Monday, January 31, 2011

Wine Ed 411: Press Fractions

As the name of my blog is slowly evolving, I thought I would take today to introduce the topic of wine press fractions.  When wine, especially red, is fully fermented it is then sent to a wine press.  Many of you probably recognize the following basket press:

Photo from Google Images

The basket press is often used to press red wine (aka remove or separate the skins of the remaining grapes from the wine liquid).  When you first load up the basket press, a lot of liquid usually comes pouring off of the skins.  This is known as the free run, which means that you do not need to manually press the skins to remove the liquid.  After the free run is complete, or stops flowing, from the press, then a winemaker will begin to manually press the skins to remove any liquid that is caught in the grape matrix.  This action usually occurs in several steps, often increasing pressure in each step, and therefore creating a press run.

During wine pressing, a winemaker will decide whether to allow the liquid that is removed from each press run to be mixed in the free run, or separated into its own unique vessel, which creates a press fraction.  The wine world follows 2 schools of thought on this topic:

1) That mixing the free run with the press runs allows for better integration, chemical stability, and enhanced complexity of red wines, especially those that require several years of aging.

2) That separating press runs, especially in those years in which less mature fruit was harvested, allows for better control of the sensory impacts of the wine.  This is especially true with regards to tannins, or the compounds in wine that create bitter, astringent, and some body characteristics of the red wine.  As a winemaker continues to engage press runs, each subsequent run will extract more tannins, and therefore, add more bitterness, astringency, etc. to the final wine composition.  If the press runs are removed into their own press fractions, the winemaker has control to blend in press runs to their liking, and allow for better mouthfeel of the final wine.  The following diagram emphasizes the separation of press fractions.

Graphic by Author

As a wine drinker, winemaker, and wine educator, I can see the advantage of both processing techniques.  And actually, I can see that depending on region, growing season, grape variety, and state of the fermented grapes, a winemaker should be ready to use both options.  I cannot say that one technique is better than the other, as I've seen both processing methods used successfully to enhance the final quality of the wine.  But hopefully, this opens you up to a new part of winemaking that you never knew before... and it creates a fun new name for my blog.  :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Unified Wine & Grape Symposium

Photo from Unified Symposium

Although constantly in touch with this blog, I've been in Sacramento, CA to attend the annual Unified Wine & Grape Symposium - one of the largest (if not the largest) national trade shows for the wine industry.  I thought it would be worth sharing to you, daily readers, in case anyone has interest in attending next year and dropping some money into the wine industry (any future home winemaker hobbiests?).  

The show, which is attached in the above link, features vendors from all over the world that support the wine industry - everything from wine appreciation organizations to wine packaging to grape farming (yes there are some big tractors out there...) - and draws in a large crowd from the global wine industry.  Each symposium also features several key seminars.  This year's large features were on wine quality control, bio-dynamic grape growing, and Pinot Noir as a varietal.  I can honestly say that Unified is a great success for all of us that attend - we meet new people, we visit with old friends, and we share some time together over a glass of wine.  

For more information on the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, please click on the above link.  Happy weekend!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Romance (R)Thursdays: Wine Menus for Valentine's Day

So I took it upon myself to start looking over some wine menus to make suggestions for the most romantic day of the year.  What girl doesn't like to be treated to a nice dinner out?  (Answer: There is no girl that doesn't like it!)  While thinking of the perfect wine list to dissect, I thought of the perfect restaurant: Olive Garden!  Ok - perhaps cliche, but they have a good wine list and they are found almost everywhere.  (I figured this way everyone reading my blog could be in a win-win situation.)  :)

An Olive Garden Meal
(Photo from Google Images)

Wine lists can be intimidating.  Where do you start?  What do you buy?  How do you say those words?!  But, have no fear general-wine-consumer, because I will help make the perfect Valentine's Day selection.

