Greetings Foodies! Welcome to Geek Eats! This week I’m going to talk about a trip I took about a month ago with the Mister (FYI for all intents and purposes my boyfriend will be referred to as Mister in any and all blogs). We went to the Page Springs Cellars here in Arizona for a tour and tasting. Now you might be asking yourself how wine could be considered geeky, after all it is a drink typically associated with the upper class. Well prepare to be educated my friends.
There is a lot of science that goes into making wine, fermentation and the like. While I am no expert, I did learn a few interesting facts about wine and more specifically wine making in Arizona. So let’s begin:
- While most people think the hot summer weather in Arizona would hinder the production of grapes for wine it is actually the cold weather in the winter that is the most detrimental. In recent years frost took out about 30% of one vineyard’s grapes.
- The climate in Page Springs is Mediterranean, meaning that the bulk of the rain comes in the winter and the summers are hot and dry.
- Crucial to flavor development, Page Springs can have up to a 40 degree temperature fluctuation between day and night.
- At Page Springs Cellars (and I’m sure other wineries) they graft new vines to sturdier host plants in order to grow different varietals.
- Rose bushes are kept at the end of some of the rows of grapes as they are more sensitive to environmental change. This canary effect alerts the growers to anything that may be oncoming.
- Due to the high expense and difficulty of production barrels are commonly reused. The first set of numbers painted on a barrel indicates the first year a barrel was used.
- Barrels are made of different woods to produce different flavors in the various wines. A barrel becomes neutral after about 6 years. At that point they use wood inserts to produce the flavors.
- At Page Springs the barrels are stored in a room kept at 58 degrees and at about 70% humidty.
- Contrary to popular belief, the use of screw top bottles is not necessarily indicative of quality of wine. Due to the larger number of vineyards and wineries, cork is actually harder to come by.
- Because cork acts like a membrane, different wines have different types of cork as well. Corks allow the wine to soften gradually over time.
Overall, I learned a ton during my trip and got to taste some great wines. We even tried a wine that was still a year away from being ready to sell. If you are ever in Arizona it is definitely worth a stop. Not only will you learn a ton but the winery, vineyard, and surrounding areas are absolutely gorgeous. I’d like to also remind everyone that Mister and I are of legal drinking age and for the sake of safety I’d like to remind everyone to obey the law and drink responsibly. For more information on Page Springs Cellars, you can visit: http://www.pagespringscellars.com. Stay tuned for the next Geek Eats where I will be discuss my favorite condiment, Sriracha!
Enjoy What You Eat!