in the must. The juice then acquires the colour of the grape skin making the colour of the wine red.
- For White Wine: To make white wine, grape juice is separated immediately from the grape skin, although, white wine is made from both green as well red/purple grapes, the skin is always separated from the juice must.
- For Rosé Wine: To make rosé wine, the grape skin is allowed to sit with the must till the juice acquires a pink tinge but then the skin is separated from the must. Rosé wine is also made by mixing red and white wines, and while red and white wine are more popular forms of wine, rose wine is also very popular in the world market, especially, because rose wine shades can actually range from pale pink to deep purple, depending on how long the juice was allowed soak up the colour of the grape skin.
Fermentation Process of Grape Juice Must
Once wine must is collected, yeast is added to the must, to start the process of fermentation. A winemaker may opt for allowing ambient yeast or naturally growing yeast to mix with the grape juice must and start the fermentation process.
For white wine, yeast is needed to be added externally. The fermentation process is completed within two weeks, during this time, the yeast breaks down the sugar molecules in the must to produce carbon dioxide which is released in the atmosphere, and alcohol.
Once the fermentation process is completed, wine is symphoned off into other barrels or tanks, and kept warm till the yeast breaks down all the sugar particles. During the symphoning process grape skin are skimmed, collected, and pressed again to squeeze out any residual juices. This pressed out juice may or may not be added to the fermented wine. The addition of this pressed wine and juice, depends on the winemaker.
Once the wine has fermented completely it can be transferred to bottles and stored. However, red wine is stored in barrels where a bacterial process takes place which converts malic acid to lactic acid, this helps enhance the taste of wine.
Generally, wine matured for 3 month to 12 months tastes better and is good for consumption, unless, it has been pressed with such detail that it can be stored for years.
Different Types of Wines Available
Broadly, wine is divided into three types based on its colour namely; Red, White, and Rosé. However, each of these is also divided into subtypes. Plus, there are other types of wine based on their fermentation process like sparkling wine. In fact, the type of grape used to make the wine has more impact on wine classification because the taste comes from the grape type used. Here are a few examples of some popular wines, divided by colours, and then subdivided by type of grape used:
Every time someone is expected to think of wine, they invariably think of Red Wine, almost reflexively, that could be because Red Wine has received more media coverage, or because it was probably the most easily visible type to begin with. Here are a few very famous types of wine, based on the red wine grape used:
Pinot Noir grapes are fairly difficult to grow, thus, the wine created from these grapes are never mixed. This wine is a great mix with proteins like chicken, red meat, even salmon. In fact, this wine is a great combination for Japanese food too. It has a sweet fruity smell to it, wine drinkers claim that the smell ranges from that of strawberry to cherries, and maybe plum. The colour is rich, while taste is refreshing, yet delicate. Depending on the kind of barrel it has been stored in, the wine can also leave an aftertaste of old leather, damp earth, and tea leaves.
Merlot is the easiest of red wines to drink, in fact, new wine drinkers should begin with Merlot. It goes well with all kinds of foods. The wine grapes are grown all over the world and generally it has a more herbal fragrance.
Also, pronounced and known as Shiraz, is a spicy wine which is known to complement all kinds of meat preparations. Shiraz when stored in oak barrels can also give you out a toffee like aftertaste, however, it is popularly known for its spicy, red wine taste. Shiraz is also known for being the wine grape which can contribute to the creation of world’s finest red wines which can also be stored for longer. It is quite popular in Europe, and the grapes grow well in France.
This wine grape variety is known as the best grape variety in the world. It is grown in all parts of Europe and the red wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon is always matured in oak barrels, giving the wine a slight vanilla flavour. Cabernet Sauvignon is known to taste better with age. This wine is a good combination for red meat dishes. Back to Red Wine Benefits
White wine is generally served extremely chilled, it is believed that the flavour this wine has to offer is so delicate that any temperature change can ruin the taste and flavour of the wine. But even the temperature at which wine is chilled is supposed to carefully controlled as too cold temperatures can also ruin the flavour. In fact, white wine is supposed to be so delicate, that the even the warmth of the human hand is enough to change its flavour. Here are a few easy to recognize white wine types:
Sauvignon Blanc grapes are grown in slightly colder environment and produce a comparatively light wine. This wine pairs excellently with poultry, seafood, salads and so on. The flavour of this wine is slightly acidic and fruity, with better aged wines tasting like mangoes. If it is not stored in an oak barrel, it can also leave off a little smoky taste too.
This type of wine is more fragrant, although, it doesn’t taste as refreshing. Fragrance range of this wine can remind a person of lychee, rose, and peach. It tastes good with pork, and all types of asian dishes. This wine gives off a fruity taste.
Riesling variety is grown in Germany, making Riesling wine a popular drink in Germany. This wine is sweet and acidic at the same time and may remind people of apples. This wine is on the lighter sides of wines, and if brewed masterfully, it can taste refreshing. In fact, masterfully made Riesling wine can taste better on aging. This wine is a great pairing to wash down, chicken, and fish dishes.
Chardonnay is the probably the most popular wine of all times. Even a lay person knows the name of Chardonnay. It is best grown in France, and unoaked Chardonnay has a citrusy flavour. When this wine is kept in an oak barrel, it can also taste as toffee, vanilla or even coconut. This wine tastes good with all kinds of fish, and chicken preparations. The best quality of Chardonnay is that it can be prepared as a sparkling wine too. Back to White Wine Benefits
Pretty to look at, in fact so pretty, most would have you believe that Rosé wine was specifically designed to appease the feminine sensibilities. However, that is not the truth, in fact, Rosé is believed to be the oldest wine ever produced. While most would have you believe that Rosé can be made by mixing white and red wine, that is not the only way, depending on the type of colour, taste and the amount of tannins a winemaker wants in the rosé wine he/she can make it in three different ways, i) by allowing the must to stay with the peels long enough to absorb some colours, ii) Mixing, iii) Saignee: this method is typically used during the production of red wine. A winemaker can “bleed off” some juice from the red wine must, allowing a more intense colour for the red wine too. The “bled off” juice is then fermented to produce a darker colour of Rosé wine. Here are some common Rosé wine types:
Zinfandel is the one of the most popular rosé wine wine in the USA. Moderately sweet to taste, this wine gives off fruity flavours like green melon, strawberry, cotton candy, and lemon. It tastes best with Thai food.
