Pop the cork! Monday, Feb. 18, is National Drink Wine Day. Set aside some time and join in this fun event that celebrates the thousands of years man has been producing and consuming the age-old grape.
Wine has a flavorful history dating as far back as 6000 B.C. to a part of the world now commonly known as the country of Georgia. In a stunning discovery in 2010, archaeologists excavating in Armenia found prehistoric winemaking equipment dating back 6,100 years.
Romans were also great fans of the fermented grape and used ceramic jugs to age their most prized wines for decades. The expansion of the Roman empire throughout the Mediterranean produced many major wine-producing regions that are still in existence today.
It was the Celts of northern central Europe who began storing and fermenting their wine in barrels, which made it easier to transport. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Christian monks picked up the task. It wasn’t until the 20th century that wine began appearing in quantity on American soil, however. Until then it was almost exclusively the domain of Europe.
Today, over 18 million of the world’s acres are dedicated to growing grapes for wine according to the Wine Institute, which keeps statistics on world vineyard acreage and production by country.
It’s actually good for you
Studies show that moderate wine consumption, defined by the American Heart Association as one to two four-ounce glasses a day, can actually be good for your health. Moderate wine drinkers can reduce their risk of heart attack and lower their risk of heart disease and stroke. Some evidence even suggests that wine can actually improve memory.
Great ideas for celebrating
So time to get down to business. If you feel like going out to celebrate National Drink Wine Day, here are some great wine bars in the D.C. area recommended by the Washington Post:
Or stay home and savor one of these great new wines recommended by Food and Wine.
2002 Pierre Sparr Alsace Pinot Gris Reserve
2002 St. Innocent Pinot Noir Willamette Valley
2001 Borie de Maurel Esprit d’Automne Minervois
Check out these great lower cost options recommended by Mens Health for less than $15.
King Estate Acrobat Pinot Gris 2008
Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2008
Rudi Wiest Rhein River Riesling 2007
Orsolani La Rustia 2008
Kris Pinot Grigio 2008
La Vieille Ferme Rouge 2007
Click here to see the entire list of 16.
Then there's always the on-line option. Consider celebrating National Drink Wine Day while expanding your knowledge of wine at one of the new 'virtual' wine tasting sites.