National Wine Day: May 25

We don’t typically need an official reason to celebrate over a bottle of wine but today we have one— National Wine Day is celebrated annually on May 25.

The growing number of wineries coupled with the proliferation of social media options has prompted more creative ways to celebrate with wine for people of all (legal drinking) ages and beverage preferences. Whether you host a wine tasting to try the latest rosés or meet friends for an evening of professionally paired food and wine, the celebration begins as soon as the cork is popped. Cheers!

Cooper Vineyard, Amador County, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

History of National Wine Day

Wine has been enjoyed by humans for thousands of years. The natural likeness for this drink is not only because it tastes wonderful but also because of its nutritional value and psychotropic effects. 

Wine has also had a significant impact on the economy and the shaping of societies. Out of all the alcoholic beverages, it is the trade of wine that allowed exploration of different cultures and paved the way for philosophical and religious ideas to spread. Wine is cited frequently in the Bible from the time of Noah to Jesus, indicating its integral role. Wine-making was also seen as a sign of a provident economy as only provident societies could accommodate a well-established wine industry. In fact, it is often debated that the foundations of western society were built on wine.  

The wine enjoyed in the olden days is a distant relative to the wine enjoyed today. Red, pink, green, white, and blue grapes were used by the Egyptians to prepare the drink. Palm dates, figs, and pomegranates were often added to the mix too. So the taste was completely different from what we know today. Using different fruit to make wine is similar to how it is prepared using grapes except that sugar is also added to aid the fermentation process.  

The exact origin of National Wine Day is unknown but the earliest references date back to 2009. It is a day for wine enthusiasts to unite and celebrate our favorite fermented fruit juice. 

Since its establishment in 1812 by Spanish missionaries, California’s wine country in the northern Bay Area of northern California has dominated American wine production. There were a mere 25 wineries in this area of California in 1974. Today, there are over 800.

While California still leads U.S. wine production and is now home to over 4,000 wineries state-wide, wineries exist across the U.S. with at least three in every state. In fact, the most frequently visited winery today is the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina with over one million people annually.

This availability of wineries enables us to visit the rolling hills of a beautiful vineyard closer to home. Yes, it is very likely one is near you, within range for a fun day trip or weekend getaway. So, pack your bags and set your GPS to the winery closest to you.

Dirty Laundry Vineyard, Summerland, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

National Wine Day timeline

  • 4100 BC: Archaeologists discovered evidence of winemaking in an Armenian cave including cups and jars for holding wine, wine presses and vats for fermentation, and even grape seeds and vines
  • 6000 BC: Although it had been believed that the earliest wines were made around the fourth century BC, much older wine has been found in what is now the country of Georgia
  • 1628: New Mexico becomes the first region in America to begin producing wine.
Robert Renzoni Vineyards, Temecula, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Traditions

Traditions for National Wine Day all revolve around indulging in and celebrating with wine. Friends and family get together and uncork their favorite bottles of wine. Splurging on quality wine is also the norm today so treat yourself to that fancy vino you’ve always wanted to buy.

Wine tasting events are hosted where wine lovers and connoisseurs enjoy different flavors and varieties of wine. Wine bottles are aesthetically pleasing so reusing them for a DIY project or making a rack from scratch to display them are also go-to celebratory traditions for National Wine Day.

Black Hills Winery, Oliver, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wine by the numbers

  • 55 degrees: optimal temperature for storing wine
  • 60 gallons: amount of wine in a single barrel
  • 4-10:  clusters of grapes in a single bottle of wine
  • 100-150: calories in a single serving of wine
  • 2 grams: carbohydrates in a single glass of wine
  • 10,000: number of different varieties of grapes worldwide
  • 700 million: number of gallons of wine produced in the U.S. in 2020
  • $88 billion: estimated value of the U.S. wine market in 2020
  • 7.3 million: hectares of land that vineyards occupied worldwide in 2020
Winery 101, Cottonwood, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fascinating facts about wine bottles