Tempranillo rosé wine is popular in Spain. It is pale pink in colour, and offers a variety of flavours, like watermelon, strawberry, floral flavours, even remind some of fried chicken. This kind of wine tastes excellent with mexican food, especially, tacos.
Sangiovese is sparkling coppery red to look at and gives off sweet fruity flavours like rose, strawberry, peach, and melon. The surprise comes at the end of the mouthful, where the wine becomes acidic as well as slightly bitter. This wine tastes really nice with chicken dishes.
It is believed that the literary legend Ernest Hemingway was a fan of this wine. Tavel is rich in properties which make up for a good red wine, it is its light colour which makes it a rosé wine. It is an ideal wine for maturing, and maturing process helps the fruity notes of the wine, to become more nutty in taste. This wine is rich in alcohol content and tastes well with barbecued meat chunks, especially, breast piece of red meat. Back to Rosé Wine Benefits
Easy Homemade Wine Recipe:
Remember our beer article and how easy it was to make beer at home? Homemade wine making is anything but easy, it is almost a 1.25 year long process, and may require some inexpensive, as well as expensive equipments, not to mention, at all points, you as a winemaker need to maintain a high level of cleanliness with the equipments. If you have infinite patience, you may end up with a fine fruit of your love and labour that you can proudly boast about and enjoy with your friends. Here is a recipe for homemade wine:
The Easy Way to Make Wine at Home:
|20 litre plastic bucket with lid- 1 unit||Water (Filtered): As per need|
|5 litre glass containers with airtight lids- 3 units||Wine Yeast|
|Funnel- 1 unit (make sure it fits the mouth of glass containers)||Wine Grapes|
|Rubber corks as per need||Sugar (Granulated): If required|
|½ inch tubing (plastic): 6 feet||Time for Fermentation: 8-10 days|
|Wine bottles: 15- 20||Time for cleaning residues: 3-6 months|
|Hand corker (available online): 1||Time for maturation (Red Wine): 12 months|
|Nylon mesh straining bag: 1 unit||Time for maturation (White Wine): 6 months|
|Hydrometer: 1 unit|
Step by step guide for making wine at home.
- Sterilize your equipment before use.
- Sift through your grapes, throwing out the rotten ones, along with the stems of the grapes, and then wash the remaining grapes well.
- Now, add the grapes to the bucket and start crushing them. You can crush the grapes with your hand, or go old school and use your feet to crush the grapes.
- Once grapes are crushed, add activated wine yeast to the grape juice.
- Before covering the must with a cloth to facilitate the process of fermentation, use the hydrometer by inserting it into the must. If the reading is less than 1.010, dissolve some granulated sugar in filtered or RO water, and add the mixture into the must and mix well.
- Now, cover the bucket with a piece of clean cloth and allow it to ferment. The wine will be fermented, ideally within 7-10 days.
- Once the fermentation is completed, skim off the froth and peels on top (if there are any), otherwise, add the nylon mesh on top of the funnel, which is added to the five litre container. Pass the fermented must through the filter into the sterilized glass jars, fill the jars to the very end.
- Tightly shut the lids and allow the must to ferment further. Ideally, the entire period would take 3-6 months of fermentation. During this period, filter the must every few weeks, to remove sediments from the wine.
- At the end of six month, siphon off the wine into wine bottles, leave an inch from the top, and cover the mouth of the wine bottle with a cork.
- Leave the wine bottle in a vertical position for 3 days, after which you can lay the bottle down and store it, ideally at 13 degree celsius temperature.
- Let the wine age, it will take red wine 12 months, and white wine almost 6 months to age.
Basics of Understanding Wine
Have you ever visited a winery or attended a wine tasting where people have talked about the body of wine, its texture, and so on, and you have felt completely clueless about what they were saying? Have you wondered exactly, which characteristic makes wine dry? Well, here are the five basic things to pay attention before picking your bottle of wine:
The body of wine is the story of the wine, its journey from its place of origin to your glass. The body of wine is visible on how it sits on your glass, it depends on its colour, the type of wine grapes used to produce it, its maturity, alcohol content, and most importantly, the body reflects on the process of preparation.
Sweetness of a wine, inversely affects its dryness. However, most dry wines do have some sugar in them. So, how do we judge whether a wine is sweet or not. When you take a sip of your wine, taste it from the front tip of your tongue, our sweetness receptors are located in this part of the tongue. If the front of your tongue tingles, then the wine is sweet. Other indicators could be the presence of a clear liquid on the side of your glass, this clear liquid is also known as wine tears. Wine tears are indicative of sugar in alcohol. A third indicator could be that the wine leaves an oily taste in the middle of your tongue.
Generally, wine contains 11%- 13% alcohol, however, the broader range of alcohol content in wine could be anywhere between 5%-20%. Interestingly, did you know that how an individual tastes alcohol depends on his/her genetics? Well, heredity aside, there are other indicators by which we can ascertain the alcohol content in our wines.
- Every alcoholic drink has one thing in common, it warms up the back of our throat. This warm sensation on the back of our throats is an indicators of alcohol content.
- Wines with higher alcohol content may taste more bitter or alcohol rich, even oily. However, identifying this indicator takes time.
We have been discussing tannins for a while, without explaining what tannins are. Tannins are basically polyphenols present on grape skin, which not just contains more healthy nutrients, it also makes your wine bitter. In fact, tannins don’t just have a bitter taste, they also give off a drying up sensation in the mouth. If your mouth feels like it has dried out after sipping on your wine, then it is high in tannins.
Acidity is defined by the tartness of a drink, most commonly, acidity of wine is confused with its alcoholic content but here is how you can determine the acidity of your wine. When you take a sip, pay attention to the front and sides of your tongue, these portions are our sourness/tartness receptors, if these bits tingle, then its an indication of acidity. Additionally, it is possible that you are reminded of the taste of a green apple while tasting the wine.
ABC’s of Wine Tasting
Wine tasting is an art in itself, but more than art there is a specific science attached to wine tasting. Each type of wine tastes different, and one needs certain amount of experience as well as technique to develop their on palette, here are some steps to wine tasting:
Step 1: Pouring Wine for Taste
This step is important and often forgotten, wine is never sploshed on the glass directly. In fact, the glass should be tilted and placed just near the mouth of the bottle for that the wine flows gracefully into the glass. For tasting, not more than two mouthfuls of wine should be served. Once the wine is poured in a glass, the taster, should swirl it once before inspecting it.
