I’ve been around British Columbia wine country over the last couple of days, and I’ve found myself taking note of the many myths about wine that one overhears around tasting rooms and in restaurants. Today, let’s put three of these to rest.
Nope, they don’t put peaches in the wine.
This one is more common than you’d think. I can understand how a novice can mistake someone waxing on about a wine being full of apples and pears as speaking literally, but those elements aren’t actually in the wine. We use descriptors of other foods and such as a common way to communicate a wine’s character, but those flavour notes are simply characteristics a grape variety or, say, an influence of oak can bring. Don’t worry, they didn’t actually put leather in your Syrah!
I’ve actually heard people say they prefer French wines because they don’t have sulphites in them. First off, that’s untrue right out of the gates. It’s pretty much impossible for a wine to not have at least traces of sulphites in them. When you combine your fresh-pressed grape juice with yeast, the way all wine is made, you’re going to have a trio of by-products. The first one is alcohol. Hooray! The second is carbon dioxide, which blows off into the atmosphere. The third one is sulphur dioxide, sulphites, which also blows off but there will always be a hint of it in your wine. Granted most wineries will add sulphites as well, they’re used to maintain a wine’s stability in the bottle, but I promise you – there were already some there in the first place.
It’s rude to spit.
When touring around wine country, those spit buckets are around tasting rooms for a reason! You may be thinking you’re only having a couple sips here and there, but they definitely add up. After a good slurp of wine to discern its flavour and character, even the pros spit. You won’t be offending the winemaker or staff, they’d much prefer you spit than to have to be carried out of the tasting room! Nervous about your technique? Practice at your bathroom sink with water.
Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based wine consultant, writer, competition judge and enthusiast. He’s not half as fancy/boring as that sounds. He Tweets and Instagrams @KurtisKolt.