First - a note about Olive Garden - when Olive Garden was one of the classiest restaurants we had available in town, "Johnny Depp" and I had many "first dates" going out to eat at Olive Garden and enjoying their wine tasting tries of any 3 wines.  How fun!  Just ask the waiter if you can taste test 3 of their wines.  More often then not, they will tell you which ones they are tasting with hopes that you order a glass for dinner (as that is the appropriate thing to do).  This allows you to try new things and pick something you enjoy for dinner. 

Second - always get a wine you enjoy.  It's Valentine's Day!  Who cares what pairs "best" with that seafood linguine.  I say, you should enjoy your wine the way you enjoy your food - by picking something you like.

Third - it's usually the better bet to buy a bottle.  However, no worries if you do not want to drink the whole bottle of wine at the restaurant.  After all, you need to return home safely.  Just make sure if you can take the bottle with you, that you store it in the trunk of your car.  An open bottle of wine = an open container, and that would not be a good situation should you get pulled over.

Fourth - my suggestions.  :)  Please refer to the menu below (from the Olive Garden website) for these references.  

Olive Garden has 3 house wines - a white, a red, and a blush (rose) (see the bottom of the menu).  There's no shame in buying one of these.  For what they are, they actually quite tasty and consumer friendly.  Another favorite wine is the Lambrusco (see "Rosso" under "Smooth & Fruity" below) - dark purple color, fruity/grapey flavor, a bit of carbonated spritz in the mouth, and some sweetness is sure to bring a light atmosphere to a fun evening.  This was especially popular when we had dinner out with the girls on V-Day.  :)  The Sangiovese (said like: San-gee-o-vay-see) and Chianti (said like: key-ahn-tee) are the traditional red (rosso) wines of Italy.  These are dryer, and more traditional wine styles that are sure to match pretty much anything you buy from the Olive Garden.  The Super Tuscan is the Chianti on steroids.  Basically a big, red wine, very dry and lots of body (essentially, this is supposed to be a Sangiovese or Chianti base with Cabernet blended into it for the "wow" factor).  But if you're into whites, go for it!  (These are especially popular with seafood dishes.)  I recommend the Pinot Grigio(s) - another grape known to pair well with Italian dishes and should be drier than some of the other options on the wine list.  If you're in for something slightly sweeter, the Rieslings will pair well, and both producers on this menu have a slightly off-dry, fruity Riesling.  The Moscato is ever popular for those that like something very sweet, floral, and fruity.  

Olive Garden's Moscato
(Photo from Google Images)

But if you're in the mood for celebration, your sparkling choices will do as well.  Both the Asti (said like: ah-stee) and Prosecco (said like: pro-sek-co) are sweet sparkling wines.  The only difference is the flavors - I would say (in my own opinion) that the Prosecco is fruitier.  Regardless, both are enjoyable.

Olive Garden Example Wine Menu

Spumante (Sparkling)

Asti Martini & Rossi6.9527.00
Prosecco Zonin7.35
Bianco e Rosato (White & Blush)
Slightly Sweet
Moscato Castello del Poggio6.5025.00
White Zinfandel Sutter Home5.6522.00
White Zinfandel Beringer6.9527.00
Riesling Chateau Ste. Michelle6.3524.00
Riesling Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve7.3528.00
Light & Fruity
Pinot Grigio Cavit6.5025.00
Pinot Grigio Sartori6.9527.00
Pinot Grigio Bottega Vinaia8.3532.00
Fiano Mandra Rossa6.5025.00
Pinot Grigio-Sauvignon Blanc Bertani Due Uve7.5029.00
Full & Smooth
Chardonnay Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi5.6522.00
Chardonnay Chateau Ste. Michelle7.5029.00
Chardonnay Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve8.9535.00
Rosso (Red)
Smooth & Fruity
Lambrusco Riunite5.6522.00
Pinot Noir Cavit6.3524.00
Pinot Noir Estancia7.6530.00
Sangiovese Rocca delle Macie Rubizzo6.6526.00
Valpolicella Secco-Bertani6.9527.00
Nero d'Avola Arancio6.5025.00
Soft Berry Flavors
Chianti Straccali6.3524.00
Chianti Classico Gabbiano6.9527.00
Chianti Classico Riserva Rocca delle Macie8.5033.00
Merlot Ecco Domani6.5025.00
Merlot Clos du Bois8.9535.00
Winemaker's Blend Seven Daughters7.5029.00
Sangiovese-Syrah Rocca delle Macie SaSyr8.7534.00
Robust & Rich
Super Tuscan Villa Antinori10.6542.00
Cabernet Robert Mondavi Private Selection7.5029.00
Cabernet Beringer Founders' Estate6.9527.00
Cabernet Sterling Vintner's Collection8.9535.00
Red Zinfandel Rancho Zabaco7.3528.00
Brunello di Montalcino Col d'Orcia----  75.00
Amarone Bertani----  110.00
Our Signature House Wines
From family vineyards in Trentino, Italy to your table.
Rosso (Red)Bianco (White)Rosato (Blush)
5.50 /glass   34.00 /magnum bottle (serves 8 glasses)  