Step 2: Look
This is a quick step, in most places, swirling the wine is what constitutes looking at it. While looking at the wine, pay attention to its colour, its density, if it leaves tears or not and so on. To a connoisseur, the first look of the wine can speak volumes about its age, maturity, in fact, an expert can even form a rough idea about the taste of the wine from just its look.
Step 3: Smell
Once you have swirled the wine in the glass, tip the stem of your wine glass towards your nose and take a deep breath in. Notice the aromas that hit you and try to differentiate between them, primary aromas would be herbal, floral, or fruity. With secondary and tertiary aromas being of nuts, coconut, roasted vanilla, beer, and so on.
Step 4: Taste
Once you have taken in the aroma, take a sip of the wine and swirl it in your mouth. Pay attention to your taste receptors and see what gets activated, how dry your mouth feels, and how warm the back of your throat gets. While tasting, also pay attention to the texture of the wine, and once you have gulped down the sip, pay attention to the aftertaste.
Step 5: Conclude
This is where you develop a palette which is uniquely yours. Do you like sweet wine or dry wine? Do you like aged wine? What kind of balance are you looking for in your wine? What kind of food are you trying to pair with this wine? Not everyone likes the same kind of wine, your palette is yours to build.
Recipes with Wine:
Wine is not just a great drink, it can also contribute to the preparation of some truly heavenly dishes. We have picked some recipes for you, and divided them according to the popular wine types. If you have any more suggestions on recipes, please share the same in the comments:
Recipes with Red Wine
Red Wine is a house favourite for making several dishes, here are a few recipes made from red wine:
Mushroom Risotto with Red Wine
We are trying to curate a range of dishes, to appeal to all our readers, which also include people who prefer vegetarian food. Mushroom risotto is a great vegetarian dish, even when it used certain non-vegetarian ingredients, we have mentioned alternatives for all ingredients, making it an easy dish to make at home.
1 Cup Arborio Rice (alternatives: Basmati rice and Brown rice) Prep Time: 5-10 Mins.
5 Cups Chicken Stock (alternative: Vegetable Stock) Cook Time: 40 Mins.
¾ Cup Red Wine Serves: 1-2
250 gms Mushrooms 4-5 cloves of garlic (crushed or turned into paste)
¾ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (Use normal cheese cubes/cheese spread, if parmesan cheese is not available) Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Finely Chopped Onion 1-2 Tbsp White Butter (or unsalted butter)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil (Extra Virgin) 2 Tbsp Chopped Parsley (alternatively, use coriander leaves)
- Heat up the chicken stock, and let it simmer. Take it off heat and keep warm.
- Add olive oil, in a large saucepan and heat.
- Once the oil is heated, add onion and cook till its softened.
- Now add rice, mix well. Now add wine and stir till all the wine is absorbed by the rice.
- Once the wine is absorbed, add a cup of chicken stock and stir till it is absorbed.
- Keep repeating the process with half cups of chicken stock till all the stock is used up. Remember that the next cup of stock should be added, only when the previous cup has been completely absorbed.
- Keep tasting the rice, it is cooked when it becomes al-dente. If you are using brown rice or basmati rice, you may need to adjust your stock quantity accordingly.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the rice is done, it would appear as if it is coated in a creamy sauce.
- As you cook your risotto, simultaneously, use a separate pan to heat some butter, and add the garlic and mushrooms and stir well.
- Add salt and pepper according to taste, in the mushrooms and keep stirring for 10 minutes, till the mushroom is cooked and the water dried off.
- Now add the cooked mushroom, cheese, and parsley to the risotto and mix well.
- Serve hot.
Grilled Fish in Red Wine Sauce
Any kind of meat or seafood paired with the right wine can taste heavenly. However, there is a certain love between wine and meat, as there are scores of dishes that are made in wine sauce. Here is an easy to make seafood and wine recipe:
600 gms of Boneless Fish Fillet (Mahi Mahi, Black Cod, Surmai and so on, basically sea water fish, which offer more meat than bones) Prep Time: 5-10 Mins.
1 ½ Cups of Red Wine Cook Time: 16- 17 Mins.
1 Tbsp White Miso Paste (alternatively use 1 Tbsp Fish Sauce, or Soy sauce) Serves: 2-3
1 Stick of White Butter (unsalted) 3-4 Tbsp Garlic Paste (alternatively you can use the mince of a large shallot or pink onion)
¼ Tsp Soy Sauce Salt and Pepper to taste
5-6 Cups of Lettuce 1-2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
- In a saucepan, heat up wine and garlic paste. Keep cooking till the wine content has reduced to approximately ¼ of a cup. It should ideally take 10 minutes to reduce the wine desirably.
- Now, take the saucepan off heat and add a small cube of the butter, and take it back on heat and stir, till the butter is mixed. Keep repeating the process, till all the cubes of butter are dissolves into the sauce and the sauce gets a creamy texture.
- Now, remove the pan from heat one final time, add the miso paste, and soy sauce, and whisk thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste, mix well and keep the sauce aside.
- If you have an electronic grill or oven, coat the grill plates with oil, and preheat the plates. If you have an open grill, start the coals before you begin making the sauce, and if you have a grill pan, brush the pan with oil and . Brush some oil on the fish fillets and add them to the grill. Cook the fish on high heat, flipping the fillet once, so that both sides are a little charred.
- Now in a separate frying pan, crackle 1 tsp cooking oil, add the lettuce leaves and saute for less than half a minute.
- Add the lettuce leaves on a plate, place the grilled fish fillet on top and serve with sauce.
Grilled Lamb in Coffee-Red Wine Sauce
Higher meats and red wine mix like a house on fire. So, here is to a heart filling, exquisite dish.
|8-10 Lamb Chops||Prep Time: 30 Mins.|
|⅓ Cup Black Coffee||Cook Time: 60-65 Mins.|
|⅓ Cup Red Wine (dry, if possible)||Serves: 4-5|
|2 Tsp Chilli Powder||1 ½ Tbsp Tomato Puree|
|24-30 Sambhar Onions/ Small Onions (Whole)||Salt|
|2-3 Pinches of Crushed Cinnamon||1-2 Tbsp White Butter (or unsalted butter)|
|2-3 Tbsp Cooking Oil||1 Tsp Ground Black Pepper|
|⅔ Cup of Chicken/Mutton Stock|
- Add lamb chops, black pepper, cinnamon, and red chilli powder. Mix till all pieces are coated. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- In a pot, boil some water and salt, and add the onions to the water and boil for 2-5 minutes. Remove from heat, and strain the onions.
