We don’t typically need an “official” reason to celebrate over a bottle of wine but today we have one – it’s National Wine Day, celebrated annually on May 25. The growing number of wineries across the US coupled with the proliferation of social media options has prompted more creative ways to celebrate with wine for people of all (legal drinking) ages and beverage preferences. Whether you host a wine tasting at your place to try the latest rosés or meet friends for an evening of professionally paired food and wine, the celebration begins as soon as the cork is popped. Cheers!
HISTORY OF NATIONAL WINE DAY
With references to National Wine Day found as early as 2009, today, wine enthusiasts unite to celebrate our favorite fermented fruit juice.
Since its establishment in 1812 by Spanish missionaries, California’s wine country in the northern Bay Area of northern California has dominated American wine production and our personal vision of the elegant American vineyard. There were a mere 25 wineries in this area of California in 1974. Today, over 800!
While California still leads US wine production and is now home to over 4,000 wineries state-wide, wineries are found across the US with at least 3 in every state. In fact, the most frequently visited winery today is the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina seeing over 1 million people annually.
This availability of wineries enables us to visit the rolling hills of a beautiful vineyard closer to home. Yes, it is very likely one is near you, within range for a fun day trip or weekend getaway. So, pack your bags and set your GPS to the winery nearest you!
NATIONAL WINE DAY TIMELINE
Sangria grows in US popularity
Although sangria was introduced to the US in the 1940s, its popularity spiked after the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.
Wine production begins in America
New Mexico becomes the first region in America to begin producing wine.
Sophisticated wine production in Armenia
Archaeologists discovered evidence of winemaking in an Armenian cave, including cups and jars for holding wine, wine presses, and vats for fermentation, and even grape seeds and vines.
Signs of early winemaking found in Eurasia
Although it had been believed that the earliest wines were made around the fourth century B.C.E, much older wine has been found in what is now the country of Georgia.
NATIONAL WINE DAY FAQS
NATIONAL WINE DAY ACTIVITIES
Cool down with a sangria bar
What better way to celebrate the beginning of summer than with friends over a sangria bar? Sangria is an easy, make-ahead beverage with wine as its base. Red, white and rosé recipes abound but don’t limit yourself to the obvious. Peach and blueberry lemonade sangria stand-out at any party.
Buy a new gadget
Chances are, if you’re making plans for National Wine Day, you don’t consider yourself an amateur. Aficionados need gadgets. Enhance the holiday with an electric wine bottle opener or a wine aerator.
Know your glasses
The extensive variety of stemware can be confusing. Why so many choices? The shape of the bowl controls the amount of air reaching the wine surface which impacts the taste and aroma. Celebrate National Wine Day by researching the recommended glass to use based on wine type and impress your friends with your new-found knowledge.
5 FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT WINE BOTTLES
There are over a dozen different sizes of wine bottles, many named after Biblical kings or other historical figures.
Who’s the King?
At 30 liters, the largest wine bottle size is named “Melchizedek” or “Midas” holding 200 glasses of wine.
Sealed with a cork
Almost 70% of wine bottles are sealed with natural cork; the majority of this cork comes from Portugal.
Judging a bottle by its cover
There are over 60,000 wine labels in the market today.
It takes a lot of grapes
One bottle of wine holds an average of 600 grapes.
WHY WE LOVE NATIONAL WINE DAY
We love varietals
While there are 5 basic types of wine (red, white, rose, sparkling and dessert), there are thousands of varietals of wine grapes. The options you have for trying a new wine are practically endless. You’ll never get bored in your pursuit for trying something new in the wine world.
We savor life with wine
Wine is not the type of beverage you drink quickly. You sip it, savor it, linger with it. Which means, you are likely lingering with whomever you’re sharing the wine. Taking your time to enjoy a glass of wine allows you to enjoy other things with it – people, scenery, food.
Wine allows you to travel the world in a bottle
Each bottle of wine tells a unique story. If you close your eyes, wine’s aromas and flavors can transport you to faraway lands, giving you hints about the soil and weather the grapes grew in, the landscape of the country the wine originated in, and what was happening in the world at the time the wine was bottled. The best part? You don’t even have to get on a plane to travel the world!