Regardless of your choices, remember the evening is supposed to be light and fun.  Enjoy your evening out.  And remember - the touch of wine adds a touch of love.  :)

Wine Love
(Picture from Google Images)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's in My Glass Wednesdays! 2007 Trio

I finally had the pleasure of tasting a collaborative wine by three Pennsylvania wineries: Allegro VineyardsManatawny Creek Winery, and Pinnacle Ridge Winery.  Each winery contributed part of the master blend: Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and/or Merlot, which was aged in barrels for 16 months.  Each bottle sells for about $29, as it was made in limited quantities.  This was such an unique idea, and I love it! 

(Photo from Manatawny Creek Winery website)

The D-2010 Scale 
2007 Trio by Allegro Vineyards, Manatawny Creek Winery, and Pinnacle Ridge Winery (Pennsylvania)
Appearance (10 points possible): dark, deep red, with slightly brick edges - 9 points
Aroma/Bouquet (20 points possible): The dark red berry fruit, especially raspberries, from the Syrah hit my nose immediately.  As the bottle was left open, I got more earthy, tobacco, smoky character probably from the Cabernet Franc primarily.  The Merlot didn't show strong on the nose for me, but the blend of the 3 varieties was quite interesting and pleasant. - 16 points
Taste (10 points possible): Very forward with good front palate and mid-palate depth.  Earthy, tobacco flavors with hints of oak came through for me.  Acid was strong but well integrated.  Tannins were smooth, round, and gave the wine that full body feel.  The finish was a bit short, sort of fell off on the end, but the flavors lingered pleasantly on the palate. - 8 points
Balance (5 points possible): Other than the finish, I thought this wine was fantastic for a cool climate, high-end red wine. - 4 points
Finish (5 points possible): Finish came up short in terms of body and mouthfeel.  However, the flavors did linger on the palate with little bitterness.  Pleasant, but short. - 3 points 
Add 50 points for attempt, packaging, closure, etc.
Total Points: 90
Overall Thought: A fantastic French-blend for the Pennsylvania wine industry.  I congratulate the 3 on their collaborative effort, the idea, and bringing their creativity to the industry.
Food Pairings: I'm thinking red meat would work well with this wine - steak, hamburger, etc.  It's very dry, so it's not something that will pair well with a super sweet bar-b-q.  Also will go well with lamb, game animals, and some pork dishes.  A good winter wine with those heavy meals. 
Cost: About $29 

Splurge Factor (out of 4): 2 - I know this isn't your traditional "thrifty" Pennsylvanian buy, but I think the cause and effort deserves to be recognized.  I believe only 1 vintages is released, so supplies are limited.  Might as well buy something special every once and awhile, and support your local wineries.
Where to buy: Can be found at either of the 3 wineries: Allegro VineyardsManatawny Creek Winery, and Pinnacle Ridge Winery.  A visit will bring you many other unique surprises from these 3 fabulous Pennsylvania wineries.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

San Tasti Palate Cleanser

Another interesting product that I've found on the wine market (and truthfully enjoy) is San Tasti.  The product was designed by a bunch of students for a class project... a project that went slightly off track, and has become a business for these kids.  What awesome motivation!