- After 30 minutes, add some cooking oil to a frying pan and heat it, simultaneously, rub some salt on the lamb chops.
- Once the oil is heated, add the lamb chops to the pan. Keep cooking the mutton on low to medium heat, till all the water has evaporated and the lamb chops start cooking in their own fat.
- Add the strained onions to the pan with the lamb chops and stir.
- Now, if you have an electric grill or grill pan, or grill, get it going. Brush it with some oil and pre-heat it.
- Once the onions are done, remove them from the frying pan, cover them with foil and keep them aside. Take the lamb and add it to the grill, and grill slowly, occasionally turning the lamb chop.
- Add red wine to the still hot frying pan, and put it back on heat, allowing the red wine to boil, stir continuously to intermix the residual flavour of the lamb.
- Once the wine is boiled, add the chicken/mutton stock and stir gently.
- Now add the coffee and the tomato puree and keep stirring. Let this sauce boil and reduce till it is just ¾ of a cup.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and add the butter, stirring gently and without break. Add salt, and pepper and mix well.
- Once the lamb chops are grilled through, plate them up, add the onions and coat the lamb chops with the sauce.
- Serve hot with any salad and/or mashed potatoes.
Chocolate Cake with Red Wine
This cake is not too sweet, it isn’t completely boozy either, but it has its flavours in the right place.
|2 Cups of Flour||Prep Time: 40 Mins.|
|¾ Cups of Cooking Oil or molten white butter||Cook Time: 45 Mins.|
|1 ¼ Cup Red Wine (dry, if possible)||Serves: 4-5|
|2 Pinches of Salt||¾ Cup of Cocoa Powder|
|1 ¾ Cups of Sugar (powdered or granulated)||2 Eggs|
|1 ¼ Tsp Baking Powder||1-2 Tbsp White Butter (or unsalted butter)|
|1 Tbsp Vanilla Essence||1 Bar of Dark Chocolate|
- In a bowl add flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt and mix well.
- In another bowl add sugar and oil/butter and whisk till the sugar is dissolved and the mixture looks light and frothy.
- In this frothy mixture, add one egg and beat till it is completely mixed. Now repeat the process with the other egg.
- Add vanilla essence and mix well.
- Now, slowly add the dry mixture and red wine to this frothy mix and fold the ingredients in till you have a smooth paste.
- Preheat an oven at 375 degrees, and brush oil, as well as dust a baking dish
- Pour the batter in the baking dish.
- Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Keep checking on the cake after 30 minutes. Use a toothpick to prick the cake, if it comes back clean, your cake is done. Alternatively, if you have a cake option on your pre-set menu, you can use that.
- Once the cake is done, allow it to set for 10 minutes inside the oven.
- In those ten minutes, heat water in a pan, add a glass bowl on top of the heating water (double boiler method), break the chocolate bar into pieces and add it to this glass bowl. Stir vigorously and continuously, till a smooth and shiny liquid chocolate is achieved.
- Take the cake out of the oven and mould, pour this molten chocolate on top and spread over the surface of cake evenly.
- Decorate with fresh seasonal fruits like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, even mango. You can serve it hot or cold.
Recipes with White Wine
White wine is a favourite with cooks, especially if they are making chicken dishes. Here are a few white wine dishes:
Spaghetti in Garlic-White Wine Sauce
When one thinks of spaghetti, one automatically thinks of spaghetti-bolognaise with large meatballs and red sauce, but spaghetti is so much more than that. Here is an off beat recipe for your spaghetti:
|500 gms of Spaghetti||Prep Time: 10-15 Mins.|
|4 Tbsp Olive Oil||Cook Time: 25- 30 Mins.|
|½ Cup White Wine (Preferably dry)||Serves: 4-5|
|1 ¼ Tbsp Garlic Paste||30 ml Lemon Juice|
|500 gms Small Prawns (deveined and deshelled)||½ Cup of Parmesan Cheese (grated)|
|⅓ Cup of Chopped Parsley (or Coriander Leaves)||1-2 Tbsp of Lemon Zest|
|1-2 Tsp Chilli Flakes||10-12 Sundried Tomatoes (split in halves)|
|½ Tsp Crushed Peppercorns||Salt to Taste|
- Before you start anything, fill ¾ of a large with water, add oil, cover it and set it to boil.
- Once the water boils, lower the temperature and gently add the spaghetti in the water. Occasionally stir the spaghetti gently. After 5 minutes of cooking the pasta, keep checking the spaghetti, take the pot off heat as soon as the spaghetti is al dente.
- Strain the spaghetti and set aside, mix some olive oil in the spaghetti to prevent them from sticking together.
- In a frying pan, add 2 Tbsp olive oil, garlic paste and chilli powder and saute for 1-2 minutes, before adding prawns, white wine, 2 tbsp olive oil, and lemon juice and cook at medium flame till all the liquid is reduced to half its quantity, and the prawns are thoroughly cooked.
- Add ¼ cup of water (or prawn/chicken stock), lemon zest, parsley, into the pan and cook till the liquid has reduced to ½ of its quantity.
- Add the spaghetti and stir quickly, coating the spaghetti with sauce. Add salt and pepper and stir well.
- Toss in sundried tomatoes and parmesan and mix well.
- Serve hot.
Chicken Florentine is a beautiful chicken dish, here is an easy recipe for the same:
|500 gms Chicken Breast (Cut into steaks)||Prep Time: 10-15 Mins.|
|2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil||Cook Time: 15-20 Mins.|
|½ Cup White Wine (Preferably dry)||Serves: 4-5|
|1 ¼ Tsp Garlic (roughly chopped/crushed)||8-10 Mushrooms (Diced)|
|2 Cups Spinach (Chopped)||¼ Cup Chicken Stock|
|5-8 Tbsp Cream Cheese||1-2 Slices of Lemon|
|¾ Cup Cream||Salt to Taste|
|½ Tsp Crushed Peppercorns|
- In a bowl add the chicken breasts, salt and pepper and mix well, such that the salt and pepper are well rubbed into the breasts.
