A. Wine Queens

B. The first Chili Cook-offs (pairing Zinfandel with chili)

C. Grape harvesting contests for high schoolers

D. Grape naming contests inviting consumers to suggest names for new grape varieties being developed at the University of California at Davis


One of the highlights of the California State Fair in the 1950s and 1960s was the chance to see the newly crowned Wine Queen. The first local Wine Queen was chosen in 1913 at a fair in San Diego County. Wine queen popularity grew during Prohibition as small towns all over California crowned one of their own. By the 1950s and 1960s, the Wine Queen at the California State Fair had celebrity status, and she also had an active PR role, helping to promote wine consumption and sales in the state.


A. The ripeness level of the wine

B. Smaragd is the word in dialect for “Wachau”

C. The vineyard classification of the wine, equivalent to a Premier Cru vineyard

D. Smaragd is the name of the medieval village where the first Riesling in the Wachau was made


The word smaragd (meaning “emerald”) signifies wines that are the most physiologically ripe, and are therefore considered the best. The wines must have a minimum of 12.5 percent alcohol; most are higher. Smaragd is also the name of a bright green lizard that suns itself in the vineyards of Lower Austria. The Wachau is one of Austria’s premier regions for riesling and grüner veltliner.


A. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

B. Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet

C. The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

D. The Scream by Edvard Munch


Not every barter deal works out well. But in 1498, the Duke of Milan, Italy. Ludovico Sforza, probably came out ahead. Sforza offered Leonardo da Vinci, the great artist/scientist/inventor, a small vineyard in return for a painting. Da Vinci, a great wine lover, accepted, and went about painting The Last Supper, which was subsequently hung in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. Da Vinci’s vineyard survived until 1943, when it was destroyed by a fire that resulted from Allied bombing in World War II. In 2007, Italian viticulturists and geneticists began excavating the site of the former vineyard, which ironically had been protected by layers of ash and debris. Through DNA testing of the extant roots they found buried there, the scientists determined that da Vinci had grown Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, a white variety still grown in Lombardy.


A. Portugal

B. Greece

C. Israel

D. Georgia


Mt. Athos—where no woman has ever set foot—is located on the easternmost of the three “fingers” that make up Greece’s stunning Halkidiki Peninsula. Greek Orthodox monks have made wine continually on Mt. Athos for more than one thousand years. Known in Greek as “Holy Mountain,” the wine region is home to twenty monasteries—there are no other residences—and some 1700 monks who live an ascetic, isolated life.  Only men are allowed to reside there or visit. Indeed, in order to maintain its males-only policy once Greece was admitted to the European Union, Mt. Athos had to be given a special exemption from the EU regulation stipulating the free movement of people across borders.


A. Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson

B. Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams

C. James Madison and James Monroe

D. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson


George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both planted vines and attempted to make wine in Virginia. George Washington saw great potential for wine cultivation in the Chesapeake region and imported cuttings of “Madeira grapes,” from the Portuguese island of Madeira. These cuttings were planted at his estate Mount Vernon in the spring of 1770. When the Madeira grapes failed, he began to experiment with native American grape varieties. In the years preceding the Revolutionary War, Washington planted 2,000 cuttings of local wild grape varieties but frosts in the region (and his eight years away at war) caused the second experiment to fail as well. Thomas Jefferson, with the help of Italian winemaker Filippo Mazzei planted 2,000 acres of Vitis vinifera vines adjacent to his home at Monticello in 1773. The Revolutionary War once again cut this viticultural project short, and the vines died due to neglect. Jefferson tried planting grapes again after the war was over, but they perished most likely because of phylloxera.

(Thank you to Mary Thompson, the Research Historian at Mount Vernon for her materials.)


A. Friulano from Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy

B. Verdejo from Rueda, Spain

C. Sancerre from the Loire Valley, France

D. Condrieu from the Rhone Valley, France


Sancerre is an appellation located in the Loire Valley of France, well-known for its sauvignon blancs which are considered some of the most lively sauvignons in the world. What many wine drinkers may not realize is that roughly 25% of Sancerre is planted to the red grape variety pinot noir. Indeed, in the past few years, as the region has grown warmer because of climate change, more and more of Sancerre’s winemakers have been focusing on pinot noir.


A. Sardinia, Italy

B. Tokaji-Hegyalja, Hungary

C. Valais, Switzerland

D. Baden, Germany


Sardinia’s Nuoro province is thought to have the highest per-capita percentage of people over one hundred of anyplace in the world. And among those Sardinians who are “supercentenarians”—defined as people over 110—a surprising number are men. (Super centenarians worldwide tend to be women.) At first, researchers who studied the island’s population thought that the men in their studies were lying (“age exaggeration” is known to be common among men who are the “oldest old”). But civil and church records revealed that Sardinia’s male supercentenarians were telling the truth. What factors contribute to such longevity? Researchers point out that Sardinians get vigorous daily exercise throughout the day (thanks to mountain shepherding) and eat a diet composed of whole-grain sourdough breads, vegetables, fruits, pecorino cheese (a sheep’s milk cheese high in Omega-3 fatty acids), and mastic oil, a resinous oil from local mastic trees. They also consume three to four glasses of wine a day per person–spread over breakfast (yes, breakfast), lunch, and dinner. The local red wine Cannonau (possibly the same as Garnacha or a clone of Garnacha) is the leading variety, thought by researchers to provide antioxidant benefits and to preserve cognitive functioning in old age.