The Inventors of San Tasti
(Photo from Google Images)

I think the product, San Tasti, is fantastic!  It's a carbonate palate cleanser, which has been targeted for wine drinkers.  The first product was tasteless, but I've also seen a cucumber flavor available, which some people prefer.  (I prefer the flavorless for wine tasting.)

(Photo from Google Images)

Why is this important?  Well, palate cleansers help wine drinkers refresh their palate (roof of the mouth) when they are tasting many wines.  Many common palate cleansers include saltine crackers, cheese, and water.  (You often see these things displayed in tasting rooms.)  They are there to help you enjoy the wine more by refreshing your mouth.  What I like about San Tasti is that it actually makes my mouth feel refreshed!  This is especially important to me when I'm tasting several wines in one sitting (aka tasting, spitting, re-tasting).  So if you're in the neighborhood hosting a wine tasting party or have a weekly/monthly tasting group, and you need an extra boost for your palate, try San Tasti.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Lounging Gourmet

Every once and awhile, I find something that looks pretty unique, and I recently read about this entrepreneur from Cleveland, OH: The Lounging Gourmet by Nora Egger.  Nora created a series of concentrated cocktail mixers called Elixirs from 4 different flowers: roses, lavender, orchids, and hibiscus.  

Photo From Google Images

How does this tie into wine?  Well, you can use her Elixirs to make several Champagne cocktails (which I'm always a fan of because they are fun).  These would be perfect for wooing the ladies in February!  Here's a small list of what fun wine cocktails she has to offer (all photos from Google Images):

Lavender Royale

Hibiscus Royale

Antillean Mimosa

Hibiscus Kir 
(Hibiscus Elixir with White Wine)

Fire Orchid Royale

Lava Lamp Elixir

Rose Royale

Damascan Mimosa

There's many more ideas for these Elixir mixers... but those are just the few that include wine.  What's awesome about these mixers is that you can buy them direct on the website, at about $15 for 9 oz. of concentrated Elixir.  They just speak "girl fun" to me.  Enjoy!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Getting a Face-Lift

As the popularity of "The Vine to Wine" blog is increasing (yay!), I'm working to enhance its appeal.  Therefore, you may notice several changes over 2011, including an update name for the blog.  If anyone has any catchy suggestions, I'm all ears.  :)  I haven't found something fitting to describe what it is you are reading on a daily basis (or so I hope a daily basis...).

Friday, January 21, 2011

Travel Tip: Iron Horse Vineyards

On Wednesday, I did a post on Iron Horse Vineyards 2005 Ocean Reserve, but I also had the pleasure of recently visiting Iron Horse Vineyards.  (Sometimes living in Wine Country brings you amazing opportunities to constantly go wine tasting and pick the places you like the best.)

I very much enjoyed visiting Iron Horse.  It was a much different experience than hanging out in Napa Valley.  Iron Horse is a part of the Russian River Valley, and the older winery is located out in the countryside hills.  The wine tasting bar is outside.  So if you are visiting in the winter months, dress warmly.  I visited on a rainy day, but we were well protected from the rain.  The tasting staff was nice company.  We had several wonderful conversations with the young man that served us.  Quite a pleasant experience all together.  

If you are planning a visit to Napa Valley, I highly recommend a day (at least) in the Russian River Valley on the other side of the Mayacamas Mountains.  Not only will you be taken care of by some unique wineries, but you'll get a taste for some great Pinots, Chardonnays, and sparkling wines.  Below are some pictures I took while visiting Iron Horse Vineyards.

