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In Vino Veritas

As you may know, the Latin phrase (by Pliny the Elder) “in vino veritas” translates into English as, “in wine there is truth.” The phrase suggests that a person under the influence of alcohol is more likely to speak the truth as he or she sees it. The phrase is sometimes continued as, “in vino veritas, in aqua a sanitas,” “In wine there is truth, in water there is good sense.” The oldest archaeological evidence of wine produced from grapes has been found at sites in China (c.7000,BC), Georgia (c. 6000 BC), Iran (c. 5000 BC),Greece (c. 4500 BC), and Sicily (c. 4000 BC).

No one puts it better than Worldwide Wine Tours in introducing the history of Italian wines. For the perfect fusion of food, wine and culture, there is simply nowhere like Italy. It’s no surprise that wine tours in Italy have grown tremendously in popularity. Beyond wine country there is so much more: the canals of Venice, the leaning tower of Pisa, the Roman Coliseum, the halls of the Vatican or sunny Mediterranean beaches. Every corner of Italy is steeped in history and rich in the treasures of the past, but alive with cutting edge style. A wine getaway in Italy means experiencing la dolce vita – the sweet life. Equally impressive in their opening introduction of California wineries is Worldwide Wine Tours. The state motto of California is “Eureka,” which means “I have found it.” When it comes to wine, those who love the fruit of the vine will find it easy to utter this exclamation in nearly every corner of this magnificent state. Taking a wine-focused vacation to sunny California will lead you to some of the very finest wines and wineries anywhere in the world today.

How many wineries are registered in Napa County, CA? The answer is approximately 1,700 registered wineries according to the Alcoholic Beverage Control of California. Those with tasting room facilities number is closer to 500. How many wineries are registered in Sonoma County, CA? 425

Italian wine industry pioneers and their surnames abound throughout California:

Simi (1876), Foppliano (1896), Martinelli (1896), Bargetto (1910), Delicato (1924),

Petrocelli (1927), Parducci (1933), Pellegrini (1933), Tedeschi (1946), and many more.

Italian / American Wine Quiz

The following 25 question wine quiz will give you an excellent starting point in understanding the Italian and Italian-American wine industries.

Italian Wine Questions: 1] Nebbiolo is the most important wine grape variety of Italy's Piemonte region and is

used to make wines such as Barolo, and Barbaresco. The name comes from the Italian word nebbia, which means?


2] Roman god of wine.

ANSWER: Bacchus 3] This country has a third of the world's cork forests and supplies 85-90% of the cork used in the U.S.

ANSWER: Portugal 4] The Italian word for "flask," it is most often connected with the squat, round- bottomed, straw-covered bottle containing cheaper wine from Italy’s Chianti region. In English, the word translate as “a complete failure.”

ANSWER: Fiasco 5] An Italian wine company that can trace its history back to 1385 AD is one of the biggest wine companies not only in Italy, but the world. Their major innovations played a large part in the development of the Super-Tuscan and its IGT coding (indicazione geografica tipica, meaning a wine typical of a particular geographic area). Name the family and company.

ANSWER: Antinori 6] Soave and Recioto di Soave are white wines produced in what Italian region? ANSWER: Veneto 7] What fortified wine, flavored with aromatic herbs, was invented in Italy’s Piemonte region?

ANSWER: Vermouth 8] Under Italian wine law (established in 1963) this alphabetical coding is the highest designation of quality among Italian wines. The initials stand for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, or in English, Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin.

ANSWER: DOCG 9] Italian word denoting lively, as in lightly bubbly wines. ANSWER: Vivace

10] Usually imported from the Trentino and Friuli regions of Italy, what white wine has grown in popularity in the United States to capture the number two position, after Chardonnay?

ANSWER: Pinot Grigio 11] What region, established by Cosimo de Medici, is the world's oldest officially defined wine-growing region of Italy.

ANSWER: Chianti 12] Sicily's most famous wine was first made in a western port city bearing the same name. A fortified wine with an alcohol content of around twenty percent. It is usually made from native Grillo, Catarratto, or Inzolia grapes.

ANSWER: Marsala 13] What culture once considered it bad manners to drink wine at full strength and always added water to their wine cup?

ANSWER: Romans 14] Bettino Ricasoli, founder of Brolio, is credited with having created the original recipe by combining two red grapes (Sangiovese and Canaiolo) and two white grapes (Malvasia and Trebbiano).What had Ricasoli created? Note: Trebbiano grape is no longer used in the blend.

ANSWER: Chianti Classico 15] In the history of wine making, Romans developed wine vintages from circa 130 BC, and established vineyards across their empire, from France and Germany to England. The Romans replaced the traditional Greek amphorae (large pottery jars holding up to 75 liters), with what type of wooden storage containers?