A. Ninety percent of Port producers agree that the grapes in a given year were exceptional

B. The Port Wine Institute conducts blind tastings and based on its findings, instructs producers to declare (or not declare) a year as a vintage year

C. Individual producers decide independently that their grapes warrant being made into Vintage Port

D. The grapes taken from sample vineyards throughout the region achieve a perfect ratio of sugar to acidity as measured in grams per liter


The process of declaring a vintage year and making a vintage Port begins with a judgment. How good are the grapes from that year? Each producer of Port makes this decision independently. If the grapes are excellent, if they possess just the right balance of richness, power, freshness, and finesse, then the producer will “declare” the vintage. Even though the decision to declare is independent, the truly stunning years for vintage Port are usually those declared by 50 percent or more of all producers. Once a producer declares a vintage, a formal procedure ensues. Before the wine can be bottled, the shipper must submit its intention and samples of the wine to the Port Wine Institute for tasting and approval. The great vintage Port years from the second half of the twentieth century through the first decade of the twenty-first have been: 1955, 1958, 1960, 1963, 1966, 1970, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2016, and 2017.


A. The barrels used in the winemaking

B. The number of baskets used to gather some of the grapes

C. Puttonyos is the Hungarian word used for residual sugar

D. The name of the sub-region where grapes for Tokaji are grown


The word puttonyos refers to the name of the basket in which the aszú grapes were traditionally gathered and is derived from the Hungarian word puttony . A puttony holds 44 to 55 pounds (20 to 25 kilograms) of grapes, equal to about 5.2 gallons (20 liters) of aszú paste. To make aszú paste shriveled aszú berries are picked by hand, berry by berry -not cluster by cluster- from botrytis-affected bunches and brought to the winery to be lightly crushed into this consistency. The amount of aszú paste added to base wines determines the sweetness level of the Tokaji wine. A 5-puttonyos Tokaji would have at least 12 to 15 percent residual sugar and be about as sweet and concentrated as a German beerenauslese.


A. Upper Mississippi River Valley AVA

B. Texas Hill Country AVA

C. Central Coast AVA

D. Lake Erie AVA


At more than 19 million acres (29,900 square miles (77,000 km2), the Upper Mississippi River Valley spans four states (Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin). By the way, the smallest AVA is Cole Ranch AVA in Mendocino County, California with only 60 acres planted (24 ha). The Augusta AVA, which occupies the area around the town of Augusta, Missouri, was the first AVA, gaining the status on June 20, 1980. The second AVA was Sonoma Valley, which was established in 1981. There are currently 252 AVAs in 33 states. Over half (141) are in California.


A. Sydney

B. Vienna

C. Rome

D. Berlin


Someone in Rome must have a vine or two planted next to the tomatoes, but Vienna is the only major city in the world that is a commercially significant wine region. Within the city limits there are 1,600 acres (640 hectares) of grapes, all of which fall under a government protection program lest real estate developers be tempted.

Vienna’s traditional simple wine called gemischter satz—“mixed planting”—makes up about a third of all Viennese wine today. And while it’s never complex, it is fascinating. Just try to imagine the flavor of a wine made from riesling, pinot blanc, grüner veltliner, and gewürztraminer. Better vineyards in Vienna today are planted with a single varieties. In the western part of the city, the mineral-rich limestone soils lead to very good riesling, chardonnay, and pinot blanc. In the southern part of the city, darker, heavier soils lead to fuller-bodied whites and red varieties including zweigelt.


A. Catawba

B. Malbec

C. Ugni Blanc

D. Alicante Bouschet


Ok this was probably pretty easy if you know a little French, since mal is French for “bad,” and bec for “mouth.” But allow me to explain further. Although it is now famous in Argentina, malbec’s ancestral home is Cahors, a tiny, ancient wine region in southwest France. Here, the wine is known as le vin noir, “the black wine,” not only because of its dark color, but also because of its severe, tannic, dark flavors. The word malbec is actually a nickname for the grape’s true ampelographic name: côt. But in the nineteenth century, malbec became a slang term for someone who spoke badly of others. There must have been a lot of malbecs in Cahors, for the word became a common surname—and an affectionate term for the local grapes.


A. Two tools that have been used by coopers to make barrels for several centuries

B. Herbal/mineral infusions that are sprayed on vines right after flowering as part of biodynamic farming

C. Types of fine clay that can be used to fine extremely tannic red wines

D. The words for wine in Hungarian and Basque


Hungarian, Basque, Turkish, and Greek are the only European languages that have words for wine not derived from Latin. The Hungarian word for wine is bor; the Basque word is ardo.


