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Answer: False.

Hello, this is the US. Nothing is ever easy when it comes to alcoholic beverages. Under 26 U.S.C. 5042 and the implementing regulations in 27 CFR 24.75(a), “wine produced for personal or family use may never be sold or offered for sale.  Only wine produced at a fully qualified bonded wine premises may be sold or offered for sale.” Sorry.

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Answer: False.

While wine was a common beverage in ancient Greece, intoxication itself was something the Greeks denounced for its harmful effects. Accordingly, wine was always diluted with water, sometimes as much as three parts water to one part wine. In the eyes of the ancient Greeks, only barbarians drank wine straight.

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Answer: True.

At least if you drink it in moderation, you can. There are several different types of alcohol, all of which are organic molecules comprised of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms. Ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) is the only type of alcohol that you can safely drink. Ethanol is the form of alcohol in wine, beer, and spirits.

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Answer: False.

The word BIN in a wine name (famously used on so many Penfolds’ wines), stands for “Batch Identification Number” and is a way that Penfolds winemakers keep track of winemaking trials.  Penfolds in particular has dozens of wines named Bin This or That. There’s Bin 95 (Grange), Bin 28 (Kalimna Shiraz), Bin 389 (a Cabernet Shiraz Blend) ), Bin 707 (an expensive Cabernet), and scores of other “Bins!” Bin 707 by the way was named after the 707 aircraft on the occassion of Boeing’s 100th anniversary.

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Answer: False.

The Central Coast is the largest AVA in California, covering nearly 6.8 million acres of land. At 612,000 acres, the Paso Robles AVA is the largest AVA within the Central Coast AVA. Currently, however, Paso Robles has just over 41,000 acres planted with vines.

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Answer: False.

It certainly seems like this ought to be the case, but in fact color intensity and flavor intensity are not correlated.  The best example is Pinot Noir which can look rather faint, even when the wine in question possesses a rivetingly intense flavor. (Genetically Pinot Noir lacks a robust amount of anthocyanins, the compounds responsible for color).

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Answer: False.

This erroneous legend just won’t die, but Shiraz did not come from Iran—or from Sicily or Greece, two other falsehoods. (Yesterday was Shiraz Day so we thought we’d set the record straight). The grape Syrah is usually known in Australia (and sometimes in South Africa) as Shiraz. Why so? In the seventeenth century, French Huguenots (fleeing religious persecution) brought Syrah from France (where it is indigenous) to South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope. From South Africa, it was eventually brought to Australia. However, by the 1830s, Syrah was also being brought directly to Australia from France. Most scholars think the name Shiraz is a corruption of one of the grape’s many colloquial French names (which include Serine, Serinne, Sira, etc.).  Today, of course, Shiraz is Australia’s most planted and most famous red wine. Indeed, in appellations such as the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Margaret River, and a half dozen others, Shiraz can be spellbinding delicious and spicy, although rarely as outrageously gamey as the French Syrahs from Côte Rôtie or Hermitage.

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Answer: True.

The San Andreas Fault, a sliding boundary between two tectonic plates, extends more than 700 miles from Mexico up through western California, running offshore near the northern California town of Eureka. The plates are constantly in motion—causing parts of California wine country to move very slowly northward at a rate of a couple of inches per yearabout the same rate that fingernails grow. The continual rubbing of the Pacific Plate to the west and the North American Plate to the east are responsible for some 10,000 (mostly minor) earthquakes a year. Several California wine valleys lie directly on or near the fault line.

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Answer: False.

Next to Buckingham Palace and crumpets, Guinness does seem ever so British. (Not to put too fine a point on it, the brand, founded in 1759, is actually Irish).  Be all that as it may, Guinness is not the Number 1 selling beer in the UK. According to 2022 You/Gov data, that honor goes to San Miguel, a Spanish beer originally brewed in the Philippines.  Guinness does score very highly for “fame” however. It ties with Budweiser as the most recognizable beer brand in the UK.

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Answer: False.

