Over the years, we have been collecting questions that we are often asked in the tasting room referring to wine and grapes. We are always happy to answer your questions but have decided it would be easier for people to have some more tangible answers rather than just taking our word for it. Without further ado, here are 11 of the most frequently asked questions here at HH…
Can you eat the grapes off the vines? No, while the grapes growing on our vines are an actual fruit that can be consumed, we would like to save them to make more delicious wine. But, I promise that each grape is just as delicious as the wine they produce!
Is it ever recommended to chill red wine? Red wine is meant to be enjoyed at 5 degrees under room temperature to help showcase the fruits. A cellar can provide this slightly cooler temperature, but unfortunately, not everyone has a cellar, so drinking red wine at room temperature is recommended as opposed to chilling the wine in a refrigerator.
Do wines with screw-caps age as well as wines with cork? Wines with screw-caps have always been looked at as lesser quality wine compared to wines with corks. However, screw-caps were designed because wine makers were getting tired of low quality corks ruining their wines. Some really excellent wines have screw tops because it was the wine maker’s preference. Studies have shown a noticeable difference between wine that has aged with a cork and wine that has aged with a screw-cap but it is not necessarily a bad difference, just slight changes in color and brightness on the palate. You might want to be the judge on whether or not you enjoy an aged screw-cap wine.
Is there a simple way to learn about and explore the tastes of wine? Learning about wine takes some time and getting knowledge from accurate sources. We suggest opening your mind and be willing to try anything and everything to learn what your preferences are. We also have some great wine experts here at Hawk Haven that would love to talk to you about wine and even take you on a tour of our vineyard and winery to inform you of the wine making process. You can also follow this link to read what other sommeliers have to say to beginner wine enthusiasts.
How do wines get their names? A popular question we often hear is how do we name our wines? Most of our wines are actually named from the varietal they are made from. Grape varietals that we make as standalone wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Riesling, Albarino, Tempranillo, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Syrah, Pinot Grigio, Gerwurztraminer, and Viognier. Those are all grapes grown here and we even have more varieties in our different blends.
Why does red wine cause headaches? Many people believe that the sulfites in wine causes them headaches but that is just a myth. The reason for your headaches are actually from the histamines, which dilate your blood vessels and cause flushing and inflammatory sensations. Another headache inducing factor is the tyramine found in wine and this is what constricts your blood vessels, causing your blood pressure to rise and give you a headache. Drinking a full glass of water along with your wine should prevent your headache from ruining your drinking!
Which is healthier- red or white? Both white and red wine have excellent health benefits. White wine can improve heart and lung health and prevent heart disease. Red wine can improve heart and lung health but also has a powerful antioxidant provided by the fermenting grape skins. This antioxidant is called resveratrols that help prevent blood clots and protect your blood vessels. Polyphenols are another antioxidant in red wine that can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Both have about the same calorie count of around 70-80 calories for 3-5 ounces. Red wine seems to have a tad more health benefits, but both red and white do have notable health benefits. So drink up, but watch out for the residual sugar levels!
What is residual sugar? Residual sugar is leftover sugar from the grapes after fermentation takes place. Sweeter wines have a higher percentage of residual sugar, while dryer wines (like ours), have lower percentages or no residual sugar at all! Residual sugar is left when the yeast hasn’t turned all the sugar from the grapes into alcohol. Wines can be categorized as dry, off-dry, semi-sweet, medium sweet, and very sweet from the percentage of residual sugar as well.
Is the flavor in wine actually from different fruits? Some wines are combined with other fruits such as Cranberry or Blueberry. Hawk Haven doesn’t produce any fruit wines but our grapes do offer different flavor compositions that give our wines a fruity flavor from the surrounding environment and natural causes. Wine that is aged in our oak barrels will have more of an oaky taste and the wine will pick up aromas of cinnamon, vanilla spice, mocha, chocolate and coconut depending on the type of barrel used. So, when you hear someone talk about the different flavors on the palate, now you know where those flavors are coming from.
Why aren’t all wines vegan? During the wine making process, the grape juice is filtered through “fining agents” which remove yeast and cloudiness from the wine. Often animal-derived products are used as the fining agents. At Hawk Haven we don’t usually use animal-derived products, but it doesn’t hurt to ask next time you’re in!
Why are their different wine glass shapes? The shape of your wine glass is usually determined by the type of wine you are drinking. WineFolly.com has a great explanation of the difference in wine glasses.
We hope that you found this little FAQ helpful and informative. Now go out into the wine world with more knowledge and a better understanding of your alcohol!