Frequently Asked Questions


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  • What does “Vintage” mean?
    The vintage year on a wine label is the harvest year of the grapes from which the wine was made. The characteristics of a particular vintage year are determined by the weather conditions and resulting grape crop for that year. A California wine with a vintage date must be made from at least 95% of grapes harvested in the designated year.


  • Why are some wines white, some red, some pink?
    White wines are generally made with grapes with yellow or green skins. White wines can also be made from black-skinned grapes if the juice is separated from the grape skins early enough-i.e., before fermentation. Red wines get their color from being fermented in contact with the skins of dark grapes. Rose’ gets its pink color by either a short contact time with the skins of dark-colored grapes before fermentation or by mixing finished red wine with finished white wine.


  • Why do some wines give you a headache?
    Histamines, found in the skins of grapes, seem to give some people headaches if they are sensitive to histamines. Red wine will affect a histamine sensitive wine drinker more than white wine because red wine has spent more time in contact with grape skins.


  • What does it mean when a wine is sweet or dry?
    A sweet wine is one that has a level of residual sugar that gives it a sweet taste. There is no indication of sweetness in a dry wine due to its low level of residual sugar. An off-dry wine is one that is slightly sweet.


  • Is it necessary to swirl wine in the glass before you taste it?
    It is not necessary. The reason for swirling wine in the glass is to release its aroma. Swirl if you enjoy taking in the wine’s aroma, otherwise get straight to tasting it.


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