- In another pot, add some hot water, add the diced mushrooms and let it soften for 10 minutes.
- Now, heat some oil, add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook till the outer skin become golden brown. Use a fork to check if the breast pieces have been cooked inside. Once the chicken is cooked, remove the steaks from the pan, and cover them with aluminium foil to keep them warm.
- Now, add 1 tsp olive oil in the pan, add garlic to the pan and cook till garlic is golden brown.
- Once the garlic is golden brown, take the pan off heat and add the wine. Now put the pan back on heat and allow the wine to boil.
- Once the wine has reduced a little, add spinach, along with some chicken stock and cook, till the liquid has reduced and the spinach leaves have wilted.
- Now, add mushroom and cook for a while, before adding the cream cheese.
- Mix the cream cheese well. Once the liquid starts reducing, add cream and mix well, allow the mixture to simmer.
- You can control the amount of sauce you want, once you have the desired amount, add the chicken pieces, some salt and pepper and coat the chicken with the sauce well.
- Alternatively, you can also, take the sauce off heat, let it cool, add it to a mixture and create a thick paste which you can then serve by slicing the chicken steak in half and adding the sauce there.
- Serve hot, with grilled vegetables, and pasta with cream.
Chicken in White Wine Sauce
|800 gms of chicken with bones||Prep Time: 20 Mins.|
|2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil||Cook Time: 60-75 Mins.|
|1 Onion (diced)||Serves: 6-8|
|1 Carrot (diced)||1 Cup Celery Sticks (Diced)|
|1 Tsp each of Thyme, Marjoram, Oregano, and Rosemary (Crushed and mixed)||2-3 Cups Chicken Stock|
|1-2 Bay Leaved||3-4 Cloves of Garlic (Finely chopped)|
|1 Cup White Wine (Dry)||2-3 Tbsp Flour|
|¼ Cup of Cream||Black Pepper Powder and Salt to Taste|
- In a bowl add chicken pieces, salt, and pepper and mix well, till each side of the chicken pieces are ribbed well with salt and pepper.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a deep dish or pot. Allow the oil to sizzle/crackle then add the chicken pieces. Cook the chicken for 10-12 minutes, allowing each side to cook for 5-6 minutes, before turning them. Take the chicken out once it starts looking golden brown and cover the chicken pieces with foil.
- Add another tbsp olive oil into the dish. Add onions and cook till it starts taking a golden colour. Now add garlic and allow it to get a golden glint before adding the carrot and celery. Cook till the vegetables are tender.
- Once the vegetables are cooked, add the wine and let the it boil, till the wine is reduced to half its quantity.
- Mix flour and chicken broth and ensure that no lumps are left. Add this mix to the pot, along with the mixed spices, and bay leaves.
- Let the mixture boil before adding chicken to the mixture.
- Once you have added the chicken to the gravy, reduce the flames to low, cover the pot and cook for 40 minutes. Keep stirring the chicken occasionally to scrape off the good parts from the bottom. Add more stock if you feel you need to.
- Once the chicken is cooked and tender, remove the pot from heat and add the cream, mix well. Add in salt and pepper.
- Serve hot.
White Wine & Watermelon Slurpee
|4-5 Cups of Watermelon (Cubes)||Prep Time: 20 Mins.|
|1 Bottle White Wine||Cook Time: 3 hours|
|2-3 Tbsp Lemon Juice||Serves: 6-8|
|2-3 Tbsp Sugar||Mint leaves (sprigs)|
- Add watermelon cubes in a ziplock bag, and allow them to freeze for 2 hours.
- Now, add the frozen cubes into a blender along with sugar, wine, and lemon juice. And blend.
- Now place the blended mix in a ziplock bag again and freeze for one hour.
- Take the ziplock out of the freezer, squish it gently, and serve in small glasses. Decorate with mint sprigs.
Recipes with Rosé Wine:
Rosé wine may taste curious but it makes an excellent base for several dishes. Here are a few recipes for the same:
Rosé wine and Peach Sangria
How can a discussion about wine be complete without discussing even one recipe for Sangria? Here is a simple Sangria recipe.
|1 Bottle Rosé wine (Preferably chilled)||Prep Time: 15- 20 Mins.|
|4-5 Tbsp Peach Schnapps (Or Peach Syrup)||Cook Time: 60 Mins.|
|2 Cups of Soda Water||Serves: 6-8|
|1 Cup Cherries (or Raspberries)||¼ Cup of Brandy|
|1 Cup Peach Slices|
- Add wine, brandy, peach schnapps, peach slices, cherries, and soda water in a mixer and shake well. Taste the mix, if you need it to be sweeter, add more schnapps or sugar syrup.
- Once everything is mixed well, transfer everything in a pitcher.
- Place the pitcher in a refrigerator and chill for one hour, so that even the peach slices and cherries absorb the flavour of the wine.
- Serve chilled.
Grilled Fish and Rosé wine Mayonnaise
Fish and wine have been made for each other. Here is another recipe for fish and wine.
|500 gms of Boneless Fish Fillet Steaks||Prep Time: 15- 20 Mins.|
|¾ Cup of Mayonnaise||Cook Time: 60 Mins.|
|6-8 Tbsp Lemon Juice||Serves: 6-8|
|1 ½ Lemons’ Zest||3 Tbsp Garlic Paste|
|¼ Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil||1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar (Or Apple Cider Vinegar)|
|¾ Cup of Rosé wine||Salt, and crushed peppercorn to taste|
- In a bowl add, 2 tbsp lemon juice, oil, ½ a lemon’s zest, some salt and pepper and mix well.
- Now add the fish steaks the bowl and coat the steaks completely.
- Brush grill racks with olive oil, if you have an electric grill, brush the grill plates with olive oil. Once the grill rack or the grill plates are heated up, add the fish fillets and grill them thoroughly.
- In a saucepan, simmer the wine, until it has reduced to about 2-3 tbsp.
- Now, in a bowl, add mayonnaise, remaining lemon juice, and zest, wine, garlic paste, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper and whisk till everything is mixed well into a smooth paste.
- Serve the fish hot with the mayonnaise, and some fresh green salad, and a glass of the Rosé wine you just used to make your mayonnaise.
