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Answer: False.

Petite Sirah (sometimes spelled Petite Syrah) is not the same as Syrah and not a clone of it, but the histories of the two separate red grape varieties are interwoven. Vines called Petite Sirah have grown in California since the 1880s. In the early days, some of those vines may have been a clone of Syrah that had small—petite—grapes. (All things being equal, winemakers prefer small grapes because there’s a high ratio of skin to juice. Since color, flavor, and tannin come primarily from a grape’s skin, small grapes yield concentrated, flavorful wines.). Back then, Petite Sirah was interplanted with other varieties, creating field blends. As more and different varieties (sometimes misidentified) found their way into California vineyards, Petite Sirah’s true identity grew more and more obscure. Eventually, in the 1990s, DNA typing revealed that most California Petite Sirah is the French grape Durif, a cross of Peloursin and Syrah. Today, some of the oldest “Petite Sirah” vineyards remain field blends of many varieties, including true Syrah, Durif, Carignane, Zinfandel, Barbera, and Grenache. From a flavor standpoint, there is nothing petite about Petite Sirah. The wine is mouthfilling and often hugely tannic.

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Answer: False.

But just barely. The wine color split among wine drinkers in the United States is 46 percent red; 44 percent, white, and the rest rosé. (2020 figures). For most of history, in nearly every wine-producing country (Germany and Austria are obvious exceptions), red wines have been much 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. 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 all helped transform the United States into a country that drank more white wine than it had ever before.

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Answer: True.

True. In 1990, the Napa Valley vintners initiated a concept called Conjunctive Labeling, requiring any wine label which lists on of the AVAs within the Napa Valley must also list the words Napa Valley next to it. The idea behind this initiative was to not allow the standing of individual AVAs to overshadow the reputation of Napa Valley as a whole. Years later, a result of the initiative would be clear. In important export markets such as China, the words “Napa Valley” now have greater recognition than even one of the most globally recognized English words— California.

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Answer: True.

The very first original varieties that gave rise to the “founder varieties” (Pinot Noir, Gouais Blanc, and Savagnin) were probably all red. Scientists think that the first white variety was a mutation that occurred when pieces of DNA moved within the gene, interrupting the coding for anthocyanins, molecules in grape skins that create color. In early wine-drinking civilizations, the rarity 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. For their part, early on, the founder varieties crossed with each other and with scores of other varieties (some of which no longer exist) to create scores of varieties we drink today from Chardonnay and Riesling to Blaufrankisch, Gamay, and Muscadelle.

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Answer: False.

The famous French brandy distilled from apples requires 17 pounds of heirloom apples to make one bottle of Calvados. The apples must be grown in Normandy, the region renowned for the drink. (The region also makes fantastic ciders). Producers can use four types of apples: sweet, bittersweet, bitter and bittersharp. Sixty years ago, there were more than 15,000 small, artisanal Calvados producers. Today there are about 300, but the Calvados and ciders they make are sensational.

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Answer: False.

Body is often poorly understood and misconstrued. A wine’s body tells you nothing about the quality of a wine, or the intensity of its flavors, or how long the finish will be. Think about great sorbet. It’s very light in body, but the quality, flavor intensity, and sustained impact of its flavor can be riveting. Body is related to alcohol content. The more alcohol a wine has, the fuller its body will be.

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Answer: True.

A microcontinent is a landmass that is bigger than a typical island, but smaller than a typical continent. Microcontinents usually break off of a larger “parent continent.”  In the case of New Zealand, the country’s two main islands are the above-sea-level part of Zealandia, a submerged microcontinent about half the size of Australia. Zealandia broke off from Antarctica about 100 million years ago and from Australia about 80 million years ago. Today the country lies at the abrasive juncture of two of the world’s great tectonic plates, the Indo-Australian Plate and the Pacific Plate. Because these plates actively rub against each other, New Zealand has many natural hot springs, as well as occasional volcanic eruptions.

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Answer: True.

During fermentation of red wine, the temperature of the must rises to between 60°F and 85°F. The winemaker usually does not want it to rise above 85°F, for at higher temperatures, the aromas and flavors of the wine may be volatilized or burned off. White wines, (except from some wines like full-bodies Chardonnays) are often fermented in temperature-controlled fermentation tanks, so they generally ferment at 50°F to 65°F. These tanks are usually double-skinned and wrapped on the outside with a jacket through which a coolant like glycol can run. Again, the goal is to preserve the wine’s aromas by fermenting at a cool temperature.

