Are our wines suitable for vegetarians?
The answer is Yes! The basic ingredients in wine are grapes and yeast. Other compounds that may be added during fermentation include sugar, tartaric acid, pectic enzymes, and tannins derived from wood. Some winemakers add fining agents after fermentation that are possibly derived from animal products such as gelatin, egg whites, isinglass (derived from fish), and casein (derived from milk). I, being a vegetarian myself, never use these products. A related question that we get at the winery is if our wines are gluten-free. The answer to that question is yes as well.
How do you prevent hangovers over the holidays?
We all do a little too much drinking (hopefully wine) over the holidays and then spend even more time complaining about our hangovers. Besides the obvious answer of not drinking so much, what else can be done? One of the keys to preventing hangovers is to stay hydrated! Make sure you drink one glass of water for every glass of wine you drink – I know it sounds like a lot, but force yourself to do it and you’ll be so happy you did in the morning.
Another tip is to make sure you have fatty foods in your stomach before drinking which makes the alcohol absorb slower. Finally, one study suggests that people who are happy while drinking and not feeling guilty about it, have less hangover symptoms. So eat fatty foods, drink water and be happy about it – simple!
How many calories are in a glass of wine?
This is one of the most common questions I get via email! There is a very handy calculation to approximate the number of calories; multiply the number of ounces times the alcohol content times 1.6. You can do this either by the bottle (approx. 25 ounces) or by the glass (the ounces will depend on how much of the bottle you drink!) So a bottle of 13% alcohol wine contains 25 x 13 x 1.6 or 520 calories. If you have a 6-oz glass of wine (or a quarter of a bottle), which is pretty typical, that equates to about 130 calories per glass.
Now all of the above is for dry wine. If you drink sweet wine, you need to add in the sugar calories. A simple approximation is multiply the residual sugar percentage by 30 to get total additional calories per bottle. A bottle of our Riesling contains about 3% residual sugar so add 90 calories per bottle.
Is our wine gluten-free?
All wine is inherently gluten-free, but there has been concern over the use of wheat paste used by some traditional coopers when they construct barrels. This process has led to people with gluten intolerance avoiding barrel-aged wines, which may be unnecessary. The practice of using wheat paste has largely been replaced with wax by most cooperage houses and those that still use it only use very small amounts. The founder of glutenfreewatchdog.org tested wine aged in oak barrels that were coopered with the wheat paste and found the wine contained less than 10 ppm – the FDA considers less than 20 ppm gluten-free. Hopefully, this is comforting news for those that love wine but have an issue with gluten!
Is red wine really good for you?
We get a lot of people in the tasting room whose doctor has told them to start drinking red wine for their health. How encouraging! So what exactly is going on in red wine that benefits your health? The first benefit comes from the alcohol itself; moderate amounts of alcohol raise the good cholesterol, prevent the bad cholesterol from forming, and also thin blood, thus having cardiovascular benefits. This is true for alcohol in white wine, beer, and liquor as well as red wine. However, red wine contains compounds that these other types of alcohols do not. When red grapes are fermented in contact with the skins, antioxidants like resveratrol and other polyphenols are leached from the skins into the wine. These antioxidants attack free radicals in the body and are thought to aid in prevention of some forms of cancers and also reduce the risk of heart disease. There have been some studies that link the compounds in red wine to the possible prevention or postponement of dementia diseases like Alzheimers. Something that tastes good with all those benefits is a must on everyone’s dinner table!
What are the benefits of grapeseed oil?
Grapeseed oil is made by cold-pressing the seeds of grapes, after the grapes are used to make wine. It is ecological since what is typically a waste product is being used. It has a high smoke point which makes it ideal for sautéing or frying. Its relatively neutral flavor makes it perfect for salad dressings and marinades since it won?t overpower other flavors. Also, it emulsifies well and stays liquid in the fridge so you can use the cold salad dressing right away. Grapeseed oil is high in Omega 6 and studies have shown that it can help decrease LDL or bad cholesterol.
We sell grapeseed oil made in California (sure wish somebody would set up shop in PA!) in cans and also oil infused with flavor in bottles. I use the plain stuff in cans to make my kids? chocolate chip cookies, corn muffins, salad dressings, sautéed veggies ? you name it! It's also very good for your skin and I make a salt scrub with it to use in the shower. An all around awesome product!
Why does wine cause headaches?
There are a few reasons why drinking wine could cause a headache and the answer really depends on the individual. The first cause is simply dehydration. Not keeping your body hydrated when drinking any alcohol can cause a headache. The second cause is tannins. Tannins, which are found in the skins of grapes and are the compound that causes your mouth to feel dry and puckery when you're drinking red wine, have been shown to make the body release seratonins and high levels of seratonins can cause headaches. Tannins are present at much higher levels in red wine than in white wine, so if only red wine gives you headaches, tannins may be the cause. The third potential cause is histamines. Histamines are also present in the skins of grapes and the fact that some people lack an enzyme to break down histamines efficiently has led researchers to believe that histamines can contribute to headaches. This theory, however, has been questioned based on other studies that have not supported it. Once again, only red wines would cause headaches if histamines were the culprit. The last potential cause of headaches is sulfites. This theory is questionable, however, because typically white wine contains more sulfites than red wine and red wine is usually to blame for headaches. Also, a more typical response to sulfites is respiratory problems rather than headaches.
So what should you do if you get headaches? I personally make sure that I drink one glass of water for each glass of wine consumed. If you think tannins may be the cause, try and choose red wines that are lower in tannin content; for example, drink Chambourcin instead of Cabernet Sauvignon. The histamine hypothesis people believe that taking an anti-histamine before drinking wine could help. Obviously, asking the advice of your doctor would be a good idea. Another good idea would be to keep a log of which wines that you drink cause the headaches and see if any kind of pattern emerges - hopefully your favorite wines are not the culprits!