Guest post by Alti Wine Exchange
Hello, reader of Social Vignerons,
Let me introduce myself. I am Breno, editor at Alti wine exchange, a leading investment platform in fine wines - where our courageous Julien Miquel is also Chief Wine Officer (you can read his latest articles here).
I thank Julien very much for the suggestion to adapt here an earlier article we did on the Alti Wine Exchange blog on the curiosities of wine.
We know how eager Social Vignerons readers are for the world of fine wines, terroirs, grapes, blends, tasting notes and much more.
So why not bring in some fun historical facts to give some context?
From the oldest wine tasting cellar in Roman times, let me give you five curiosities about the history of wine.
1 - The oldest wine estate in the world
While the history of wine could possibly be traced back millions of years, the oldest officially known winery in the world is located in a cave in the mountains of Armenia.
About 6,100 years old, the Areni-1 cellar was discovered between 2007 and 2010 and consisted of fermentation jars, mug, press, and bowl, and likely produced gallons for funerals.
In turn, the oldest known active cellar in the world is located in Germany: Staffelter Hof, in Moselle, is also one of the oldest companies in the world, dating back to AD 862.
2 - Greek? No, thank you Phoenicians
Speaking of history, the oldest bottle supposed (still) to contain liquid wine also comes from Germany: the famous Speyer bottle, produced by Roman settlers between AD 325 and AD 350 and found in a tomb. It was found in the 19th century alongside other bottles, being the only one that has not yet been opened. You can visit it at the Palatinate Historical Museum in Speyer.
Meanwhile, we all know how the Romans and Greeks were strongly linked to wine, dedicating the respective gods Bacchus and Dionysus to it.
However, did you know that those who spread wine across the Mediterranean were in fact the Phoenicians?
Yes, they grew grapes for winemaking and spread the word (and liquid) around the 10th century BC, introducing it to the ancient Greeks, who then inspired the Romans and their love for wine.
3 - Tasting in ancient Rome
In vino veritas. The writings of Pliny the Elder from Pompeii, devastated by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, showed references to early winemaking by the Romans.
Long story short? It hardly compares to wine produced in modern times.
The grapes of ancient Rome were not as sweet as the grapes of today. Also, the fermentation process ended with a clay or resin infused flavor due to the pot sealing process.
Experts say that the wines from this process were robust, low in alcohol and somewhat unpleasant by today's standards. The Romans generally added honey, spices and dilute with seawater (yes, seawater), resulting in the refreshing Mulsum, which would taste like a punch.
Oh, do you remember the oldest winery in the world that I mentioned above? According to Gregory Areshian, co-director of excavations at Areni-1, the first wine produced in the Armenian cave would be somewhat comparable in taste to unfiltered merlot.
4 - And the biggest consumer is ...
Not quite expected this one, right? But hey, per capita statistics are one thing.
Yes, the Vatican is the country with the highest per capita wine consumption, close to double the amount consumed by Italians and French: 74 liters per year (or 105 bottles), according to recent statistics from the Wine Institute.
Besides the fact that it has less than a thousand inhabitants, the Vatican City is mainly populated by older inhabitants, very educated and who have in wine a ceremonial religious function.
Easily deformable, but nevertheless a fact!
Winemakers in the United States who wouldn't give up production in their vineyards during Prohibition managed to evade the law and make a lot of money with an ingenious way to make their (somewhat happy) customers: making bricks. of wine.
Yes, bricks of wine.
Since the law of the day stipulated that grapes could only be grown and processed for non-alcoholic consumption, there was an interesting loophole to explore. By using cartons of concentrated (legal) grape juice, producers could continue to sell their products with a little help from customers.
The packaging of these wine bricks had notes with, for example, warnings NOT to leave the dissolved brick in a cool cabinet for 21 days - otherwise it would turn into wine, which was technically illegal.
Others would even include “flavor”: Burgundy, Riesling, Port, Sherry? Your choice.
This is all completely legal if you have followed the instructions on what not to do or how to avoid fermentation.
Hope you enjoyed this little piece. Until next time!
Meet Alti wine exchange.
We would recommend either Wineworks Premium or Wineworks Superior as your first 30 Bottle Kit Wine. Both of these ranges are designed to produce a good quality wine that is ready to drink within 2-4 weeks but will benefit if left up to 6-8 weeks. Furthermore, they also have a great selection of wines to choose from.
If you’ve never made wine before or you simply don’t have any of the equipment or ingredients any longer then you could purchase one of our bundles. These bundles allie all the required equipment along with your prefered wine pack so that you can have everything delivered to your door and just get started. The Wineworks Superior Starter Bundles are a great choice if you want to keep the equipment budget down but still choose the quality of wine you’d like to go for. Whereas, the Wineworks Luxury Starter Bundles offer a better quality equipment pack and still let you choose from a great choice of wine packs.
The two most important aspects of making wine are Cleanliness and Temperature. Firstly remember everything that comes into contact with the wine should be cleaned and sterilised ( see below ). Secondly maintain a constant temperature between 21-26°C ( 69-79°F ). It is much better to be on the cool side and constant than hot one minute and cold the next. Airing cupboards are definitely no, no’s. ( See below )
Clean and sterilise all equipment. Here’s a selection of Sterilisers you can use and if you not quite sure which steriliser to go for then you can take a look at our Beginners Wine Making Part 1 - Cleaning, Sterlising
Wineworks Superior wines : These usually take 10-15 days to ferment, and a further week to clear. Again the wine can be drunk immediately but we recommend ageing it 4 weeks but you can leave it up to 12 months. The time you will leave it will depend very much on your stocks. So get plenty built up. The reds benefit more than the whites with ageing. Certain kits ( see the list below ) are suited more to the experienced wine maker and take around 4 weeks to ferment and then left for a further 2 weeks. These products does really benefit from ageing. All the kits we list in this section require little ageing.
As it’s new to you it will probably take in all 2 hours for your first batch. However, once you are used to it 1 hour is about the maximum amount of time needed. We would also point out bar the bottling side; it takes just as long to make 6 bottles as it does to make 30 bottles, so we strongly recommend you make the larger quantity. After all 6 bottles doesn’t go very far as we said before !
From our experience it is much better to maintain a constant temperature than a fluctuating one. We suggest 21-26°C ( 69-79°F ), although if it is cooler than this, it is not a problem, it just takes slightly longer to ferment. If you can’t maintain this then we supply three different forms of heating equipment : Brew Belt / Heat BeltThis is a simple insulated electric cable that wraps round your container and provides a gentle heat. It is very souple and extremely easy to use. Heat Tray ( 4 demi/5 Gallon Fermenter ) This is like a flat tray that provides a gentle continuous heat that goes under the fermenter. Immersion HeaterThis drops into the container, through the bung and can be thermostatically controlled to maintain the juste temperature. Similar to a fish tank heater. All these can be added to our starter pack packages. See our film showing the variétés of heating equipment available for your fermentation.
It is important to clean
If you’ve made it this far, hopefully understanding a bit of what we’ve said, then you’ll want to know how much it will cost to get started ! As you may have noticed, we’ve put together a couple of equipment packs which include everything you need, and take the confusion out of buying. You can make your first 30 bottles of Wine for approximately £65. 00. That’s all in ( Equipment