Palm Trees and Flowers in Parking Lot - Rolling Hills of Vines in Background

The Tasting Room Kitty - Your Welcoming Guide

A Glass of Bubbly with Tasting Notes

There's Something Rustic and Fun about Bubbly in Chilled Tins

The Tasting Room at Iron Horse

The Rolling Vineyard Hills

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Romance (R)Thursdays: Preparing for Valentine's Day!

In high school and college, Thursdays were always designated with the letter "R."  I thought I'd apply this bit silliness to my wine blog, and introduce some new ideas for Valentine's Day... (the day in which every man out there better get ready and start writing down some ideas to impress his lady... girls... send this link to your man... he will need it!)  Moving on!

What better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than with a special drink to toast to all your romantic memories, uplifting challenges, and monumental accomplishments as a couple other than wine?  (I know us girls are all on the same page here - wine signals the drink of l-o-v-e.)

Photo from Google Images

Single?  Valentine's Day is the perfect day to celebrate you.  Yes, you!  Make this year's Valentine's Day special with a toast to yourself... with a group of girlfriends or those that you love for just being them.  Need a drink to toast the occasion?  Well, I have a suggestion!

Try a "Pom-pagne!"  I first saw this recipe in Woman's World Magazine (yes... I read Woman's World... interesting tidbits of information about your author), and the picture of the drink really caught my eye.  I mean really, who wouldn't love a glass of colorful bubbly with floating fruit?  The recipe called for 1 part pomegranate juice (on the bottom, filled first) and 1 part of your favorite bubbly or Prosecco (sweet, Italian bubbly).  Add some raspberries for the extra touch, and wa-la!  You have yourself a drink of love.  If you don't like pomegranates, try cranberry juice.  

Photo From Google Images

Whether you are planning a special evening at home, or planning a special evening all together, this drink will surely add a touch of "Valentine's Day Glitz" to the night.  Regardless, I'm in love with the sparkling wine cocktails, and thus, I hope you are, too.  :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What's in My Glass Wednesdays! 2005 Ocean Reserve

I wasn't a big fan of this sparkling wine, but I do like its cause, which is why I'd like to share with all of my readers.  Iron Horse Vineyards, primarily known of their sparkling, produces a series of bottles in which each purchase donates $4 to ocean reservation.  Each label is 100% Chardonnay.  I believe the only difference is the image on the label.  (Side note:  I purchased the one with the sea turtle... I like sea turtles.)  I do, very much, enjoy the partnership Iron Horse Vineyards has made, and its contribution to a worthwhile cause.

The wine itself was designed to pair well with seafood.  Iron Horse Vineyards provides a link to National Geographic which hosts several seafood recipes to pair with the 2005 Ocean Reserve, including "Oyster Risotto with Butternut Squash, Creme Fraiche, and Fresh Herbs," "Grilled Mackerel with Fig and Citrus Dressing," and Tilapia with Cauliflower Puree and Maple-Cranberry Sauce."  For all you seafood and ocean lovers out there - you should get on this!  Whole Foods is nationally supporting the cause and supplying this wine to all wine buyers out there.  Cheers to Iron Horse Vineyards for their contribution!

