PositiveVines Helpful Hints

PositiveVines’ Helpful Definition: Sustainable farming – the production of food, fiber, or other plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare.

PositiveVines’ Helpful Definition: Decant – gradually pour the wine from one container to another to let the wine breath.

PositiveVines’ Helpful Tip: Most Chardonnays from California have a round, buttery taste. This is due to the use of French Oak barrels in the fermentation process.

PositiveVines’ Helpful Tip: The Sauvignon Blanc varietal probably got its name from two French words – Sauvage (meaning wild) and Blan (meaning white).This green-skinned grape was considered to be a wild vine versus one of the sought after ancient vines.

PositiveVines ‘HelpfulTip: The Merlot grape originated in the Bordeaux region of France. It is a widely planted and early harvested dark red grape that is hard to categorize. Merlot grapes can be used alone or in a variety of red wine blends.

PositiveVines ‘HelpfulTip: The Muscato Bianco grape produces a wine with a lower alcohol content (5.5%) than the average wine (12-13%).

PositiveVines ‘HelpfulTip: Pinot Noir is often compared against Cabernet Sauvignon varietals in terms of body and boldness. Pinot is much lighter and should be enjoyed within 4 to 5 years of bottling versus a Cabernet Sauvignon which can age quite well for 10 to 20 years.

PositiveVines ‘HelpfulTip: Sonoma Valley is known as the birthplace of wine production in California. Just north of San Francisco, the earliest vineyards in Sonoma survived major epidemics and prohibition.

PositiveVines ‘HelpfulTip: Sparkling wine is made by not allowing the escape of gases created from the fermentation of sugar and yeast. The gases return into the wine and are released when you pop the cork, creating tiny bubbles. It can only be called Champagne if it comes from the Champagne region of France.

PositiveVines ‘HelpfulTip: Why can Korbel be labeled a champagne if it is produced outside of France? The Treaty of Versailles established the ownership of the Champagne label to the Champagne region of France. And while the U.S. signed the treaty, the U.S. Senate never ratified it thereby producing a loophole in the use of the title.

PositiveVines’ Helpful Definition: Varietal – a variety of wine made primarily from a single named grape.

PositiveVines ‘HelpfulTip: The Cabernet Sauvignon varietal came into existence through the accidental breeding of the red Cabernet Franc grape plant with a white Sauvignon Blanc grape plant.

PositiveVines ‘HelpfulTip: AOC translates into controlled designation of origin. It is used to regulate production and sales of not only wine in France but, also of cheeses, butters and other agricultural products.

PositiveVines‘ HelpfulTip: “Sur lie” aging is a technique that allows the wines to age with residual yeasts in order to extract additional flavors that may be missed by filtering the wine to remove yeasts at the start of the fermentation process.

PositiveVines‘ HelpfulTip: Aeration is commonly referred to as letting a wine breath. The idea is that a wine will soften and the flavors become more pronounced once the wine hits the air. The best way to aerate a wine is to pour it in a decanter or carafe.

PositiveVines‘ HelpfulTip: Appellation is a legally defined and protected geographical area that is used to identify where the grapes for a particular wine were grown.

PositiveVines‘ HelpfulTip: Experiment with muddling your mint leaves. A muddler can be purchased at any beverage store (it looks like a mini baseball bat). Some mixologists recommend just slightly pressing on the mint to release the flavor and avoid getting any of the bitterness of the herb. Others prefer the full flavor of the mint.

Positivevines Helpful Hint: Lagrein grapes are native to Northern Italy. This grape produces strong, full-bodied wines with flavors of plum and cherry. The Lagrein grape is also used in blends with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

PositiveVines‘ HelpfulTip: Württemberg’s vineyards are on the slop of the Neckar River. This region produces some of Germany’s finest wines and is also home to some of the finest cars in the world – Audi, Porsche and Mercedes Benz.

Positivevines Helpful Hint: Cabernet Franc is similar in composition to Cabernet Sauvignon. Growing this grape varietal in chalky, sandy soil produces fuller bodied wines like Inkblot. This is a sturdy grape classified as an “insurance” crop in Bordeaux where unexpected cool weather may negatively impact other varietals.

PositiveVines helpful hint – Blending is used to maximize the complexity of a wine. Adding the deep red Teroldego varietal grape from Northern Italy, adds more tannins to produce a fuller bodied taste.

PositiveVines Helpful Hint: A microclimate is an area within a larger region that has a climate different than the surrounding areas. Colchugua enjoys a microclimate that is cooled by the breezes from the Pacific Ocean.


“Queen of the Vineyards” – Theodora Lee of Theopolis Vineyards

“Queen of the Vineyards” – Theodora Lee of Theopolis Vineyards

The name Theopolis is associated with a high priest from the Bible referenced in the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. And in my case, it’s also associated with the name of one of my high school classmates. Theo, who is an accomplished musician, is the only...

Garnacha and Grenache – Spain and France together!

Garnacha and Grenache – Spain and France together!

You like “potayto” and I like “potahto”. You like “tomayto” and I like “tomahto”. “Potayto”, “potahto”, “tomayto”, “tomahto”! You like Garnacha and I like Grenache! At the end of the day it’s simple semantics. If you’re ever heard of the grape you might have wondered...

From Big Tex to French Vineyards

From Big Tex to French Vineyards

Medal Awarded to Dr TV Munson There are many historic and celebrated connections between France and the U.S. Likewise, there are many direct and celebrated connections between France and Texas. Aside from the recognition of Texas as a country by France, the history of...


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