  • Size matters: There are over a dozen different sizes of wine bottles many named after Biblical kings or other historical figures
  • Who’s the king? At 30 liters the largest wine bottle size is named Melchizedek or Midas holding 200 glasses of wine
  • Sealed with a cork: Almost 70 percent of wine bottles are sealed with natural cork; the majority of this cork comes from Portugal
  • Judging a bottle by its cover: There are over 60,000 wine labels in the market today
  • It takes a lot of grapes: One bottle of wine holds an average of 600 grapes
Helwig Winery, Amador County, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Why I love Nationl Wine Day

  • I love varietals: While there are five basic types of wine (red, white, rose, sparkling, and dessert), there are thousands of varietals of wine grapes. The options you have for trying a new wine are practically endless. You’ll never get bored in your pursuit for trying something new in the wine world.
  • I savor life with wine: Wine is not the type of beverage you drink quickly. You sip it, savor it, linger with it. Which means, you are likely lingering with whomever you’re sharing the wine. Taking your time to enjoy a glass of wine allows you to enjoy other things with it—people, scenery, food.
  • Wine allows you to travel the world in a bottle: Each bottle of wine tells a unique story. If you close your eyes, wine’s aromas and flavors can transport you to faraway lands giving you hints about the soil and weather the grapes grew in, the landscape of the country the wine originated in, and what was happening in the world at the time the wine was bottled. The best part? You don’t even have to get on a plane to travel the world!
Church and State Winery, Okanagan Wine Country, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

National Wine Day related holidays

Worth Pondering…

Anyone who tries to make you believe that he knows all about wines is obviously a fake.

―Leon D. Adams, The Commonsense Book of Wine

National Drink Wine Day: February 18

Use this National Drink Wine Day to try a new bottle and relax with the knowledge that you’re celebrating a long, long human tradition

Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.

―Benjamin Franklin

Does anybody really need an excuse to open a bottle of their favorite red (or white)? Absolutely not! Still, that shouldn’t stand in the way of celebrating National Drink Wine Day.

Moon Curser Vineyard, Okanagan Wine Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

National Drink Wine Day is held each year on February 18, so get ready to unwind with a glass or two of your favorite Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay. Wine has been a staple in human culture since its invention in 7000 BC. Some ancient societies enjoyed their wine so much they even worshiped it! These days, hundreds of types of wine are produced all over the world so there’s an endless variety to choose from.

It’s also suggested that a glass a day keeps the cardiologist away. From connoisseurs of wines from around the globe to casual fans that enjoy the odd glass at the restaurant or on an evening spent with friends, National Drink Wine Day is an undoubted highlight in the calendar.

Cheers!

Cooper Vineyards, Shenandoah Valley, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Unsurprisingly, National Drink Wine Day is a day to celebrate wine which includes drinking a glass (OK, bottle) of wine. However, its purpose isn’t to result in millions of people staggering around bars after losing self-control or to leave participants facing the mother of all hangovers on National Drink Wine Day +1. Wine should be enjoyed responsibly on this day more than any other.

The annual event is a time to reflect on the many benefits of wine as well as the role it has played in human history and society. The social aspects are particularly pertinent on this day which should be enjoyed with friends and family. After all, there’s nothing quite like sipping a glass of the good stuff while sharing fun and entertainment with the people that matter most.

Wine is one of life’s little luxuries that should be enjoyed far more regularly than once per year. Nonetheless, National Drink Wine Day is that special moment where millions can raise a glass to the benefits it brings while also paying homage to the winemakers of previous generations.

Bella Piazza Winery, Shenandoah Valley, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

History of National Drink Wine Day

While we know humans have been making wine for thousands of years, no one is certain who was the first to ferment grapes into the beverage we now call wine. Evidence of ancient wine production has been found in China, the Middle East, and Greece so it appears many different cultures discovered the process at nearly the same time.

The oldest known winery was found in a cave in Armenia and is over 4,000 years old—the vinters there were using a grape still used to make wine today. Barrels of wine have been found in the tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs and the Ancient Greeks used wine in religious ceremonies.

