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A Wine Quiz for the Dog Days of Summer
By Marguerite Thomas
Aug 16, 2016
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It’s a lazy, late-summer day, too hot for reading some long drawn-out essay about wine, right?  Instead, I urge you to grab your laptop and crawl back under that beach umbrella (or at least crank up the AC in your office) and try your hand at this fun wine-themed trivia quiz.  You’ll find the answers to the questions at the bottom of the quiz.


1. Which of the following has the world’s second highest fruit crop cash value--outranked only by the tomato?


a. Oranges

b. Grapes

c. Bananas


2. What percentage of wine grapes worldwide belong to the species Vitis vinifera?


a. 98%

b. 75%

c. 66%


3: The use of one Vitis species for almost all grape growing has resulted in extensive clonal relationships and limited diversity, but consumers’ and the wine industry’s preference for traditional varieties makes the acceptance of new V. vinifera cultivars difficult.  Unfortunately, this lack of diversity has left grape cultivars susceptible to many continually evolving pathogens such as Pierce’s disease. How much does Pierce’s cost the California wine industry annually?


a. $24 million

b. $92 million

c. $105 million


4. Humans have been drinking wine for thousands of years.  The earliest archaeological evidence of cultivated grapes comes from grape seeds and occasional skin and wood remains found in the southern Caucasus and dating from the Neolithic period, about 9,000 y old.  The oldest evidence of wine is from:


a) A jar dated 7,400 to 7,000 y ago, from the foothills of the Zagros Mountains near where present-day Iran meets Turkey and Iraq

b) A recently discovered tomb painting depicting men crushing grapes by foot in lower Mesopotamia and Egypt, where numerous grape varieties were cultivated as early as 4,500 y ago

c) An ancient Greek goblet with flakes of wine residue from about 3000 years ago


5. Koshu is:


a) One of Japan’s most widely planted and popular wine grapes

b) A type of sake noted for its amber color

c) A Japanese wine company known for its award wining Chardonnay


6. Which of the following is an indigenous Italian grape?


a) Caricalasino

b) Scacciadebito

c) Pulcinculo


7. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced the availability of $8.4 million in available funding for 


a) Research on combatting Pierce’s Disease in California’s vineyards

b) To study and develop new approaches for the agriculture sector to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change

c) Researching the connection between minerals in soil and the perception of minerality in the taste of wine


8. Wine production in China started in


a) 1986

b) the 19th century

c) 9,000 years ago


9. What do Charbono, Douce Noir and Corbeau have in common?


a) They were all pop singers in the 1960s

b) They are all up-and-coming wineries in France’s Languedoc region

c) They are all the same grape.


10. Who wrote: “A diet particularly rich in plant foods, as the French and Mediterranean diets are, supplies precisely the B vitamins that drinking alcohol depletes.  How fortunate!”


a) Plato

b) Arianna Huffington

c) Michael Pollen



1. b) Grapes.  Although they are grown primarily for wine, grapes are also used fresh, dried and in juice.  According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in 2013 grapes had the second highest global gross production value among fruit crops, exceeded only by tomatoes.


2. a) 98%.  Almost all grape cultivars grown commercially are either V. vinifera or hybrids that include V. vinifera parentage.


3. b) $92 million. Many industry professional believe that the ultimate future of the wine industry relies on the exploration of new genetic diversity through breeding.


4. a) The jar, located at the University of Pennsylvania Museum, has residues of tartaric acid and resin from the terebinth tree.  Among natural products tartaric acid occurs in large amounts only in grapes.  Terebinth resin was a wine preservative used all over the ancient Near East for millennia.


5. a) The Japanese grape Koshu has contributed significantly to the growth of the Japanese wine industry.  Koshu is known for its distinct pale purple skin and the wine’s aromatic characteristics that are said to be similar to Sauvignon blanc.


6. a), b) and c). Ian D’Gata, in his book Native Wine Grapes of Italy, says that Italy has over 377 native and genetically distinct grape varieties including Caricalasino (roughly translated as “Load up the donkey”), Scacciadebito (“Pay the debt”), and Pulcinculo (“Fleas up your rear end”).


7. b) NIFA’s $8.4 million is targeted for study and development for new approaches by the agriculture sector for adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change.  The funding is available through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), which is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.


8. c) Wine production in China started 9000 years ago and currently includes the products of Chinese-developed hybrid grapes, wild grapes of China, and some European Vitis vinifera varieties.


9. c) Charbonno is California’s name for Douce Noir, a grape from France’s Savoie region that is also known there as Corbeau.


10. c) In his book In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan wrote: “A diet particularly rich in plant foods, as the French and Mediterranean diets are, supplies precisely the B vitamins that drinking alcohol depletes.  How fortunate!  Someday science may comprehend all the complex synergies at work in a traditional diet that includes wine, but until then we can marvel at its accumulated wisdom--and raise a glass to paradox!”