Wine is defined as the fermented juice of grapes, made in many varieties, such as red, white, sweet, dry, still, and sparkling, for use as a beverage in cooking, in religious rites, etc., and usually having an alcohol content of 14 percent or less. Although little is known about the earliest production of wine, it is believed that ancient civilizations made it using different fruits including wild grapes. The most recent estimation of the earliest production of wine dates back to 8,000 BC in Georgia and soon to follow in Iran and Armenia in 7,000 BC and 6,000 BC. It was also prevalent in ancient Greece, Thrace, and Rome. The oldest known winery was recently found in Armenia in January of 2011. It is located in the Vayots Dzor Province in a small cave and when found, contained a wine press, fermentation vats, jars, and cups. It has been stated that the fact that winemaking was so well developed by 6,000 BC, indicates that the practice must have begun much earlier.
Wine has played many roles in the time if its existence. In ancient Egyptian culture, wine played a role in ceremonial life. In medieval Europe, it was largely accepted by Christians as an aid to help celebrate Catholic Mass and by the Jewish to celebrate Kiddush. Today, wine is still used for religious purposes but has also become a social experience. Many people have wine with dinner or while catching up with friends. Others dedicate their entire day or weekend to go wine tasting with their loved ones. Wine is truly a timeless treasure, especially here in Sonoma County, and continues to bring people together.
It comes as no surprise that the Sonoma-Marin Fair (North San Francisco, June 23-26) has chosen a wine contest to keep the tradition of wine alive in one of the California’s most popular wine regions. The 5th Annual Amateur Wine Competition is just a small part of the folklore offered at the Sonoma-Marin Fair. Amateur wine makers must provide two bottles of their homemade wine, including their label, which must identify the exhibitor name, class number & wine type. Another part of competition is the label contest itself. The design is judged based on size, shape, originality, humor, composition, and general appearance.
Fun Facts about Wine!
1. It is a common misconception that all wines improve with age. In fact, more than 90 percent of all wines should be consumed within one year.
2. The celebrity wines are on the rise! From race car driver Jeff Gordon to legendary musician Bob Dylan, to ice skater Peggy Flemming, everyone's getting in on the winemaking act. In fact, celebrity wine sales exceeded $50 million in 2008.
3. The term bouquet refers to the total scent of the wine. Aroma is the scent of the grapes. When wine tasters want to describe the bouquet and the aroma together, they use the term nose.