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.


A. Rioja Alavesa

B. Rioja Alta

C. Rioja Oriental

D. Rioja Centro


OK, we just made up Rioja Centro. Rioja is divided into three subregions: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Oriental (formerly known as Rioja Baja). What are generally considered to be the finest tempranillo grapes come from the Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa which, being higher and farther north and west, toward the Atlantic, experience a cooler climate. The land then slopes downward to the warmer, lower, drier Rioja Baja in the southeast—the only part of Rioja that experiences a more Mediterranean climate. Grapes there (often garnacha in addition to tempranillo) make wines that tend to be higher in alcohol and lower in acidity.


A. Aromas and flavors that come at the end of a sip, right before you swallow or spit the wine

B. The three main aromas/flavors in any given glass of wine; these are the most important aromas and flavors to pay attention to

C. The aromas/flavors in a wineglass that hover in the airspace above the wine before the wine is swirled

D. Aromas/flavors that result from aging a wine


When analyzing wine, professionals often split aromas/flavors into three categories: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary aromas and flavors come from the grape itself or natural factors in the vineyard. Pinot noir, for example, often displays the primary aromas/flavors of red cherries, strawberries, and a certain earthiness. Secondary aromas and flavors come from winemaking. The smell and flavor of oak in chardonnay is a secondary aroma/flavor that results from fermentation or aging in oak barrels. Similarly, the aroma and flavor of bread dough in Champagne is a secondary aroma/flavor that results from long aging on lees. Tertiary aromas and flavors are those that come from time. After, say, ten years, a great cabernet sauvignon no longer smells or tastes simply of cassis or other primary aromas/flavors. It takes on almost impossible-to-describe aromas and flavors that result from molecules in wine coalescing over time into whole new compounds.


A. Chenin Blanc

B. No other grapes are grown; Sancerre can only be made from sauvignon blanc

C. Pinot Noir

D. Auxerrois


Yes, red Sancerre exists and it’s made from pinot noir. Although, most Sancerre today is made from sauvignon blanc grapes, that was not always the case. Before the phylloxera epidemic in the 19th century, the leading grapes in Sancerre were chasselas (a white grape also grown in Switzerland) and pinot noir. After phylloxera, growers replanted with sauvignon blanc (a high vigor variety) and by the 1930s, it was the area’s dominant grape. Pinot noir was also replanted after phylloxera, and today is experiencing a resurgence in Sancerre.


A. Margaux AOC, Bordeaux

B. Sauternes AOC, Bordeaux

C. Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC, the Rhône

D. Vosne-Romanée AOC, Burgundy


In 1936, Châteauneuf-du-Pape became the first Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée in France. In the wake of phylloxera and World War I, France’s AOC system was created to improve quality standards in that country. The Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC authorized 13 grape varieties to be used in the appellation, among many other regulations and specifications.


A. A popular cocktail first invented in Shanghai (and purported to have health benefits) combining Prosecco and an extract from lily flowers

B. An ancient type of wine once made from sun-dried grapes in Sicily

C. A rare cross of chardonnay and another French grape, soon to be used in some white Bordeaux

D. A newly discovered Vitis labrusca (American) grape variety that grows on the Eastern seaboard and is related to concord


Liliorila (li-lee-OR-i-la) is a cross between chardonnay and the southwestern French variety baroque. It was developed in France in 1956, and makes low acid, powerfully aromatic wines. Until recently, liliorila was virtually extinct. But its fortunes are changing thanks to climate change. It is now one of the varieties awaiting approval as an officially permitted grape variety for basic white blends in the appellations Bordeaux and Bordeaux Superiéur.


A. A crisp white wine from vineyards surrounding Lake Constance near the Swiss-Austrian border

B. A full-bodied red wine made from grapes native to Lebanon

C. A sweet wine from Constantia winery in South Africa

D. A fortified wine from the medieval Constance monastery in eastern France; the wine is thought to have medicinal benefits


Vin de Constance is a dessert wine from South Africa. The celebrated wine was produced in the nineteenth century at Constantia Winery in Cape Town. Founded in 1685, Constantia winery was one of the first wineries in the country. The luscious dessert wine, made from muscat blanc à petite grain grapes, was one of the most sought-after dessert wines in Europe―favored by emperors and kings (Napoléon Bonaparte and King Frederick the Great of Germany) and famous authors and poets. Today, the extraordinary wines are still produced at Groot Constantia and Klein Constantia wineries.


A. A shiraz made with stems, giving it a slightly bitter, smoky character

B. A clone of pinot noir with an earthy tobacco character that was imported to Victoria from France in the 18th century

C. A strip of limestone soil in South Australia on which cabernet is planted

D. Historically, the time after dinner when Australian men (minus any women) would retreat to another room to smoke and drink Australian “port”


The “cigar” refers to a famous nine-mile long strip of soil in Coonawarra (Aboriginal for “honeysuckle”) on the Limestone Coast of South Australia. The soil (called terra rossa) is a reddish colored mixture of porous clay soil and limestone. It is considered (along with Western Australia’s Margaret River) one of the best places in the country for cabernet sauvignon. These cabernets are often full of black currant and something green, like chaparral. Australian producer Yalumba makes a cabernet sauvignon called “The Cigar” as a tribute to the region.