A. André

B. Moët & Chandon

C. Veuve Clicquot

D. Perrier Jouët


With 90,000 cases sold in supermarkets, Veuve Clicquot came in Number 6 in supermarket sales of sparklers in 2020, according to the industry magazine Market Watch. Veuve Clicquot was also the most expensive sparkler in the top ten, selling in supermarkets for an average price of $54 a bottle. Moët & Chandon didn’t make the top ten supermarket sparklers list (it was Number 16). And Perrier Jouët was not in the top 20. Good for you if you knew that André was a trick answer. It’s not a Champagne; it’s made in California by E & J Gallo. It came in 4th in supermarket sales, costing an average of $6. a bottle


A. Italy

B. Portugal

C. France

D. Argentina


In all of these countries,  per capita wine consumption is high. But Portugal comes out on top with 16.4 gallons/62.1 liters of wine per person per year (for people over 15 years old). According to the OIV (International Organization of Vine and Wine), the next three countries in descending order are France (13.3 gallons/50.2 liters), Italy (11.5 gallons/43.6 liters), and Switzerland (10 gallons/37.8 liters).


A. Special picking boxes used during harvest to minimize oxidation and damage to the grapes

B. A modern system of racks that can roll barrels making it easier to stir lees

C. A group of South American grape varieties that have a Spanish heritage

D. Refrigerated containers that are used to ship grapes long distances in the summer


The criollas (Spanish for “creoles”) are a group of Vitis vinifera grapes that the Spanish brought to South America in the 16th century, including the grape varities that were born in the Americas as a result of those original varieties. Some of these—such as the red grape listán prieto—were brought directly from Spain as seeds or cuttings and then carried by missionaries and conquistadors from one South American country to the next. Other of the criollas originated in South America itself, the result of natural crosses that formed between various European varieties. In Chile, listán prieto was called criolla chica (creole girl) and later renamed pais. In Peru, listán prieto was known as negra criolla, and in Bolivia, it was missionera. In Mexico, listán prieto was called misión (after the early missions where it was planted)—a name that the grape variety (mission in English) also held in California, Texas, and New Mexico.  Several subsequent criollas were born in Argentina.


A. New Zealand

B. South Africa

C. Chile

D. Argentina


If you thought the answer was New Zealand, you would have been right until just recently. For 50 years, New Zealand’s Black Ridge Vineyard (at latitude 45.15 degrees S) held the title Most Southern Vineyard in the World. But Argentina now has a winery that has surpassed it. As of 2021, the world’s most southerly vineyard is Bodega Otronia (latitude 45.33 degrees S) in Chubut Province deep in Argentina’s Patagonia Extrema, a region once known only for mining and sheep. Over the next few years, the title will be an ongoing contest between Argentina and Chile, as both countries push viticulture further and further south toward the cold tip of the South American continent. (Sorry, New Zealand).


A. The name of a heat-tolerant clone of cabernet recently developed at U.C. Davis to help cope with climate warming

B. A rootstock used in the U.S.

C. The name of one of the earliest wine journals originally written in Latin

D. The name of the first grapevine nursery in the U.S., established in upstate New York in the 1700s by French immigrant A.R. Ganzin


Aramon Rupestris Ganzin—better known as AxR—was the notorious rootstock that resultred in billions of dollars of damage in Napa and Sonoma, California, in the 1980s and 90s. The rootstock’s name is a combination of aramon, a grape that belongs to the European species Vitis vinifera, which was crossed with rupestris, a reference to the American grapevine species Vitis rupestris. Ganzin was the man who crossed the two and created the rootstock. Although it was widely recommended in California from the 1950s to the 1980s, AxR1 proved to be susceptible to phylloxera, ushering in a devastating second wave of phylloxera in the state.


A. Vintage Port from Portugal

B. Sauternes from France

C. Pedro Ximénez Sherry from Spain

D. Trockenbeerenauslesen from Germany


If a wine has any natural grape sugar left—that is, if some of the sugar was not converted to alcohol during fermentation—then the wine is said to have residual sugar. In order to be considered a sweet wine (not a table wine), a wine has to have quite a lot of unconverted natural grape sugar. According to European Union legislation, for example, a wine labeled “sweet” must have at least 4.5% residual sugar. Most of Europe’s great sweet wines, however, have considerably more than that. Port, Sauternes, and German TBAs are all sweet, but nothing compares to Spain’s opulent Pedro Ximénez sherries (PX), which have over 40% residual sugar. PX wines are nearly black in color and have a texture as thick as maple syrup. A small glass is more than dessert wine, it is dessert.


A. Wines for every day, wines for cellaring, wines for kings

B. Wines for monks, wines for cardinals, wines for popes

C. Wines for merchants, wines for farmers, wines for magistrates

D. Wines for monks, wines for popes, wines for kings


The wines from the lower part of the slope, which suffered the most rain, were known as cuvées des moines, or “wines for the monks.” Wines from the top of the slope had the least rain, but there the sun did not have a solar panel-like focus. These were called cuvées des cardinals, or “wines for the cardinals.” And last, wines from the preferred middle belt of the slope, which had perfect sun and the right degree of rain runoff, were called cuvées des papes, or “wines for the popes.”