A. Sangiovese

B. Pinot Noir

C. Cabernet Franc

D. Merlot


Pinot noir earned this nickname because, even though it is one of the most fickle grapes to grow, it can become what many consider to be the most poetic, compelling wine in the world.  In fact, an entire book on pinot noir by the author, Marq de Villiers, is entitled The Heartbreak Grape (McArthur & Company 2007).


A. Australia

B. China

C. Argentina

D. South Africa


Argentina places 5th behind the perennial trifecta of Italy, France and Spain, and then a distant United States.  In fact, the production of the U.S. and Argentina combined is less than Spain’s which is currently in third place.  Australia and South Africa, despite their relatively large land masses, come in at numbers 7 and 9, respectively.  Despite the perception that wine production in China has boomed in recent years, it still finishes in 10th place, perhaps because table grapes represent a significant amount of its plantings. The top 10 are:




United States





South Africa



A. A Spanish ballroom dance with sharp footwork based on the story of the bull fight

B. A Spanish red wine fermented with twice the normal amount of grape skins and pulp

C. A traditional “drunken” spaghetti dish from Chianti made by adding wine to the cooking water

D. A traditional Tuscan distillate made with pasta cooking water


Doble pasta [DOH-blay PAHSS-tah] is a traditional style of red winemaking in the Alicante, Jumilla, Utiel-Requeña, and Yecla districts in the Spanish Levante.  Wines are macerated and fermented with twice the normal amount of grape skins and pulp, resulting in a wine of intense concentration, tannin and color. Doble pasta wines are often produced from the indigenous bobal grape variety and used to strengthen lighter blends.


A. Semillon

B. Marsanne

C. Chenin blanc

D. Pinot noir


In Burgundy, during the early Middle Ages, chardonnay arose as a seedling―a natural cross of the noble red grape of Burgundy, pinot noir, with the white grape, gouais blanc (GOO-ay BLAHNK) , thought to have been brought to eastern France by the Romans from Croatia.  DNA testing in 1999 uncovered the unorthodox parentage, a shock to the international wine community at the time, as gouais blanc is considered so mediocre that several French districts tried to ban it and it is no longer even cultivated in France.


A. No. 99 – Ice Wine from Hall of Fame Hockey star Wayne Gretzky

B. Windsor Great Park Vineyard – Sparkling Wine from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II

C. Fergalicious - California Red Blend from Grammy-winning hip-hop singer, Fergie

D. Raging Bull - Napa Valley Sangiovese from Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro


While De Niro has invested in many restaurants–Nobu, Rubicon, and Tribeca Grill, hotels and a spirits brand, VDKA 6100, he has never pursued a wine brand.  A. As a kid, Wayne Gretzky watched his grandfather make his own wine.  Today, “The Great One” presides over Wayne Gretzky Estates, producing wine from the Niagara Peninsula and Okanagan wine regions, as well as Canadian whiskies.  B. Dubbed “Liz’s Fizz” by the London press, the Queen’s sparkling wine is made from 7 acres of classic Champagne grapes on the monarch’s estate outside Windsor Castle.  C. A blend of syrah, merlot, grenache and cabernet sauvignon from California’s Santa Ynez Valley, Fergalicious is the most high-profile offering from Ferguson Crest winery, a collaboration between Fergie and her father Pat Ferguson.


A. The name of the racking system used to barrel-ferment red wines by rotating the barrels on mechanical arms

B. The compound that makes some wines taste peppery

C. The step in the process of disgorging Champagne when the temporary crown cap is pulled off by what looks like a round bottle opener

D. A type of Burgundy barrel with an especially deep bilge for extended lees contact


Rotundone (row-TUND-own) just might make you think someone had surreptitiously ground up some black pepper into your glass. The compound—often (but not always) found in the syrahs of France’s Rhône Valley and the shirazes of Australia—is the exact same compound that exists in peppercorns.  It can be found in grapes themselves and survives the fermentation process. Syrah/shiraz is of course famous/notorious for the black and/or white pepper aroma and flavor, but rotundone can also occasionally be found in pinot noir, gamay, durif, schioppettino and the white grape grüner veltliner, among others. The compound was discovered by the Australian Wine Research Institute in 2005.


