When people learn I am in the wine business this usually triggers a number of questions like “do you have a vineyard in Napa?” “How big is your vineyard” or “How many cases of wine do you make a year?” (a little over 600 is the answer). The truth is I don’t have a vineyard, although I wish I did. But instead I work with three winemakers to make my wine. They, in turn, work with different vineyards to produce, bottle and store our wines. We buy all our components (wines which we use for blending) from other wineries or from what is referred to as the bulk market. Most of the time we will buy wine in either barrels from vineyards or in gallons from the bulk market.
Listed here are some of the facts you might need to know if you are dealing in the wine trade or something you might just want to know for fun. A recent study conducted by a group called Vinexpo which calls itself the world’s most influential wine exhibition, held in Bordeaux France each year, concludes that:
- The United States is the world’s number one wine consumer. In 2011 we all drank 3.8 billion bottles of wine. We, as wine sippers, will each consume an additional two bottles each by 2016.
- 60% of the wines Americans drink are red. We are expected to increase our wine consumption by 18% by 2016. Out top three reds are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir.
- The other 40% of the wines we drink are white. Our white consumption is up 10% since 2007. Our favorite whites are Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Moscato. Chardonnay is no longer the leader.
- According to industry analysts Malbec, the mellow, hearty red wine from Argentina and elsewhere, is also going fast. Consumption of Malbec is up 21% in the past year.
- Finally, as Americans drink more wine our French pals are drinking more Coca-Cola – tripling their consumption in the past 20 years to 149 cans a piece per year!
Being of German decent, I have a tendency to get a little analytical so here are a few more facts, perhaps not quite as interesting. But just in case you decide to start making wine I want you to be prepared with all the facts:
- A high-yielding vineyard will produce about 10 tons of grapes per acre
- A low-yielding vineyard will produce between two and four tons of grapes per acre
- 1-ton of grapes makes approximately 700 bottles of wine
- A Bordeaux barrel is 59 gallons while a Burgundy barrel is 60 gallons
- One bottle of wine is normally 750 ml which is about 1/5 of a gallon. In the U.S. we normally use barrels holding 59 gallons
- One barrel of wine roughly equals 25 cases, which equals roughly 300 bottles or 1,500 glasses
- A ton of grapes produces approximately 2½ barrels of wine, roughly 60 cases or 720 bottles
- One vine annually produces between four and six bottles of wine, which equals between 20 and 30 glasses
- Each bottle of wine contains 2.8 pounds of grapes; that means that each 5-ounce glass of wine contains a little over a half pound of grapes
- The average amount of clusters per vine is 35. The lower the number of clusters on the vine, the more concentrated the flavor is in the wine
Unless you play a fair amount of Trivial Pursuit, you’ll probably never need to know these interesting tidbits. But I want you to be prepared; you never know when someone might ask you how many pounds of grapes it takes to make a glass of wine! What fact here was most interesting to you and why?
Did I miss anything important? Let us hear about your wine experiences.