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Categorized | General

Wine Quiz


*Answers are at the bottom of the quiz.

1.  Sometimes good wines just go… bad! Meaning, of course, that chemical faults can often ruin an otherwise perfectly good bottle of vino. Do you know which chemical compound causes what is known as "cork taint?"

  • A. mercaptans
  • B. 2,4,6-trichloroanisole
  • C. Butyric acid
  • D. Sulfur Dioxide


                                                2.  Sometimes good wines just go… bad! Meaning, of course, that chemical faults can often ruin an otherwise perfectly good bottle of vino. Organic compounds known as mercaptans can cause what kind of off-putting stench in a wine?

                                                • A. Onions and cabbage
                                                • B. Rotten eggs
                                                • C. Potted plants
                                                • D. Burnt matches


                                                3.  Where was the first commercial grapevine nursery in the U.S. established?

                                                • A. Montgomery County in Pennsylvania
                                                • B. Napa Valley in California
                                                • C. Hermann, Missouri
                                                • D. Washington, D.C.


                                                4.  The U.S. state of Colorado has a history of wine production and grape-growing dating back to the 1800s. Since 1990, the number of wineries in Colorado has increased by a factor of…?

                                                • A. 5
                                                • B. 10
                                                • C. 15
                                                • D. 20
                                                • E. 30

                                                5.  Winemakers and grape growers often use sugar ripeness to help determine when grapes are ready to roll for picking and making wine. What scale is used to measure sugar ripeness in the vineyard?

                                                • A. Baumé
                                                • B. Oechsle
                                                • C. KMW
                                                • D. Brix
                                                • E. All of the above


                                                6.  Which U.S. Founding Father once told Washington Judge William Johnson that wines from the Scuppernong grape “would be distinguished on the best tables of Europe for its fine aroma, and chrystalline transparence?”

                                                • A. Benjamin Franklin
                                                • B. Thomas Jefferson
                                                • C. John Adams
                                                • D. George Washington



                                                1.  Wine Quiz Answer:  B. 2,4,6-trichloroanisole

                                                Long the bane of natural cork producers and widely referred to as "cork taint," musty aromas in a wine often indicate the presence of 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA), usually (but not always!) transferred via the cork after the wine is made (hence the name).


                                                2.  Wine Quiz Answer:  A. Onions and cabbage

                                                Mercaptans form when sulfur dioxide and ethyl alcohol combine during winemaking. Usually the result of diethyl mercaptans (which, alas, are untreatable), they result in smells reminiscent of cut onions or even rotting cabbages.


                                                3.  Wine Quiz Answer: A. Montgomery County in Pennsylvania
                                                The nation’s first commercial grapevine nursery was located in Montgomery County (in southeastern Pennsylvania). PA now farms approximately 14,000 acres of grapes, making it the 4th largest area nationally in the amount of grapes grown. The state also ranks 7th overall in the U.S. in wine production.


                                                4.  Wine Quiz Answer: D. 20
                                                Colorado now has approximately 100 wineries, most of them established within the last 20 years, and primarily finding fine wine success with the cooler-climate European grape varieties Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Cabernet Franc.


                                                5.  Wine Quiz Answer: E. All of the above

                                                Confusingly, a common standard for measuring grape sugar ripeness across the winemaking world has not yet been achieved. The U.S. and Australia have largely adopted Brix, in France the Baumé is used, and Germany and Austria favor the Oechsle and KMW. Like Fahrenheit and Centigrade scales for temperature, the different sugar ripeness scales can be converted to one another (and all of them to what they’re designed to primarily do, which is estimate a finished wine’s potential alcohol percentage).


                                                6.  Wine Quiz Answer: B. Thomas Jefferson
                                                Jefferson, who appreciated fine European wine and long toiled (mostly unsuccessfully) to make fine wine of his own at his Virginia Monticello estate, apparently was a homer when it came to predicting the potential of fine wine in America. His generous feelings about the future of Scuppernong (which is largely viewed as not normally being able to create fine wines) seem to be based on wines made from the grape at the time in North Carolina.

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