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Monday
18 November 2019

Some chitchat about wine

Dear guest, as you well know, wine is a complex subject. You simply need to think of the word sommelier to realise it. This term comes from the French word ‘somme’ (pack animal) and lier (connect). When combined, both words literally mean driver of the pack animal. Why give such a name to our category? The answer is easy: the Napoleonic soldiers used to tie barrels to the pack animals to transport the wine. Whoever was in charge of taking care of the wine as it travelled around Europe evolved over time and went from a trade to the expert we all know today. And so, dear guest, if you are curious by nature, you may have wondered why the most widespread wine bottles have a 0.75 cl. capacity. This is mainly for two reasons. The first reason is due to physical properties: the lung capacity of ancient glass blowers allowed them to create bottles with that capacity in one single blow. The second reason is bureaucratic: in the Anglo-Saxon world, due to port fees and transport costs, a crate of wine had to contain a maximum of two gallons. One gallon equates to 4.5 litres: each crate could hold twelve bottles. And as the mathematics would have it: 2 gallons = 9 litres. 9 litres over 12 bottles = 0.75 cl each. Simple, no? I can also imagine that among the pressing questions you have spent time trying to answer, you have also wondered about the vitis vinifera. Which country in the world do you think has the best variety of vitis vinifera? Why, Italy, of course! The country boasts over 350 different types. What actually is vitis vinifera? It is a grapevine, the mother of all vines, by George (or, given where we are, we should perhaps say by Bacchus). But let us get back to our 0.75 bottle capacity. Do you know how many grapes you need to fill it properly? Approximately one kilogram and two hectograms. Not bad, right? Now, before we say goodbye, dear guest, and I return to the wine cellar where I can organise the thirty thousand plus bottles that equate to thirty-six tons of grapes, more or less, I wish to leave you with one last fact: the most widely farmed vine variety in the world is the Cabernet Sauvignon, followed closely by the Merlot. Over the last few years, the number of hectares required to farm these two varieties has doubled. And now, dear guest, I shall await you in the wine cellar: I cannot wait to share more precious gems of information with you so you can learn about the most invaluable, prodigious, sought-after and priceless nectar in the world. Evviva!


Paolo, Service supervisor