Wine is made from grapes, and these are different from the ones we consume as a fruit. They are small, sweet, thick skinned, and have seeds. There are over a thousand varieties of wine grapes around the world. Wine finds its origins thousands of years ago in China and parts of Europe. With the European expansion, it got a strong foothold in the continent and with immigration of people, this art spread to other parts of the world like the United States and Argentina.
Currently, France is the highest wine-producing country followed by Italy, Spain, USA and Argentina. If we locate these regions on the world map, we realise that these areas fall within similar weather belts (latitudes), which, in turn, points to the fact that wine requires specific weather conditions in addition to the geographic environment.
My personal favorite is Mosel Valley in Germany. The valley is named after the River Mosel that meanders through it. The region is Germany’s third largest wine producing region but tops the list in terms of international repute and prestige. The small cafes and wineries by the roadside offer a picturesque view and freshly produced crisp wine to sip on.
These are broadly the types of wine. The shape of a wine glass is a vital element to the whole experience of drinking wine.
The entire experience of tasting a red wine is not just in sipping it, but in smelling it as well. Hence, red wines are best served in large wine glasses. The bowls of these glasses will be fuller and rounder with a larger opening than other wine glasses of similar capacities in order to allow you to dip your nose into the glass to detect aroma. This bowl style is also vital because the larger surface area ensures that the wine comes in contact with more air, which augments the aroma and flavor of the wine.
The bowl of a white wine glass is narrower and upright than that of a red wine glass, allowing the aromas to be released while also maintaining a cooler temperature. Slightly larger openings direct the wine to the tip and sides of the tongue. This helps one taste the sweetness of the wine in its entirety. The glass for more mature white wines will be straighter and taller to dispense the wine to the back and sides of the tongue to taste its bolder flavors precisely. Sparkling wines are served in the narrowest and tallest glasses to retain the carbonation.
Dessert or Fortified wines are sweet wines as the name suggests. The glass to serve these are the smallest amongst all wine glass categories. This is because Dessert wines are high in alcohol percentage (15%), and hence, are served in small quantities.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. The subject of wine-tasting in itself is vast and highly detailed.
One would think that the aesthetic sense in packaging of wine bottles is of utmost importance because wine is many a times drunk at special occasions or given as a gift. While there is some truth to this, some designers globally have taken a step further to communicate a certain message or brought an aspect of design thinking to designing wine bottle labels. Here are some of our favorites:
nto a fully functional (and well-designed) slatted lamp. This is rightly called the Wine Case Lamp, and also treads on the sustainable practice of up-cycling in product design.
Screaming Eagle is a classic example of what branding entails. Here, the packaging is average, the name is irrelevant, and from the reviews on Google, the wine doesn’t taste absolutely brilliant either. And yet, Screaming Eagle is the most expensive wine in the world.
A whooping $500,000 (Rs. 3.2 crore) a bottle! This is a collector’s item and is usually considered an investment. The producer has maintained exclusivity and produces limited quantities of the wine. There is an aura of legacy, rarity, individuality and aristocratic privilege around this wine, which is the essence of the brand.