This guide is intended to provide some introductory information about winemaking, grape varietals, regions, and history to help bartenders and servers better understand what is on the menu.
Wine is fermented grape juice.
Fermentation is the process by which yeast converts sugars into alcohol and CO₂.
The grape skins.
The year that the grapes were harvested.
No. Most wines are meant to be consumed young while and are perfectly fine to drink within the year they were made. Others, such as full-bodied red wines heavier in tannins do transform the longer they age.
The skins, pits, and stems of the grapes used to make the wine act as natural preservatives, which are known as tannins. These especially allow a red wine to age with grace. The best way to recognize the tannins is the mouth sensation it creates and can be enhanced when paired with certain foods.
Terroir is the “somewhereness” of where the grape is grown. This includes but is not limited to the soil and geography of the area that the grapes are grown; how much sunlight or rainfall the vineyard receives; the overall weather and climate; among others.
The most common red wines that you will likely come across on your menu will likely be from the following grapes:
Lighter-bodied wines tend to taste and feel leaner and more delicate than a fuller-bodied wine, which will come off as heavy, bold, and powerful. Generally a full-bodied wine has a higher alcohol content.
The most common white wines that you will likely come across on your menu will likely be from the following grapes:
Rosé is a type of wine that can come in a variety of forms and from a variety of grapes. Typically rosé wines are made by using the grape skins to color the wine but not as much as if it were a red wine. Rosé can be both sparkling and still wines. Dry or sweet. Even the color of the wine can range from a light almost clear liquid to a bright red, even orange!
The most common sparkling wines that you will likely come across on your menu will likely be the following types:
Knowing where a certain wine comes from can give your a better idea about how it will taste. Below is an interactive map that provides information about what regions are best known for the wines they produce.