We all know that beer can create a beer belly, but wine does not affect your waistline at all. In fact, recent studies showed that “women who routinely drank moderate amounts of alcohol, totaling about one drink per day, carried almost 10 pounds less body fat than women who did not drink at all.” Experts believe that the calories in alcohol are not metabolized in the same way as calories from carbohydrates, fats or protein. So if you are about to start a diet to lose weight, then you should consider having a glass of wine instead of chocolate pudding for dessert.

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Did you know California produces about 85% of all U.S wine? That generates more than 300,000 jobs in the state, and nearly 800,000 nationwide. $35 billion dollars in wages are paid nationally.  Local and national governments receive $15.2 billion in taxes. California wine exports exceed one billion dollars annually, and more than 20 million tourists visit California wine regions each year. Think about the money that brings in. Fortunately, for those of us who live in this bountiful state and don’t have to travel far to enjoy our exceptional wine.

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You’ve likely heard about the positive effects of wine consumption, now there’s more proof. The University of Cambridge has announced that 1 to 2 glasses of red wine per day is associated with a 9 percent reduced risk in suffering an ischemic stroke, while women who drink just one glass or less of wine per day were 12 percent less at risk. Ischemic stroke accounts for about 88 percent of all strokes. Also, compared with those who don’t drink at all, people who drink a moderate amount of wine every day are less likely to die of Alzheimer’s or heart disease. However, they are once again confirming that more than 2 glasses a day increases the risk of all types of strokes. It’s a fine line but one worth noting.

 

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Surprise! 53% of the grapes harvested are for table grapes and raisins. As far as wine goes Chardonnay is the most planted wine variety at 29%, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon at 22%, Pinot Noir comes in at 18%, Merlot is 14%, Zinfandel is about 9% and Sauvignon Blanc is a mere 4% but growing steadily. Of course, these numbers are constantly changing.

 

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About 16 years ago a DNA test showed that Cabernet Sauvignon is a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. Vine breeding wasn’t well understood when Cabernet Sauvignon showed up in the 17 century so it’s likely it was unintentional. The result of cross breeding Cabernet Sauvignon has been linked to other varietals. A cross of Cab Sauvignon and Grenache produced a French wine grape called Marselan. With cross breeding it’s no surprise there are over 10,000 varieties of wine grapes in the world.

 

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It represents the region or varietal to some degree. A Bordeaux varietal, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, is narrow and has a defined shoulder where it quickly slopes out from the neck. The Burgundian varietal of Pinot Noir is fatter and gradually slopes from the neck to the body. There’s no definite spot where the neck begins and the body ends. These two bottle shapes evolved out of tradition from Europe. Most winemakers continue to honor their European ancestors.

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