ANSWER: Barrels 16] Developed as a bottle closure in the late 17th century, it was only after this innovation that bottles were lain down for aging, and the bottle shapes slowly changed from short and spherical to tall and slender. Identify the term.


17] Spumante in Italian wine nomenclature indicates what type of wine? ANSWER: Sparkling

Italian-American Wine Questions: 18] Based in Asti, California, Andrea Sbarboro born in Genova, Italy founded this winery as an agricultural colony to provide work for the many Italians who had migrated to San Francisco. For years his company was the leading wine producer in California. In 1953 it was acquired by Louis Petri of Petri Wine (founded in 1886). Its iconic television ads featured Ludwig Stössel (voiced by Jim Backus; yodeling by Bob Oates) with the catchphrase "The little old winemaker – me!" appeared regularly on American national television. Name this company. ANSWER: Italian Swiss Colony

19] According to U.S. wine law, the percentage of alcohol in table wine must fall between a minimum of 7% and a maximum of ____%. The alcohol percentage must be printed on the label.

ANSWER: 14% 20] With the late Julia Child, this man founded the prestigious American Institute of Wine and Food. His California winery, established in 1966, is still one of California's largest wine producers. More than any other individual, he put Napa Valley and all of California on the world wine map, transforming a group of unambitious farm wineries into a respected statewide industry with sales of $15 billion last year and employing 150,000 workers. Identify the man whose family is from the Marche region of Italy.

ANSWER: Robert Mondavi 21] With over $5 billion in yearly sales, what Modesto, California based company is responsible for a high percentage of the total U.S. wine production?

ANSWER: E&J Gallo 22] Of the nineteen wineries in and around the Sonoma town of Geyserville, two are owned by film icon and renowned director Francis Ford Coppola. One bears his name, the other bears the name of the first British child born in America whose name was used to sell the first commercial wine after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. She was born in 1587 in the mystery-laden Roanoke Colony of North Carolina, and disappeared with the rest of the colony three years later. Coppola’s winery takes its name from the missing child and the other colonists who all disappeared.

ANSWER: Virginia Dare Winery 23] In 1919, John Mariani, Sr. founded what company that today is one of the world's leading wine merchants and oldest family-run wine importer.

ANSWER: Banfi Vintners 24] The Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, also known as the Judgment of Paris, was a wine competition organized in Paris on May 24, 1976 by Steven Spurrier, a British wine merchant. The tasting saw French judges carry out two blind tasting comparisons: one of top-quality Chardonnays and another of red wines (Bordeaux wines from France and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California). For the past 200 years, French wines were regarded beyond question as being the best wines in the world. The results were earth-shattering in the red and white wines from Napa County California that placed first in both categories. Name the winning wineries. ANSWERS: RED: Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, 1st Place Cabernet Sauvignon

WHITE: Chateau Montelena, 1st Place Chardonnays

25] This sweet fizzy wine from Italy was one of the few sale success stories during the 1950s and 60s. With the Riunite cooperative advertising behind the product, Americans learned to mix wine with spirits or soda.

ANSWER: Lambrusco


Italian wine is produced in every region of Italy, home to some of the oldest wine- producing regions in the world. Italy is the world's largest producer of wine, with an area of 702,000 hectares under vineyard cultivation, and contributing a 2013–2017 annual average of 48.3 million hl of wine. In 2018 Italy accounted for 19 percent of global production, ahead of France and Spain. Italian wine is both exported around the world and popular domestically among Italians, who consume an average of 42 liters per capita, ranking fifth in world wine consumption.

Winners of the 1976 Judgement of Paris Red White Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Chateau Montelena 1 st Place Cabernet Sauvignon 1st Place Chardonnays 5766 Silverado Trail 1429 Tubbs Lane Napa, CA 94558 Calistoga, CA 94515


The 2008 movie Bottle Shock is based on the true story of how California wines were recognized to match or even to surpass French wines. The movie stars Alan Rickman (Galaxy Quest), Chris Pine (Star Trek), and Bill Pullman (Independence Day). Filmed in Napa County, California. Available on DVD at Amazon.

I also highly recommend reading John F. Mariani’s How Italian Food Conquered World. Copyright 2011, Published by St. Martin’s Griffin. Available at Amazon

The strict Italian wine coding system has the toughest wine codes in the world of wine that was adopted in 1963. The Italian government stated, "The IGT designation opened up new paths for winemakers who wanted to venture outside the relatively strict confines of the DOC and DOCG categories without, however, making concessions on the level of quality." Ratings, rankings, and awards beginning in the 1980s always showed Italian wines among the best of any year. In just a single decade, Italian wines had achieved legitimacy and fashionable clout beyond what anyone might have imagined a decade before. By the 1980s, Italian wines were sought out not for their bottles but for their beauty, refinement, and taste.

Only then did the term "dago red" pass out of existence---and that was a hugely satisfying triumph for Italian wine.

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