A. A historic style of sweet wine made in Mâconnais

B. An appellation in France where sauvignon blanc grapes are grown

C. A white grape variety grown in Jura, France

D. An appellation in France where chenin blanc grapes are grown


Made in the middle of the Loire Valley, Savennières (pronounced sa-ven-YARE) is a densely flavored dry white wine made from chenin blanc grapes. The best Savennières wines have such intensity, grip, minerality, and taut acidity that they can be aged for decades. Savennières is terrific with dishes full of vegetables, as well as with seafood.


A. The official name of Prosecco

B. The name for Proseccos that have been aged an additional two years in bottle before release

C. A more highly ranked Prosecco that comes from vineyards in a small special area

D. Prosecco made in two of the most famous villages in the province of Friuli


Ok, this was a tough question, but here’s the scoop: Much of the Prosecco that’s made is simply basic Prosecco DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) that comes from large swaths of flat land in northeastern Italy. Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore is a higher ranked, higher quality Prosecco DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). It is higher ranked because it comes from an historically special terroir—namely, a small zone of high-elevation hills in and around the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene in the region of the Veneto (not Friuli). Yes, it’s a very long name but Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore is actually easy to pronounce: con-KNEE-lee-anno  Val-doe-bee-AH-di-nay  Pro-SEC-oh  Su-pair-ee-or-AY.


A. Balthazar

B. Methuselah

C. Jeroboam

D. Hezekiah


Hezekiah, a Judean king, is not one of the Biblical kings for which large-format Champagne bottles are named. Balthazar, Methuselah, and Jeroboam—which hold 16 bottles, 8 bottles, and 4 bottles, respectively—are real designations. No one quite knows why large Champagne bottles are named after these ancient kings.


A. A winegrowing region located on hilly mountain ranges in Italy

B. A colloquial term describing the length of a wine on the palate

C. A region in northern Italy near Lake Garda that is known predominately for white wines

D.  A term added to a wine label to indicate the wine was made in a small farming village


The Langhe (from the Italian lingue—tongue) is a series of hilly ranges in southeastern Piedmont, Italy, that are said to be shaped like tongues. In fact, much of the Piedmont region is comprised of mountains and rolling foothills: Piedmont itself means “foot of the mountain.” The Langhe is famous for Barolo and Barbaresco, two of Italy’s most superb and long-lived reds.


A. Lambrusco di Sorbara

B. Nero d’Avola

C. Negrara

D. Canaiolo


Also called Calabrese, nero d’Avola is an important red grape variety grown in Sicily. A high-quality variety that can produce intensely black-colored wines, nero d’Avola often possesses red fruit aromas, like strawberries or sour cherries, with notes of licorice, cocoa, rose, and spices. Often, the vines are grown in the traditional albarello (or “little tree” or “bush”) manner—which is to say, without expensive trellising that would be difficult and expensive to construct in Sicily’s high-elevation mountains.


A. Muscadelle

B. Chardonnay

C. Sauvignon Blanc

D. Sémillon


Chardonnay is not one of the grape varieties permitted in white Bordeaux wine. Seven grapes can comprise white Bordeaux: the main three—sémillon, sauvignon blanc, and muscadelle—plus these more unusual suspects: ugni blanc, colombard, merlot blanc, and sauvignon gris. The latter are used in extremely small amounts if at all.


A. Napa Valley, 1969

B. Sonoma Valley, 1965

C. Napa Valley, 1981

D. Santa Cruz Mountains, 1975


The first AVA in California was Napa Valley, established in February 1981. According to the Wine Institute, other California winegrowing regions that were established later that same year include: Santa Maria Valley in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, San Pasqual Valley in San Diego County, and Guenoc Valley in Lake County.


A. Brettanomyces

B. Oxidation

C. Trichloroanisole (or TCA)

D. Mercaptan Compounds


Ok, unless you’re a winemaker, this might have been a tough one. Rotten onion aromas are a sign of mercaptan compounds. These horrible-smelling compounds can be created after fermentation when hydrogen sulfide and other basic sulfur compounds create compounds that smell like rotting onions or spoiled garlic. Brettanomyces usually smells of manure, like a barnyard. Oxidation has a scent reminiscent of rancid nuts. And TCA can be detected by its distinctive odor of a dirty wet dog sitting on wet cardboard in a damp cellar.


A. Muscat

B. Arneis

C. Dolcetto

D. Sauvignon Blanc


Vermouth originated in Piedmont, Italy, in the 18th century. Historically, muscat grapes were used as the base wine. The moscato that is typically grown in Piedmont is known as moscato Canelli, or white muscat, and is the same as muscat blanc à petit grains in France. Because muscat is a white grape, most vermouth was originally white. Today, for most inexpensive commercial versions, cheap red or white bulk wine from the south of Italy is often used as the base. The wine is then infused with a secret blend of dozens, sometimes hundreds, of aromatic spices, barks, bitter herbs, and flavorings.