Lamb in Rosé wine Sauce
Lamb and wine are again a match made in heaven. Here is a great mutton and rosé wine recipe.
|500 gms of Boneless Lamb (Cut in Cubes)||Prep Time: 15- 20 Mins.|
|200 gms of Baby Brinjal (Cut in half from the middle)||Cook Time: 60 Mins.|
|100 gms of Baby Carrots (Peeled)||Serves: 4-5|
|2 Tbsp Rosemary||1 Zucchini (Thin Slices)|
|100 gms of Baby Corn (Cleaned and Sliced through the middle)||1 Tbsp Corn Flour (Made into Paste)|
|¾ Cup of Rosé Wine||Salt, and crushed peppercorn to taste|
|1 ¼ Cups of Lamb or Chicken Stock||10-12 Cloves of Garlic (Peeled, and Crushed)|
|Creme Fraiche (whisk buttermilk, and cream)||1 Red Pepper (Diced)|
- Heat oil in a bowl, and add sugar. Let the sugar cook till it caramelizes, and rises up.
- Add the lamb, sprinkle some salt, and fry the lamb. Let it lose water, and cook till the water is dried out, so that the meat is cooked thoroughly.
- Now add some more oil, and zucchini, baby corn, pepper, and brinjals into the pot and cook.
- Once the vegetables are softened, add the rosemary, wine, lamb stock, garlic, corn flour paste, salt, and pepper and boil, till the paste thickens.
- Take the pot off heat, add the creme fraiche, stir well.
- Serve hot with garlic bread or mashed potatoes.
Rosé wine & Raspberry Cake
Wine cakes are amazing to taste, especially Rosé Wine which is known as the cake wine.
|2 Cups of Flour||Prep Time: 15- 20 Mins.|
|1 Tsp Baking Powder||Cook Time: 45 Mins.|
|½ Cup Cooking Oil||Serves: 4-5|
|1 Cup Granulated Sugar||½ Cup of Rosé Wine|
|1 Cup Raspberries||2 Eggs|
|1 Tsp Vanilla Extract||1 Pinch salt|
- Pass flour and baking powder through a sieve and keep it in a separate bowl.
- In another bowl, add some granulated sugar, oil, and wine and whisk till it is mixed well and bubbly.
- Now add and fold one egg at a time into the mix.
- Add the flour and baking powder, and whisk continuously, till we have a smooth paste.
- Now, add the raspberries to the mix and whisk once.
- Now, brush the baking dish with oil and dust it with some flour.
- Pour the mix in the baking dish.
- Preheat the oven at 375 degrees, now put the baking dish in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Alternatively, if you have a preset menu for baking a cake, you can use it and keep checking the cake.
- Once the cake is done, allow it to set in the oven for 10 minutes, before transferring it to a plate.
- Dust with some powdered sugar and serve, with some vanilla ice cream.
The French Paradox
The “French Paradox” came into fashion in the 1990s. It was first reported in 1992, and was used to describe a medical anomaly. Since then, the name has become popular to describe the phenomenon, where the french people have a rich diet, but very low instances of coronary heart disorders. The phenomena is unusual, especially, because the french diet is rich with cheese. There have been many researches conducted to understand the paradox. These tests led researchers to believe that the resveratrol in the wine helps prevent heart diseases.
Polyphenols also play a role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases in people. However, other researchers have also pointed out, that the overall french diet, as well as approach to meals and the number of meals a day, along with exercise contributes to the prevention of Coronary Heart Disease in individuals.
Wine History & Facts:
The oldest winery in the world are said to be 6100 years old, and found in caves called “Areni-1” in Armenia. Researchers have found evidence of wine in the remains from these caves, along with seeds of Vitis Vinifera. However, wine has been a part of several ancient religions and cultures. In fact, before the Areni cave was found we still had evidence of wine-making from several ancient cultures like the Chinese, Greek, and Egyptians.
While the payment of beer as salary for work is a more famous instance of Egyptians appreciating a good drink, wine had a ceremonial place in Egypt. The Nile Delta was home to a thriving wine industry, which was patronised by the Egyptian royalty. The Egyptians, under the patronship of the Pharaoh and his family, also worked on wine grape cultivation. In fact, an interesting piece of trivia states that ancient Egyptians called red wine “Shedeh” or the blood of the ancestors who had fallen in war and desisted from drinking it, believing that the drink addles the brains and makes the drinker intoxicated and violent. However, Shedeh, was still a very valued drink in Egypt. Because of this Egyptian outlook towards red wine, it was popularly believed that the ancient egyptians only brewed red wine, however, the excavation of remains from the boy-king Tutankhamun’s tomb presents proof of vats of white wine which were buried with the king. Historians are not yet clear about whether the ancient Egyptians brewed white wine themselves, or attained it through trade, but apparently, white wine was so precious that it was only used as a send off for the royalty.
Seeing their reverence for wine, one would believe that the ancient Egyptians, were somehow connected to the modern wine practices. However, there was an ancient culture, which loved and worshipped wine much more than ancient Egyptians. The ancient Greeks, had not just one but two Gods, assigned to the task of winemaking and drinking, along with several minor supernatural powers who were concerned with winemaking, and drinking. In fact, the modern wine practices have been directly inspired from the love the Greeks had for their wine. “Retsina” which was brewed by coating the lining of wine jugs with tree resins were Greek favourites, as the tree resin gave the wine a distinct flavour. Records have also been found in ancient Greek and Chinese outlining the production of wine from different types of elements like rice.
The Romans took winemaking one step ahead, and promoted it as an art, inspiring people to grow their own grapes and brew their own wines. This led to wine being a daily part of the Roman diet. In fact, it is because wine was their daily habit, that several key winemaking hotspots emerged during the Roman times, and these hotspots are still known for their fine wine culture. In a thousand years, the Roman wine culture had grown and become so robust that the then emperor of Rome, Domitian passed the first wine laws to curb the number of vineyards as well as control the incidences of widespread alcoholism
In fact, wine was considered a sacred drink in all ancient cultures, to be had ceremonially, with specific Gods, sub-gods, even spirits assigned to the task of winemaking and drinking. In fact, wine drinking is one of those traditions which were carried on from the pagan religions to the prophetic religions and the practices continue to this day. The Christians to this day drink red wine as a symbolic representation of Christ’s blood, and his ultimate sacrifice for mankind. Jews also practice a ritualistic consumption of wine, even the Muslims used wine for the purpose of alchemy and perfume production.
