11 Facts To Know About Wine

People are increasingly attending food, wine and beer festivals to satisfy their tastes. Don’t just take our word — a study by Eventbrite found that nearly half of millennials went to five or more food and beverage events in 2014, and were willing to spend around $50 for the ticket to do so.

By those statistics, you’ve likely already gone to a festival or two this year, and you’re looking for another to fill out your calendar. If you haven’t, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered there too. VinePair has partnered with Wine Riot in New York City, and this year’s event has plenty of opportunities to get your wine fill.

“You will be put in a room with 350 different wines, one of every major type of wine from every region in the world,” founder of the event Tyler Balliet tells VinePair. “If you’re already an expert, put together your own tour. For four hours, the world is literally your oyster.”

There are also literally oysters from Brooklyn Oyster Party if that’s your thing. Regardless, it’s an opportunity to learn about the world of wine. Here are some lessons — and the corresponding VinePair lessons — that you can look forward to learning.

1. The Difference between Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava

All bubbly is different. At Wine Riot’s Bubbly Bar, sample sparkling Champagne, Prosecco and Cava to taste the difference for yourself. Before you go, check out VinePair’s comprehensive infographic outlining regional and grape differences, production methods, and taste.

2. Oaked versus unoaked wine

It’s all a matter of taste. If you know the difference between oaked and unoaked wines, you can taste them side by side at Wine Riot. If you don’t know the difference, start with VinePair’s oaked versus unoaked guide.

3. Dry versus sweet

You obviously know what a sweet wine is. That much you can tell from the first taste. But can you gauge the varying levels between sweet and dry? Start here  (and with the fact that dryness just means less residual sugar), check out our sweet wine infographic, then taste away.

4. Young versus mature

Tasting a bottle from the same case of wine throughout the years is one of the joys of wine tasting. But there’s a way to expedite learning between young and old wine tastes: Taste the same producer from different years side by side. Before you get too deep though, check out our guide on aging wine (and why you should do it).

5. Old World versus New World

You probably know that Old World refers to Europe, New World refers to everything else. But do you know how those two delineations affect taste, or which taste you prefer? Here’s VinePair’s guide to what each style means.

6. The Finger Lakes in New York makes exceptional wine

New York has great wines. That’s right, the same state that holds the city you think of as being the ultimate American metropolis has sprawling vineyards that you need to get a taste of. The Finger Lakes, which is one of the best places to see fall vineyards if you make it up there, grows delicious wine grapes like Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Riesling.

7. Prosecco DOCG

Once you’ve learned the difference between the sparkling varieties, you’ll probably want to try some of the best of the best. Price wise, Prosecco has you covered on that front. For a more in depth look into Prosecco, check out VinePair’s guide to the sparkling style, and don’t miss the eight best bottles you can get for your money.

8. Learn and celebrate Garnacha

Garnacha (or Grenache, as it’s known in France) is and under rated grape. You could even call it the Lil Twist of wine grapes. At Wine Riot, the focus is on the Spanish grown version, so it goes by Garnacha.

9. The new wines of South Africa

South Africa is a New World wine region to keep your eye on. Other than traditional varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling, South Africa makes memorable Chenin Blanc and Pinotage.

10. How to order Italian wine

The only thing that makes Italian food better is a proper Italian wine pairing. Start with VinePair’s Italian wine infographic, and then familiarize yourself with Chianti and Nebbiolo. You’re welcome.

11. The story of Malbec and Carmenere

Some of the hottest, most-hyped new world wines are coming out of Argentina and Chile. Two varieties you should know: Malbec (Argentina) and Carmenere (Chile).