Ocean Reserve

The D-2010 Scale 
2005 Ocean Reserve by Iron Horse Vineyards (Green Valley in Russian River Valley, California, USA) 
Appearance (10 points possible): pale yellow color, very effervescent with large bubbles - 8 points
Aroma/Bouquet (20 points possible): Aroma was subdued with hints of green apples, citrus, and slight yeast character.  - 10 points
Taste (10 points possible): Very acidic and effervescent.  Some flavors of fresh green apples and citrus.  Bubbles tingle your nose through the end.  Finish is slightly sweetened.  - 6 points
Balance (5 points possible): For a sparkling wine, not of perfect balance.  Essentially, however, the wine was made to pair with seafood.  Not doing it much justice to drink on its own. - 3 points
Finish (5 points possible): Finish is acidic and slightly sweet.  Lingers slightly. - 3 points 
Add 50 points for attempt, packaging, closure, etc.
Total Points: 80
Overall Thought: Like I said, not one of my favorite sparkling wines.  But I paid for it to support the cause.  Probably would've been better served with seafood, as suggested by Iron Horse Vineyards.
Food Pairings: Seafood - see National Geographic.
Cost: About $40 depending on where you purchase it
Splurge Factor (out of 4): 3 - I can see where this bubbly is a bit expensive.  I guess it depends on whether or not you want to support the "reserve the ocean" cause or not.  But I encourage a taste.  Why not?  You may like it better than me!  (And if you do, please let me know!)
Where to buy: Distributed nationally through select Whole Foods stores or order online if you can: Iron Horse Vineyards.  Cheers to you... and our ocean!  After the 2010 oil spill, I think our oceans need our support!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wine Packaging: Boxed Wine Gets a Face Lift!

Do you think Franzia is the only box wine out there that's worth buying?  Boxed wine, much to many's disbelief, may be of more value and quality that some believe.  The truth is that although many in the wine industry may believe "wine in a box" is of poor quality and, therefore, poor taste, wine in a box offers several positive attributes:
1) It makes them easier to distribute
2) Many believes it keeps the wine fresher for a longer period of time - this is essentially useful to those that often want to cook with wine, but cannot keep it in the fridge long enough to remain fresh
3) Easier to recycle
4) Offer several new packaging technologies towards a traditional product
5) Can be easily used for many wine cocktails, with ease on the budget 

Just take a look of some of the newer, clever boxed wines out there on the market receiving rave reviews:

2009 Big House Red
You've seen this label on wine bottles - now enjoy it in a box.  Spicy, berry fresh, and crowd pleasing for a thrifty price.  Also available in a "white" blend.

Actually put into a wooden box, which can be easily re-used or recycled.  Wine is guaranteed fresh for 6 weeks, and each box contains the volume equivalent to 4 bottles of wine.

Target Wine Club
Target, the nationally successful all-purpose store, now has its own wine-in-a-box label.  The Pinot Grigio, although one of their many varieties, is receiving reviews about its great apple flavor and touch of sweetness.  Oh, and that's right, it's price!

Bandit Wine
I like the aseptic packaging of this wine.  What an unique idea that is now being applied to many other wines out there.  Wines can be sold independently or as a 4-pack.  Each container is 1 Liter in volume.  The Pinot Grigio has been said to match well with salads - although buyers beware - this may be quite an acidic wine.  Definitely a product marketed towards the Millennial generation.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wine Country Style: Barrel Decor

It's not exactly thrifty, but I do like the fact that wine barrels are being recycled for home decoration.  It does leave for a rather classy look.  Here in the Napa Valley, finding wine barrel furniture stores seems to be the "in" thing.  In Calistoga alone, we have 2 little shops on our 1 main street that feature furniture and decorations made from wine barrels.  Here are some of my favorite pieces, in case anyone is into shopping for expensive wooden furniture.  :)

The Wine Barrel Stave Candle Holder

Wine Barrel Small Coffee Tables
These tables also look really nice with glass tops

Wine Barrel Wine Rack/Table

Wine Barrel Lazy Susan

Wine Barrel Bar Stools (Actually, quite comfy)

Wine Barrel Garden Planters 
(Or you can get the traditional half barrel to plant flowers on top)

The garden planters can be self-made.  Plenty of wineries are often looking to get rid of old, used-up barrels. You may be able to buy one from the for a fair price (anywhere between $20 to $40).  You can fill the whole barrel with dirt and plant it, have it cut in half length wise, or have it cut in half width wise.  Either way, they generally make nice planters for an ever-evolving garden.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Warm Your Snow Days with a Glass of Wine

I was concerned about what to write for the last day of this week.  And then I saw another "nor'easter" hit this week.  I'm sure the official "snow day" has already passed for the many whose office or school closed, but just in case another one is right around the corner (...fingers crossed...)...