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Answer: False.

Sediment is not a flaw but rather a natural process that occurs over time. Sediment—molecules of color and tannin that precipitate out of solution—are generally present only in older red wines (10-plus years old) that had a lot of color and tannin to begin with and that were not fined or filtered. You can drink an old wine that has thrown some sediment without decanting it; the sediment is not harmful, just slightly teeth-clinging.

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Answer: True.

Labeling a wine based on the variety of grape used to make that wine has been commonplace in most of the New World since the late 1960s. In the United States, the first varietally labeled wines were required by federal law to be composed of 51 percent of the variety named. In 1983, the minimum was raised to the current level of 75 percent. States and specific appellations can choose to exceed (but not go below) the federal regulations. For example, in Oregon, all Pinot Noirs so-labeled must be at least 90 percent Pinot Noir. The same is true for Oregon Chardonnay, but not Oregon Cabernet Sauvignon. Oregon makes an exception from the “90% rule” for Cabernet and other grapes that benefit from blending and have a long history of being used for blending in their respective European regions.

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Answer: False.

All Champagne must spend at least 15 months in the bottle before release. Of this, 12 months must be sur lie, (on the lees). The minimum aging periods required by law for Champagne wines are much longer than for other sparkling wines. European wine regulations, for example, specify a minimum of only 90 days for effervescent wines in general.

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Answer: True.

Oenotria was what Greek colonists called southern Italy when they first arrived in the 8th century BC or thereabouts. The local population was most likely already producing wine.

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Answer: False.

That would be Zweigelt, a juicy, fruity, easy wine, the result of a cross of Blaufränkisch and the simple grape variety St. Laurent. However, even though Zweigelt leads in production, Blaufränkisch is Austria’s highest quality and most revered red. Austrian Blaufränkisch is precise and sleek, with flavors of delicious woodland blueberries, a sense of forestiness, and a bit of a spicy bite. It is exactly the ticket for splicing through a spicy meat dish. Among our favorite producers are Moric and J. Heinrich.

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Answer: True.

According to the International Wines and Spirits Record’s latest report, Americans bought less wine in 2019, the first drop in wine purchases in the last 25 years. Millennials are opting for alternatives beverages such as hard seltzers, cocktails, and nonalcoholic beer. The trend was attributed to a generational shift as the number of millennials surpasses baby boomers, who drove strong demand for wine in America.

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Answer: False.

Cabernet Sauvignon plantings superseded Zinfandel way back in 1998. Today there are 94,854 acres of Cabernet; but just 40,061 acres of Zinfandel. Most of the Cabernet is planted in Napa and San Luis Obispo counties. Most of the Zinfandel is planted in San Joaquin and Sonoma counties.

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Answer: False.

Ok Washington State wine fans, this was a bit of a trick question. Even though the Columbia Valley is the largest and best known American Viticultural Area in Washington, the Yakima Valley, which is within Columbia Valley, was Washington’s first AVA, designated as such in 1983. Columbia Valley was named an AVA a year later. The Yakima Valley is the historic heart of Washington wine country. Vinifera wine grapes were planted here in the late 1930s by Seattle attorney William Bridgman who also pioneered irrigated agriculture in the region and planted some of the state’s first grapes including Semillon, Ruby Cabernet, Grenache, and Pinot Noir. Many of the state’s earliest wineries, including Chinook, Thurston-Wolfe, Portteus, and Barnard Griffin are in Yakima, and many other wineries buy Yakima grapes. A number of Washington’s most famous grower-owned vineyards are also here, notably, Boushey Vineyard and Red Willow Vineyard.

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Answer: True.

Genetic research in 2010 revealed that cab franc originated in Spain’s Basque country and was later brought to southwest France, then Bordeaux.

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Answer: True.

Limestone is a sedimentary rock formed from decomposed seashells and marine skeletons that are extremely high in calcium. There are many different types of limestone which is created formed under different conditions. Chalk, marble, and marl are all types of limestone.