A. The Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci

B. The Italian explorer Christopher Columbus

C. The Roman poet Virgil

D. The French writer Voltaire


The artist/scientist/inventor Leonardo da Vinci was a great lover of wine. In 1498, he accepted a small vineyard from Ludivoco Sforza, the Duke of Milan, as payment for “The Last Supper” which da Vinci painted for the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. (The vineyard was destroyed by a fire that resulted from bombing during World War II). And what grapes grew in da Vinci’s vineyard?  In 2009, Italian viticulturists and geneticists excavated the site, and based on the DNA of extant roots, determined that it was malvasia di candia, an aromatic white variety, which of course is still grown in Italy today.


A. Hoop Driver for tightening, loosening and removing the steel hoops that hold barrel staves together

B. Champagne Pliers for opening a bottle of sparkling wine

C. Wine Bottle Brush for sweeping away powdery mold and cobwebs from long-aged bottles before opening

D. Barrel Bung Puller for unlocking the seal on barrel bungs during fermentation


There’s nothing worse than not being able to get a cork out of a bottle of Champagne. And it happens quite a lot. The answer is not to let the bottle warm up (as some people do). Because if the bottle warms quickly, the cork will eventually come out explosively. A better, safer, quicker answer is Champagne pliers. These “pliers” look a bit like regular pliers only they are more elegant, and they are designed to fit perfectly around a stubborn Champagne cork. One small twist and voila, your Champagne is open and ready to be poured. You can get a new pair here.


A. A Latin word meaning “place of thistles”

B. A medieval French term for “white chalky soil”

C. A combination of two Greek words meaning “golden sphere”

D. A Celtic term meaning “that which is delicate”


Chardonnay is derived from the medieval Latin word cardonnacum, meaning “place of thistles.” Thistle is chardon in French. There is a small village in the Mâconnais region of southern Burgundy called Chardonnay.


A. A variety is a grape that occurred spontaneously in Nature; a varietal is a grape that was intentionally created by scientists or researchers

B. A variety is a grape; a varietal is a wine

C. A variety belongs to the European species vinifera; a varietal belongs to any one of several north American species

D. There is no difference; the words are interchangeable


Variety refers to a grape. A vineyard, for example, might be planted with the variety cabernet sauvignon. A varietal refers to the wine made from a given variety. So, in a wine shop, you can buy a bottle of the varietal cabernet sauvignon which is made from the variety cabernet sauvignon.


A. A type of Slovenian oak, commonly used to age wine in Croatia and Slovenia

B. Austrian slang for the contents of a spit cup

C. A white wine grape especially well-suited to volcanic soils in Hungary

D.  The bits of skin that cling to the insides of old amphora in which Georgia’s famous amber/orange skin-contact wines are made


Juhfark (YOU-fark) is a Hungarian white grape variety, most notably grown in the volcanic wine region of Somló in northwest Hungary. The name in Hungarian means sheep’s tail, referring to the elongated, cylindrical shape of the clusters. The wine itself is often made with skin-contact and has a complex flavor.


A. Etienne

B. Dominic

C. Pierre

D. Jean-Martin


Pierre. The term “Dom” is an honorific title for a monk. The word comes from the Latin dominus meaning “master.”


A. A French cream sauce for fish or asparagus

B. The French version of sauerkraut

C. A type of orange

D. A type of Mediterranean bird


When the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) recently surveyed 2000 Britons, 29% believed that the famous French sweet wine Sauternes was “a type of orange.” Twenty percent of respondents thought it was a beach resort. And seven percent thought it was a plant. It appears that wine education is not quite yet a fait accompli.


