By Cristal Guiet on June 16th, 2023

Wine has been enjoyed by many people for centuries.

Anyone who is legally old enough to consume alcohol can enjoy a glass (or a few glasses) of their favorite wine with a meal or on its own.

Drinking wine can be a very social activity that can sometimes become quite philosophical.

Lost for a discussion topic, look no further, we have put together some interesting facts about wine that you can share with your friends and loved ones the next time that you are together.

Wine facts

1. Grapes are the most important fruit that is grown commercially. There are over 10,000 different grape varieties around the globe.

2. The sweetness of a wine is reduced when it is served chilled.

3. The majority of wines that were produced in the middle ages were made by monks in the local monasteries or by other members of the clergy.

Wine FactsCourtesy:

4. The oldest operating winery Staffler Hof in the small town of Kröv in the Mosel Valley (Rhineland-Palatinate state of Germany) can trace its origins back to the Benedictine monks that lived in the Stavelot Monastery more than 1150 years ago.

Old GrapewineCourtesy:

5. In early Roman times, women were forbidden from drinking wine. If they were caught drinking wine by their husbands, they could be sentenced to death.

6. 720 bottles of wine can be made from a single ton of grapes.

7. Women are more susceptible to the effects of drinking wine than their male counterparts as they have fewer enzymes in their stomach lining to break down alcohol.

8. The largest bottle of wine contains approximately 40 bottles of wine = 240 glasses of wine (30 liters) and is called a Melchizedek. It is so large (four feet tall) that it requires a special cellar for storage.

9. Globally, China is the fifth largest wine-producing country. It is the leading red wine market in the world, as the Chinese enjoy the flavor and in Chinese culture, the color red is considered as being lucky which makes it favored by the government.

10. Wine is made from grapes but cannot be made from the grapes that are designed for eating. Wine grapes are often not very pleasant to taste if eaten on their own.

11. The first wines were bottled in the 17th century after Englishman Sir Kenelm Digby (1603-1665) invented the green wine bottle around 1633. Before the invention of the wine bottle, wine was stored in goatskin bags.

12. The Greek god of wine is called Dionysus.

13. The French learned to make wine from the Italians in 425 B.C. (Mon Dieu!)

14. The oldest wine cellar is in the sunken remains of the Titanic. Divers were surprised to find that most of the bottles were still intact (though most of them were probably not drinkable).

There are rumors circulating that some of the bottles may have been recovered and sold to collectors, however to date, there is no actual proof that any of the wines have actually been recovered or tasted.

Wine Cellar

15. Over 300 French wines are allowed to display the AOC certification mark on their label. The AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) dates back to 1411 when Roquefort cheese was regulated by a parliamentary decree.

On 30 July 1935, the Comité National des appellations d’origne (CNAO which was renamed INAO in 1947) was created by representatives of the French government alongside the major winegrowers to manage the administration of the AOC process for wines. Joseph Capus was the first president.

16. The first AOC designation was granted to Châteauneuf-du-Pape in 1936. Baron Pierre Le Roy Boiseaumarie, a winegrower and trained lawyer played an important role as he helped wines in the Rhône Valley gain legal recognition in the AOC system.


17. A person that has a fear of wine is diagnosed as having Oenophobia.

18. Wine barrels can be made from 400 different species of oak.

19. France (34.2%), Italy (44.5%), Spain (35.0%), and the United States (24.1%) produce more than half of the wine in the world.

20. 85% of all wine is produced by just 28 countries in the world.

21. Antioxidants are good for you, one glass of wine contains the same amount of antioxidants as twenty glasses of apple juice or seven glasses of orange juice.

22. Texas is the 5th largest wine-producing state in the USA with an annual production of over 2,000,000 gallons of wine.

23. The first sparkling wine was made in Limoux France by the monks at the Abbaye de Saint-Hilaire in 1531.

Texas Wines

24. Dom Pérignon did not invent Champagne but he did make some important improvements to the quality of both still and sparkling Champagne wines after visiting his colleagues at l’abbaye de Saint-Hilaire in Limoux.

25. The Speyer wine bottle (Römerwein) that dates back to 325 A.D. is considered as being the oldest bottle of wine in the world and was found by archaeologists in a Roman tomb. They discovered a sealed vessel that they believed once contained liquid wine. It is now on display in the Pfalz Historical Museum in Speyer Germany.