While it’s tempting to pour a wine by holding the bottle with your thumb inserted in the punt, the indentation in the bottom of bottles was never intended for that purpose. Originally, punts were a way of preventing the jagged pontil mark—the point left over after a glass bottle was blown and shaped—from scratching the surface of a table. By pushing the pontil up into the interior of the bottle, a punt was formed and the table was saved. When mold-made wine bottles were introduced, the punt remained, since it adds stability to the bottle when it’s standing upright. With Champagne bottles, however, the punt has even greater purpose. During the second fermentation, which ultimately gives Champagne its bubbles, six atmospheres of pressure is built up inside the glass wall of the bottle. The Champagne bottle’s prominent punt allows for a more even distribution of pressure inside the bottle, preventing the disastrous explosions that were a common and serious problem for early Champagne makers.

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Answer: False.

That would be Canada.  Eventhough icewine represents just 5% of Canada’s wine production, the country makes more of it that anywhere else in the world. In Canada, as in Germany and Austria, icewine (or eiswein as it’s spelled in German) must be made from grapes frozen naturally on the vine and picked by hand, grape by grape. More than 95 percent of Canada’s icewine is made in Ontario.

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Answer: True.

The alcohol by volume (abv) of wine typically falls between 12 and 15 percent. Saké (undiluted by water) is generally 18 to 20 percent alcohol by volume, and one type of especially strong saké—Genshu—often exceeds 20 percent abv.

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Answer: False.

Yes, false, but just barely. As of 2020, 46 percent of the wine Americans drank was red; 44 percent, white. Interestingly, for most of history, in nearly every wine-producing

country except Germany and Austria, red wines have been more popular than whites. Before the invention of temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks, reds were easier to make in most parts of the world and seemed better suited to hearty meals and the hard physical labor that agriculturally based economies required. But after World War II, white wine consumption soared, particularly in the United States, thanks to changing lifestyles, the drastic reduction in agricultural employment, central air-conditioning, refrigeration, and the dietary shift away from red meat to lighter meats, fish, and vegetables.

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Answer: False.

Scientists believe that the very first original grape varieties were probably all red. Accordingly, the first white variety was a mutation that occurred when pieces of DNA moved within the gene, interrupting the coding for anthocyanins, molecules that create color. Interestingly, in early wine-drinking civilizations, the rarity (and relative fragility) of white wines gave them social value and led to the perception that white wines were more refined than reds and, as such, more desirable as upper-class drinks.

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Answer: False.

Although we sometimes use the terms taste and flavor interchangeably, taste is different from flavor. The world of taste encompasses just five concepts: sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, and umami. (A possible sixth taste—kokumi—has also been identified.) Wine can possess any of these five tastes, including saltiness, although there’s only a miniscule amount of actual salt—sodium chloride—in wine.

Flavor, as distinguished from taste, is a larger cognitive concept. Flavor is comprised of taste plus aroma, appearance, mouthfeel, and even sound. Certain colors, for example, are associated with certain flavors (it’s well documented that red correlates with sweetness; why else would the can of a famous cola be red?). And sensory scientists attribute some of the flavor of Champagne to its wonderful breathy sound.

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Answer: False.

Ok, this was a tricky one. In general, the vintage listed on any wine bottle refers to the year when the grapes were harvested.  But eiswein (or icewine in English), made from grapes frozen naturally on the vine, is an exception. Grapes for eiswein are sometimes harvested in January of the next year. In this case, the vintage on the bottle would be the previous year, the primary year in which the grapes were grown.

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Answer: False.

Maderization and oxidation are not the same. During maderization, wine is intentionally heated in a process known as estufagem, either in large vats or in barrels inside a heated, sauna-like room. The term comes from the word Madeira, a wine which is fortified, oxidized, maderized, and then aged, often for a long period. Oxidized simply implies that the wine has been exposed to oxygen, but not heat.

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Answer: False.

While it’s true that wineries must state an amount of alcohol, there’s a lot of wiggle room in the percentage stated. In the U.S., wines containing 14% or less alcohol, can be labeled plus or minus 1.5 percentage points. So that “light, elegant” wine you bought which was labeled 12.5 percent alcohol could actually contain 14%. For wines over 14% alcohol, a 1% variance is allowed. So, a wine labeled 14.5% alcohol, could contain 15.5%. No wine (except for fortified wines) is ever over about 16.5% alcohol because at that concentration, yeasts die from the very alcohol they are making, preventing them from making more.