Please Explain: Wine

Friday, October 18, 2013

Humans have been drinking wine for 8,000 years. On this week’s Please Explain Paul Lukacs tells us all about wine and its long, rich history. He’s the author of Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World’s Most Ancient Pleasures.


Paul Lukacs

Comments [8]

Wilma from manhattan

Me again. With respect to whether screwcaps allow evolution of wine closed with them, I have an example from a little different point of view. Some years ago, I managed Fonseca Ports in the US. The winemaker, Bruce Guimaraens, and I were doing some tastings in New York, and one of the wines we were showing was the 1970 vintage. Near the end of the '60s, the practice of shipping port in cask to Britain to be bottled by the seller (rather than bottled at the source by the producer) was just coming to an end, and the '70 vintage was a mixed bag. Some of the British bottlers used a kind of hard rubber cap that looked like a handball to cover the mouth and upper neck of the bottle that effectively made it air-tight. On two consecutive evenings, we uncorked a conventionally sealed bottle of 1970 and one of these British oddities, and the difference in apparent age was dramatic. The latter tasted fresh and young with virtually no evolution, and we were in the late 1990s.

Oct. 18 2013 02:13 PM
antonio from bayside

Why hasn't organic wine taken off?
Aren't the folks who usually patronize wine are also into organic products?

Oct. 18 2013 01:54 PM
Wilma from manhattan

Just a slight correction with regard to your mention of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The translation is in fact 'the new castle of the Pope,' not the ninth. In 1305 there was a deadlock in the college of Cardinals that was finally broken with the election of Bertrand de Got, a Frenchman, as Pope Clement V. He decided to move the papacy from Rome to Avignon to a property the church had acquired in the Treaty of Meaux. The chateau of Chateauneuf du Pape was his summer retreat to the north of the city, and de Got's successor, John XXII, first planted vines there. The papacy returned to Rome in 1377.

Oct. 18 2013 01:51 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Or maybe Noah got drunk because the entire world he'd known was gone & everyone but his immediate family was dead.

Oct. 18 2013 01:49 PM
Amy from Manhattan

So, raisins & resins, hmm?

I would have expected wine to originate considerably before beer, given what Prof. Lukacs said about its not needing any treatment before fermenting. Any reason it took so little time for beer to come along?

Even if it's not treated as sacred in itself, wine still has a role in many religions, certainly in Judaism & Catholicism, & of course Islam forbids it along w/other kinds of alcoholic drinks. Could Prof. Lukacs comment on that?

Oct. 18 2013 01:47 PM
Peg from Finger Lakes NY

How were all the different wine yeasts developed?

Oct. 18 2013 01:43 PM
Perry Brandston from Loisaida

How old is the blessing of wine that Jewish people
say every Friday night and at the beginning of every holy day?

Oct. 18 2013 01:40 PM
Estelle from Brooklyn

Leonard, wine with resin is NOT disgusting! It's called Retsina and still drunk and relished in Greece--and by some in America.

Oct. 18 2013 01:37 PM

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