Photo from Google Images

After several hours of shoveling heavy snow, what better way to warm up with someone you love by the fireplace and a glass of winter wine?  "What's winter wine?" you ask.  Well, any wine that you would want to drink in the winter time!  (So original, I know...)  Don't have a honey to share the snow day with?  That's okay!  Here's a day that you can spend reading that great novel you've been waiting to complete, catch up on a movie you've been wanting to see, or write some hand-written letters to your loved ones.  Maybe call your neighbor and enjoy an afternoon of wine, fire, and board games.  Why not?  It's a snow day!  Add some crackers, bread, and cheese... suddenly you have yourself a mini wine-party!  By the end of the day you'll be wondering why you haven't stocked up on wine before just in case there is a snow day!  :)

And what a perfect way to enjoy a nice glass of your favorite wine mid-way through the week.  Cheers!

18" of Snow in Salem, MA
Photo by Author
I still miss my snow days...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wine News: Oldest Winemaking Equipment Found!

Thank you to my dad who forwarded this article to me from Yahoo News, copied here for your reading convenience below.  (A full feature, more scientific article can be found at Science Daily).

Handout of archaeologist Petrosyan looking at ...
Oldest winemaking equipment found in modern day Armenia 
Photo from Yahoo News

This finding of the wine basin is the earliest known evidential winemaking artifact discovered, and its approximately 6000 years old!  The wine basin was surrounded with old desiccated wine seeds, stems, and berries.  Archeologists believe this basin was used for winemaking because at the time, there was no way to preserve juice of any kind.  Alcohol increased the longevity of such beverages, making them safe to consume for a long time without modern day refrigeration.   This cave was excavated in modern day Armenia, near the Iran border:

What an unique find for the wide world of wine!  Just a little something extra to store in your brain the next time you want to wow someone with wine facts.  :)

At 6,000 years old, wine press is oldest yet found

Yahoo article... see above link for Science Daily article
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Archeologists have unearthed the oldest wine-making facility ever found, using biochemical techniques to identify a dry red vintage made about 6,000 years ago in what is now southern Armenia.
The excavation paints a picture of a complex society where mourners tasted a special vintage made at a caveside cemetery, the researchers reported on Tuesday in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
"This is the world's oldest known installation to make wine," Gregory Areshian of the University of California Los Angeles, who helped lead the study, said in a telephone interview.
Carbon dating showed a desiccated grape vine found near a wine presswas grown around 4000 BC, his team reported.
This makes it 1,000 years older than any other wine-making facility discovered, the team from Armenia, the United States and Ireland reported.
The team found the world's oldest leather shoe, about 5,500 years old, at the same cave complex last year.
The wine press would have held a few gallons of juice and crushed grapes, likely working with the time-honored technique of barefoot stomping, Areshian said.
"This was a relatively small installation related to the ritual inside the cave. For daily consumption they would have had much larger wine presses in the regular settlement," said Areshian, who was deputy prime minister in the first government of the independent Republic of Armenia in 1991.
Chemical traces point to grape juice and, given the lack of refrigeration, the juice would certainly have been fermented into wine, Areshian said.
"We also know that still, in the villages in the vicinity, the culture of wine is very old and traditional," he said.
The rich red wines produced there are merlots and cabernet sauvignons, he said.
The expedition, paid for in part by the National Geographic Society, also uncovered copper processing equipment. Areshian said the team would detail those findings later.
The cave complex, known as Areni-1, is in the Little Caucasus Mountains near Armenia's southern border with Iran.
The press itself is a shallow clay basin about three feet (one meter) in diameter, surrounded by grape seedsand dried-out grape vines.
The team found grave mounds nearby and obsidian tools -- indicating some complicated trade was going on. The closest source of obsidian, a black glassy mineral, is 35 to 45 miles away, a three-day walk, Areshian said.
"We can say that this was a quite complex society formed by multiple communities," he said.
(Editing by John O'Callaghan)