A. Beaujolais from the best single vineyards

B. Beaujolais that are aged for at least a year in French oak

C. Beaujolais from selected villages

D. Beaujolais from what historically have been the top producers (the “cru”)


Cru Beaujolais refers to wines from ten distinguished villages. (Interestingly enough, in most of the rest of France, the word cru refers to a vineyard.) Most of these villages are in the north of the region on steep granite hills. Cru wines are deeper, denser, more structured and more age-worthy than regular Beaujolais. The ten Cru are: St.-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Brouilly, and Côte de Brouilly. Although Beaujolais Nouveau will be released next Thursday, we recommend you drink the far better Cru Beaujolais to celebrate the region.


A. Nutty flavored

B. Slow moving (as in a solera)

C. Gently rolling (said of a vineyard)

D. Intensely aromatic


The style of Sherry known as Oloroso takes its name from the word oloroso which means “intensely aromatic” in Spanish. Olorosos are long-aged Sherries that have been carefully exposed to oxygen. This darkens the wine to a rich, deep mahogany and imparts a flavor ten orders of magnitude more nutty than nuts themselves. Olorosos are potent and full-bodied Sherries with an unctuous feel on the palate. Try one from Lustau, Gonzales Byass or Hidalgo.



A. The names of the first female winemakers in the United States

B. The names of vineyards in Oregon

C. The names of the first women wine professionals in Britain to achieve the WSET diploma

D. The names of the first female Master Sommeliers in the United States


Many of the top vineyards of the Willamette Valley in Oregon are named after women who have been inspirations in the industry. Helen, Louise, Jessie and Eileen and Marjorie are all vineyards that belong to Cristom. Nancy’s vineyard honors Nancy Ponzi of Ponzi, and Elizabeth’s is named after David Adelsheim’s daughter.   


A. France

B. The United States

C. China

D. Chile


In fact, China has 148,263 acres (60,000 hectares) of cabernet sauvignon, about 20% more than the number two country France with 118,611 acres (48,000 hectares). Chile came in third at 106,255 acres/43,000 hectares and the U.S was fourth with 101,313 acres/41,000 hectares. OK, we’ll stop the list here since the next country is behind by 40%. Source: 2017 OIV (International Organization for Vine and Wine) Report.


A. It was the name of the family who made the first sparkling wines in Champagne’s Marne Valley

B. It was the name used by the Romans, referring to the chalky and limestone soils of the region

C. The name is derived from Latin words for the countryside around the city of Reims

D. Champagne was an early name for the ancient observation that crushed grapes would produce a liquid that bubbles


The name Champagne was first used in the sixth century and is derived from campagnia remensis, a Latin term for the countryside around the city of Reims. There is only one appellation in Champagne—Champagne—but the region encompasses five main vineyard areas: Montagne de Reims,  Côte des Blancs, Vallée de la Marne, Côte de Sézanne, and Côte des Bar (also known as Aube).


A. 100% of the grapes were grown in Napa Valley and the grapes were vinified in the Napa Valley

B. 75% of the grapes were grown in the Napa Valley and the winery is located in the Napa Valley

C. 85% of the grapes were grown in the Napa Valley

D. 100% of the grapes were grown in the Napa Valley; all of those were vinified in the Napa Valley and the winery is located in the Napa Valley


The Napa Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) was established in 1981 and was the first AVA in California. Like all AVAs, it is governed by federal regulations set forth by the Tax & Trade Bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department. Those regulations stipulate that if an AVA is listed on a wine label, 85% of the grapes used for that wine must come from that AVA.


A. Beer makes you fat

B. Beer makes you burp

C. Beer isn’t as sexy as other beverages

D. Beer’s flavors are too predictable


Ok, we know it’s supposed to be a wine quiz, but who doesn’t like an occasional beer (question)? In any case, for the survey, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch surveyed 1,000 millennials in the U.S. and the U.K. Of those surveyed, 27% said they were ditching beer. And the number one reason? Because “it makes you fat.” Millennials appear to be cutting back on alcoholic beverages of all kinds, with beer being hit harder than either spirits or wine.