It is still unclear if the Armenian was any good in the ancient world, however, records from the ancient world rave about Persian wine, which was supposed to be the best. In fact, the Apadana Palace has carvings in its audience hall, which depict conquered soldiers bringing wine as a befitting king for the King of Persia.
Wine production only increased by the middle ages, in fact, it became a drink for all social classes in the southern parts of Europe, which was also engaged in cultivating wine grapes. However, in other parts of Europe, wine started becoming associated with privilege and class, as wine was expensive, it became an indicative divider among classes, with the lower classes opting for the easily available beer and ale and the privileged upper classes opting for wine. It is indeed interesting to see how important wine was for the church. The expensive rates of wine made it clear to the church that buying wine would be a stress on their budget, but wine was also important for masses, thus, monks started growing wine grapes, along with brewing their own wine. To this day, the Benedictine monks are famous for being the biggest group of wine producers in both Germany and France. The Cistercians, come to a close second with the Benedictine Monks.
Another interesting feature during the middle ages is the understanding of wine as a medicinal drink. Snake stones were generally mixed with wine to help people suffering from snake bites. In fact, records from scholars have shown a very clear cataloging of wines, making it easier for academics to study them.
Wine culture continued growing with the growth of Europe, the advent of industrial revolution and the expansion of European countries int colonies. The colonization of the rest of the world, provided europeans with more land and different varieties of grapes to experiment winemaking with and the industrial revolution led to the mechanisation of wine production, giving birth to a wine industry which catered to the world.
History of Wine In India:
While the first recorded description of wine made of grapes comes from the accounts of Chanakya, who was the chief minister in Chandragupta Maurya’s court. Chandragupta Maurya, the emperor who established the Mauryan empire, and etched the Maurya dynasty into the history of India, is said to have a fine love for the wine, and his court frequently gave into this indulgence, the wine was called “Madhu”. However, recorded history is not the only source of gaining an insight into India’s past with wine. Indian, or rather Hindu mythology is riddles with drinks called Sura, or Somaras which the Gods are partial too. Myths like the churning of the great sea, describe Vishnu turning into a beautiful woman and feeding wine to the Asuras to intoxicate them into compliance.
In some parts, it is believed that when Durga first appeared in front of Mahishasura soldiers, she was drinking wine, and she had drank so much wine, that her lips were stained red with it. Other myths talk about the end of Krishna’s blood clan, the Yadavas, who got drunk on wine, and killed each other in order to prove their strength against each other. In fact, there have been accounts of Krishna sharing a cup of wine with his Jambavati, or Rama sharing wine with Sita after his coronation. These types of locally made fruit wines have been called Sura or Soma and have been known as the drinks for the courts of kings, as well as deities.
This status quo for wine consumption was followed for a long time, making wine the privileged drink of the nobility or the Kshatriya caste, while the lower castes were allowed to drink alcoholic beverages made of millet, or barley, or wheat.
There have been accounts of the emperors of the Delhi Sultanate and their love for wine. It is believed that Alauddin Khilji loved his wine, and served them during feasts and festivals, however, the Sultan banned wine, and publicly broke his jars of wine to curb revolts against him. The Mughal court banned the use of wine from its courts in accordance with the Islamic laws, however, it is believed that Jahangir loved brandy wine.
With the entrance of the Portuguese in Goa, Indian wine industry rose, the Portuguese introduced the still popular port wine, along with other types of wine. The british further took the wine production to the rest of Europe. In fact, the British, encouraged the Indian wine industry, as it would give them easy access to wine. Indian wine industry rose to its peak, after Indian wine was met with favourable response at the Calcutta International Exhibition of 1883. However, the later years of the 19th century saw the destruction of wine grape crops because of the phylloxera epidemic. This epidemic setback the Indian wine industry by leaps and measures, as most of Indian vineyards were destroyed.
The Indian wine industry struggled to get to its feet since then. Among the several hindrances to its growth, the largest hindrance was the religious influences cultural outlook towards wine, which saw all alcoholic beverages including wine as sinful. However, b the 1980s, the Indian wine industry started making a comeback as the Tonia Groups of industries collaborated with French winemakers to create more elite kind of wines. Several other vineries have been opened over the years, among them a famous brand is Sula, which also runs a functional wine estate, where guests could stay and learn all about the winemaking business.
Gods of Wine:
We have covered nearly 10,000 words in understanding and appreciating wine. It would be a travesty for wine to have such a lengthy and influential history and no representation in the pantheon of Gods of different cultures. Here are a few Gods of wine:
To understand exactly what Acan represents, one needs to understand a couple of things about the Mayans: a) The Mayans had Gods which represented the farming seasons, this is how they developed their famous calendars, b) In a pantheon of over a hundred Gods, some Gods were interdependent and related to each other. Acan is one such God, any mention of Acan cannot be complete without understanding the God of bees, Ah-Muzen-Cab. The Mayans were bee farmers, and thus, are responsible for probably creating one of the first cocktails on Earth, this drink is known as “Balche” and was made of honey wine and tree bark. Acan is called the God of intoxication. Acan is also believed to be the God of Wine, and the God of Balche, making his name mean Belch. Agreed, that fermented honey wine is not the traditional wine made of grapes, especially considering that Spaniards were the first to introduce wine grapes to the Mayans, however, wine can be made of several other elements including local fruits and elements available. The one thing common between grape wine and honey wine is that they are both said to have medicinal properties, and were used for the same purpose. Especially, giving a person a hallucinative high. Now, one may argue that Balche, could have been Beer too, however, tests have revealed, that Balche is different from beer. It is alcoholic, but it has medicinal properties too.
The battle of Salamis is an iconic battle, which took place in 480 BC, and it changed the politics of Greek, giving rise to Greek heroes, a Greek alliance, and marking the loss of the Persian king, Xerxes. It is believed that the Amphictyons of Thermopylae met at Anthela and worshipped the goddess Demeter, offering her sacrifices. In fact, Demeter in this part of Greece took the name “Amphictyonis” to honour the people who had worshipped her brought her sacrifices. After the war of Salamis, the General Council of Amphictyonians convened to decide the fate of the Greek nations that did not stand with the league against the Persian onslaught, as well the structure of general council and its smooth running. The general council’s patron goddess was Amphictyonis, or Demeter who is also known as the goddess of wine.
