A Guide to Understanding Wine Through Numbers

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  • on OCTOBER 14, 2020
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A Guide to Understanding Wine Through Numbers

By Hana-Lee Sedgwick October 14, 2020

Have you ever wondered how many glasses are in a bottle of wine? How about how many bottles are produced from a barrel of wine? Chances are, you’ve probably consulted Google a time or two to find the answers to questions like these, and we don’t blame you.

Turns out, there are a lot of numbers involved in the world of wine. So, to help you learn a few wine basics, we’re revealing some key numerical factoids worth noting, so you can impress your friends, family, and colleagues with your wine knowledge the next time a question like, “How many calories are in a glass of wine?” comes up.


While the majority of Americans drink a bottle the same day they purchase it, if you do want to put it away for longer than a few days, it’s crucial to know how to properly store it. The most important thing to note is that wine craves consistency — ideally, consistently cool temperatures around 55 degrees in a dark place. Heat and light can do a lot of damage, but so can putting your wine in the fridge for a week then on the counter for two days, then back in the fridge. Essentially, heat and light can increase the wine’s aging rate in a way that’s not beneficial, while a lack of humidity can cause the cork to dry out and oxidize the wine. If you don’t have a temperature-controlled wine fridge or cellar, simply lay bottles on their sides (so the corks stay moistened) in a cool closet or a basement that won’t dramatically fluctuate in temperature.


Ever had a warm beer? It’s not so great, is it? Neither is wine when it’s served too warm — it basically heightens the alcohol while diminishing the beautiful aromatics and nuanced flavors. The same goes for a wine that’s too cold; overly chilled wine can mask the delicate aromas and make it seem flavorless. It’s true, temperatures can make or break a wine, so try to refrain from serving your sauvignon blanc at the same temp as your merlot, because the best way to enjoy what you’re tasting is to serve it within the wine style’s ideal temperature range.


It takes a lot of grapes to make wine. In fact, the average bottle contains about 4 – 10 clusters, depending on the type of grape and its berry size, which is about 1.65 pounds of wine grapes. A typical vine will produce roughly 10 bottles of wine. An acre of vineyard land can include 1,089 to 2,723 vines, on average. Okay, okay — we won’t make you do the math, but you get the picture.


Contrary to what some wine drinkers may think, a “good pour” is one in which you have plenty of room to swirl the glass. So although you may be able to fit half a bottle of wine in your extra large Burgundy glass, it’s not the proper serving size. Now we know how Uncle Bob sticks to just “one glass.” If pouring 5 ounce glasses, you’ll get about 5 glasses from a standard bottle of wine.


Calories in wine come from alcohol, so a wine with more body, like a zinfandel or cabernet sauvignon, tends to have more alcohol than a lighter style, like a Beaujolais or pinot noir, for example. Sweet dessert wines will have even more calories than dry styles due to the higher alcohol and sugar levels (which equates to more carbs), despite the smaller serving size.


Opening a large format bottle is a pretty cool way to impress your dinner party guests. Not only are these bottlings festive because they scream par-tay (plus, they’re not as commonly seen), but the wine in them ages more slowly than a standard 750 ml bottle, since there’s a smaller amount of juice exposed to oxygen. So, the big guys of the wine world, like a 4.5 L Jeroboam or 6 L Imperial (not pictured), are not only fun but will last a little longer if you don’t happen to polish them off in one sitting.


There are over 10,000 different grape varieties world-wide. Shocking, we know. While most people have tasted the six noble grapes (cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, merlot, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and riesling), there are thousands of less common grape varieties throughout the world. Ever heard of carricante, a white grape from Sicily? Or how about trollinger, a red grape from Germany? There’s no mistaking that the world of wine is certainly a vast one, and while we don’t suggest you start trying to taste all 10,000, we do hope you’ll be open to trying new things. Cin cin.