Speyer wine bottleCourtesy: Wikipedia

26. In ancient Greece, the host of the dinner party would always try the wines before his guests as a courtesy to ensure that it was not poisoned. The phrase “drinking to one's health” relates to this act.

27. The world's most expensive bottle of wine comes from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in Burgundy where the 1945 vintage sold for $558,000.00 at auction in 2018.


28. Many centuries ago, the water was not always safe to drink. People instead chose to quench their thirst by drinking wine as the natural fermentation process helped to kill germs that were caused by Salmonella and Cholera.

29. The oldest living grapevine is a Žametovka vine in Maribor in the country of Slovenia. At 450 years of age, it still produces around 35 to 55 kilograms of grapes a year which are made into wine and then bottled into 100 miniature bottles.

30. Before the 1950’s, French children were encouraged to drink half a liter of cider, beer, or wine (depending on which region they lived in) between lessons.

Parents put the alcohol into their school baskets. People believed that alcohol helped to kill microbes and seemed to help warm the chest when a child had a cold. If teachers disallowed drinking in school, the children would drink the alcohol with breakfast before setting off for their lessons.

31. Over 80% of the Italian population depended on the wine industry to make a living in 1880.

32. The country of Georgia is considered as being the birthplace of wine.

33. The bitter tannins that are contained in the grape skins and seeds provide structure in a wine and help to preserve it. (The more tannins there are in a wine the better it ages).

34. At the time of pressing all wine juice is clear, therefore white wine can be made from red or white grapes. It is the contact with the red grape skins that give the wine its color.

35. There is an average of 75 grapes on a grape cluster which equals one glass of wine.

Grape ClusterCourtesy:

36. Portugal is the leading producer of corks in the world.

37. On 24 August 1795, Reverend Samuel Henshall was granted the first patent for a corkscrew in England. The earliest documented corkscrew is from 1685 and is a French cage-style model that was made from steel.

However, the first reference to a corkscrew dates back to 1681 in England where it was believed that the English used corks for cider.


38. “Toasting” was practiced in ancient Rome when they continued the Greek tradition. They dropped a piece of toasted bread into a glass of wine which acted as a sponge absorbing excessive acid and other undesirable tastes in the wine.

39. Champagne bottles are made from thicker glass then regular wine bottles as they need to withstand the pressure of the carbon dioxide gases that build up inside the bottle. The first Champagne bottle (Verre Anglais) that could withstand the pressure was developed in England by Sir Kenelm Digby in early 17th century.

40. The screwcap was invented in 1959 by La Bouchage Mécanique a French company. In 1970 Australian Consolidated Industries bought the right to manufacture the closure and renamed it Stelvin. It is a very popular closure on bottles in New Zealand and Australia.

41. It is common belief that moderate consumption red wine has long term positive health benefits such as promoting longevity and reducing the risk of cancer. However, it must be noted that there is no concrete empirical evidence to support this claim despite the numerous studies that have been carried out.

42. It is fine to spit wine out at a wine tasting event. After the wine is held in your mouth for a few seconds, it can be spit out. By spitting wine, a guest can taste many wines without becoming intoxicated.

43. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted grape variety in the world.

44. Chardonnay originates in Burgundy France - is the worlds favourite white wine.

45. Touching wine glasses together before drinking wine originated in ancient Rome.

Touching Wine GlassesCourtesy:

There is so much to learn about wine and the deeper you dig into its fantastic and exciting history the more you will learn.

Wine production has advanced a long way since the frist wines were created back in the country of Georgia where in 6000 B.C. the inhabitants of South Caucasus discovered that by burying grape juice underground during the winter wine would be produced.

Enjoying wine is not just about being thirsty for a glass of your favourite red, white, rosé or sparkling wine. It is also about a thirst for knowledge. We hope that this article has made you thirsty for more!


Author: Cristal Guiet

Cristal has more than twenty three years of experience in the wine industry. In addition to creating wine lists in Michelin three-star restaurants, working with prestigious London wine merchants, and starting her own wine tourism company in France, Cristal has been writing about wine for over fifteen years. She holds the Advanced degree from Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), and resides in London.

Wine facts

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