Wine can be a bit of a cultish drink. When talking to someone who knows a lot about red wine, it can be hard to relate when you have no idea what the difference between a Merlot and a Pinot Noir is. Lots of wine experts turn their noses up at beginners who ask questions. Learning about wine can be difficult at times.
Here you can read about the kinds of grapes used in red wine production, as well as the prominent countries of the world that produce red wine. In these pages, I recommend a few of my favorite bottles that really define a certain grape or region.
There is also a section with info on what you need to know to be a red wine expert. Learn exactly how to store, pour and serve red wine. See what red wines go with what food. Learn what health benefits red wine has. Find out what it takes to become a wine sommelier, and learn how to tackle that nasty red wine stain on your carpet.
If you are a total beginner to the red wine world, let’s start with the basics. Red wine gets its red hue from the skins of the grapes it ferments with. Wine is produced with the skin still on the grape, but depending on what kind of wine you want, the skins can be removed from the process to create white wine, rosé wine, or red wine, which itself can range from lighter-bodied up to full-bodied.
Red wine has been a popular drink for thousands of years, dating way back to around 4000 B.C. in Greece and Italy. Over the years, it has been refined and perfected, and winemaking and production has become an art form in many countries around the world. Red wine is more than just a beverage, and more than just an industry – for many it is a lifestyle.
A Brief History of Wine
Did Noah Have a Hangover?
Grapes would have been valuable to primitive people; high in natural sugar can be dried and stored to provide a source of nutrition in the winter or in times of crop failure.
Vines can be trained as protection from the sun and will grow, like the olive, in regions that are virtually useless for any other crop.
The Bible credits Noah with planting vineyards after The Flood and became the first person the Bible records to be drunk; despite this vineyards are mentioned in many passages of the Old Testament as being a valuable possession.
Although the vine was cultivated by the people of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Egyptians, the Phoenicians were probably responsible for bringing grapes and vine stocks to Greece, Italy, and France.
Medicinal, Religious and other uses
As well as being an enjoyable drink, wine has natural disinfectant and medicinal properties; it was used as a restorative and a sedative and as a precaution against infection in regions where the water supply was suspect. Foodstuffs could be washed with wine, kept edible in a marinade of wine, oil and herbs and wounds were cleaned with wine.
Wines’ multitude of uses made it inevitable that it would play an important part in religious rituals. Dionysus, the Wine God was an important element in the life of Ancient Greece
Wine also features in the Christian religion, Jesus referred the Himself as “the true vine” and since then wine and clusters of grapes have featured in all forms of Christian art.