Dionysus is by far the most popular God of wine in the Greek pantheon of Gods. Dionysus is depicted with a crown of grape vines adorning his head, making him the God of the entire process of wine making, even the first winemaker in Greek mythology, along with the God of ecstasy, good times, and fertility. Dionysus’ cult encourage binge consumption of wine, as a step to be closer to the drunk God himself. There are several origin stories for Dionysus, in some places, he is even considered as a foreign God, who entered the Greek pantheon from the Asiatic pantheon of Gods, however, which Asian country he emerged from is still unclear. On the other hand, it is believed that Dionysus was the child of Zeus and a mortal woman, and when Hera found out about Zeus’ fascination with a mortal woman, she became so angry, even Zeus couldn’t implicate her. To protect Dionysus, Zeus hid Dionysus some believe he hid him with spirits who were guardian of grape vines, while others believe he was hidden as a woman in a grape farm. During his years in hiding, Dionysus became a skilled winemaker and joined the pantheon of the major 12 deities because his impressive wine making skills won over Zeus.
Dionysus is also known as a compassionate God, as is depicted in Midas’ story, where Dionysus, helps Midas get rid of his golden touch once the latter realises his mistake and begs the Gods to rid him of his curse. Another example of the Dionysus’ compassion is depicted in his protection of Anius’ three daughters called the “Oenotropae”.
The Oenotropae were three sisters, whose name literally meant women who can change into wine or change substances into wine. The three sisters are minor goddesses, with the first sister being Spermo or the goddess of grain, Elais, or the goddess of oil, and Oeno or the goddess of wine. Some myths believe that the sisters were descendants of Dionysus himself, while others believe that the three were Dionysus’ priestesses, and the God was so impressed with their devotion that he awarded him the magical touch, enabling them to turn anything they touched into grain, oil or wine.
It is further believed that sympathising with Menelaus’ plight, the three sisters helped the king by stocking his ships with food, oil, and wine. However, Agamemnon, Menelaus’ elder became greedy and kidnapped the three women, keeping them prisoners and a ready source for abundant food for the army. The sisters escaped their imprisonment, but were soon captured because of the treachery of their brother, seeing the sister’s plight and pleas for help, Dionysus, converted the sisters into white doves and helped them escape.
It is believed that the cult of Dionysus travelled far and wide, teaching winemaking to the rest of the world, and reached the Indian city of Nysa, where the cult thrived and was later discovered by Alexander. Alexander himself believed that the Indian city of Nysa was touched and blessed by Dionysus himself.
The Roman equivalent of Dionysus is known as Bacchus and while the Romans were more military focused in their approach, stripping Dionysus of his patronship of the theatre, they were equally passionate about wine, making Bacchus one of the major deities in the Roman pantheon of Gods.
The Japanese worship spirits, which represent the elements found in nature. These spirits could also be expressions of naturally occurring phenomenon, or ancestors. These spirits are known as Kami. Inari Okami is thus the Kami or spirit of Sake or Japanese rice wine, along with being the spirit of foxes, tea, industry, rice, agriculture, success, and prosperity. Inari Okami is also a major kami of Shinto. Inari has also been regarded as the patron and protector of warriors, merchants and blacksmiths. Okami has no fixed gender, in some instances Inari Okami has been depicted as a woman, while in others Okami has been depicted as a male. Inari is believed to be a popular figure, with nearly 32000 shrines being dedicated to Inari Okami. Inari is the patron of Kitsunes, also known as her foxes, which are pure white in colour and work as Inari’s messengers.
The Egyptian God of the underworld, the fair and just ruler, Osiris has been the God of several things, including all intoxicating drinks like wine and beer. In Egyptian mythology Osiris is one of the five children of the Earth and Sky or Nut, and Geb. His sister-wife Isis, is responsible for tricking the sun God Ra into leaving his throne for Osiris. However, there are a few accounts which argue, that Osiris was a son was Ra himself, along with Isis, and Set. It is said, that on the day of his coronation, Osiris was murdered by his brother Set, who cut his body into pieces and scattered them throughout the universe. Isis, and her son Horus set to task to finding Osiris’ remains and piecing him back together. Once Osiris was pieced together and Set was defeated at the hands of Horus, Osiris became the king of underworld as he had died in the world above.
Osiris is still worshipped as the first rightful king or pharaoh, and is considered the God of justice too.
Silenus is often seen as a companion of Dionysus. He is depicted as a merry, elderly, grandfatherly figure with a bunch of grapes in one hand and a chalice of wine in the other. Silenus is believed to be the teacher of Dionysus, who proved be much more skilled than his teacher. He is generally associated with asses, but he is different than the satyrs, sometimes considered even older than the satyrs. In some depictions, Silenus is also shown with ears of a donkey, giving him features different from both goats as well as horses. Silenus is known to be extremely wise and his preachings are full of great insights. While Silenus moved to the Roman culture with Dionysus, as a sub cult, he was not able to get the fanfare he had in the Greek Culture.
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News on Wine
Amsterdam to Hold the 10th Annual Bulk Wine Conference
– 26th Nov 2018
Amsterdam is one of those port cities which has had a long history of the wine trade, thus, it becomes an interesting venue for the 10th Annual Bulk Wine Conference. For any of you who are wondering what a Bulk Wine Conference is? It is a conference for large winemakers to sell their produce in bulk volume. However, while this was the initial premise for launching the Annual Bulk Wine Conference, in the times that have followed since the first Annual Bulk Wine conference, smaller players with specific, niche targets have also started joining this market. This conference is the biggest congregation of world-class winemakers, and wine connoisseurs from all over the world. However, during the initial days of the conference, wine connoisseurs, were also excellent wine sellers who would buy a bulk of wine, and then bottle and sell it later. But, with the entry of more targetted marketers, an individual wine fanatic may also find a good deal for a great batch of wine.
If you are wondering, how several gallons of wine is transferred from the seller to the buyer’s estate, then you would be surprised to know that bulk wine suppliers are actually environment-friendly and actively seek to reduce their carbon footprints, thus, wine is packed in large vats and shipped to the nearest port from the buyer. The buyer can then bottle up the wine, once he/she has received the wine. This saves the winemakers the risk of losing wine during transportation and also causes less pollution.