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53

Age of Robert Mondavi when he founded the Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville in the Napa Valley. Many other Napa pioneers were also in (non-crisis) midlife when they began their wineries–Mike Grgich (Grgich Hills) was 54; John Shafer (Shafer Vineyards) was 48; Warren Winiarski (Stags Leap Wine Cellars) was 42; and Jack Davies (Schramsberg) was 41.

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80

Number of wine brands owned by E. & J. Gallo, the world’s largest family-owned wine company. The brands range from mass market wines like Barefoot Cellars to high-end historic brands such as Louis M. Martini to millennial chug like Apothic. The company was founded in 1933 in Modesto by brothers Ernest and Julio who reportedly learned to make wine by reading pamphlets in the public library.

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44

Percent of their food budget the average American spends in restaurants, according to the USDA Economic Research Service. The percentage of money spent in restaurants has risen steadily as Americans work longer hours. From 2010 until now, one out of every 7 new jobs in the country has been a restaurant job.

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50

Percentage of world’s gamay grapes that are planted in the Beaujolais region. Startlingly, almost 50% of that gamay goes on to become Beaujolais Nouveau, the grapey young wine released on the third Thursday of November. Beaujolais Nouveau was first made in 1951. In 1966, the wine shops of Paris were the first to stage festivities to celebrate its release.

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5000

Cost (in U.S. dollars) of a truffle dog in Italy according to a report in Atlas Obscura. When it comes to Italy’s coveted white truffles, dogs (along with pigs) are the preferred hunters. White truffles, a specialty of Piedmont in the fall, are one of the world’s most ravishing delicacies. Because of severe drought this year, truffle prices have soared to $2500 a pound (if you’re lucky).

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8

Duration (in months) of the annual harvest of table grapes in California (~5 months longer than for wine grapes). The table grape harvest starts in the deserts of southern California in May and generally ends in central California in December. And (way) unlike wine grapes, table grapes can be cold-stored in pristine condition for up to three months.

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65

Percent increase in exports to the U.S. of Cru Beaujolais last year over the year before. By contrast, Beaujolais Nouveau exports increased just 8 percent during the same period. Delicious and well-priced, Cru Beaujolais (top-tier Beaujolais from ten distinguished villages) is on fire among savvy sommeliers and hip wine buyers.

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2

Times by which the rate of U.S. restaurants is surpassing that of the population, according to the New York Times. There are now more than 62,000 eating and drinking establishments in the country. Fast food and chain restaurants have been especially hard hit by the glut. For both, customer counts and sales are dropping.

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36.5

Amount (in billions of U.S. dollars) that the wine industry paid last year in total taxes (federal and state), according to a WineAmerica economic impact study. With tax reform on everyone’s mind, it seemed like a good time to reveal this number and yes, that’s billions with a “b.”  Jobs? The American wine industry directly accounts for 1.7 million of them.

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1

Number of cups of Kosher wine adult Jews are encouraged to drink during many Jewish rituals according to Orthodox Jewish law. This includes Bris Milah (circumcision), weddings, and all holiday meals. (Hanukkah is coming). At Purim, wine “in abundance” is suggested. And on Passover, Jews are required to drink four cups of wine at the Seder.