Although wine has taken all sorts of different forms throughout the ages the process has changed very little in the thousands of years since its invention. Grapes are crushed, pressed, and fermented and the mixture is sealed into barrels. The mixture is aged and then bottled. Using these simple steps an infinite variety of wines can be created and different regions of the world are known for the distinctive vintages they produce.

Ironside Vineyards, Calaveras County, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Soil, temperature, and weather all affect the way wine grapes grow and make each batch unique. Two bottles of the same wine from the same vineyard might taste totally different depending on the year they were produced and some vintages become highly sought after as a result.

The history of wine itself can be dated back over 8,000 years to winemakers in the Eurasian region that is now Georgia. Alcoholic beverage has played a major part in society ever since and has been drunk in all four corners of the globe for many generations. Iranians, Italians, and Europeans in the Balkans all have rich histories of wine production that date back to ancient times while China created very similar alcoholic beverages as early as 7000 BC.

In today’s world, nearly 20 million acres of the earth’s surface are dedicated to grape farming for wine fermentation. There are literally thousands of brands and variants covering red wines, white wines, sparkling wines, and rose wines while mead, fruit wine, and ice wine is readily available to millions. Moreover, the experience of enjoying wine is closely linked to human history. For example, tapping glasses to say cheers harks back to the Ancient Romans.

Twisted Oak Winery, Murphys, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

National Drink Wine Day is a far more contemporary addition but is now in its second decade. Awareness of the event has increased at a fairly rapid rate with the annual event reaching new locations and a greater variety of demographics by the year. In truth, it’s only natural given the universal appeal of the beverage.

Whether red or white, National Drink Wine Day is not an event to be missed.

Ernest Hemingway said: “wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection and it offers a greater range of enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.”

Black Hills Winery, Okanagan Wine Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

National Drink Wine Day activities

Drink wine: Get some friends together and uncork your favorite bottle of wine. Or simply enjoy it while watching a movie on the couch.

Try a new wine: Splurge a little on that bottle of wine that’s slightly above your budget but that you’ve always wanted to buy for yourself. Enjoy a glass or two and then save the rest for a special occasion.

Sip it in an unusual place: In the bath, at sunset on a mountain, or on a picnic blanket in your garden. Create a new wine-drinking experience for yourself.

Methven Cellars, Willamette Wine Country, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Go for a wine tasting: A wine tasting is a great way to sample different varieties of wine all while receiving instruction from a certified sommelier. This will help you develop your palate and your appreciation for wine.

Take a winery tour: Many wineries run tours of their vineyards and cellars. Seeing where and how they make your favorite wine is an excellent way to learn more about the art of winemaking.

Head out to a wine bar: Spending time at a wine bar is a great way to hang out with friends and family and sip some amazing wine to boot. Additionally, most wine bars serve local wines, so you can get a taste of what’s happening in your area’s wine scene.

Fazeli Cellars, Temecula Wine Country, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Wine Trails less traveled

A true oenophile doesn’t need a special day to enjoy a glass of their favorite vino. And a true oenophile also knows that there is more to wine country than California’s popular Napa and Sonoma Valley. Let’s take a look at other regions to enjoy fine wines and beautiful vineyards.

Willamette Valley Wine Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Willamette Valley, Oregon

If you enjoy a good pinot noir, head to Oregon’s Willamette Valley which is known for producing world-class pinot noir wines. The oldest winery here is Tualatin Estate Vineyard dating to 1973 and newer ones like Sidereus Vineyards which opened their tasting house in 2022 and was promptly named one of the Top Ten New Wineries by USA Today. For a map of the wineries in the area, visit willamettewines.com which also has all kinds of options for tours. Red Barn Rides offers e-bike and bicycle rentals for those who choose to tour the area on two wheels while the Tesla Custom Winery Tour offers small tours in a private Tesla.

Helwig Winery, Shenandoah Valley, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Shenandoah Valley, California

The most concentrated Gold Country wine-touring area lies in the hills of the Shenandoah Valley east of Plymouth in Amador County. Shenandoah Valley produces some of the most interesting wines due to its terroir, a unique combination of rocky soil, and warm temperatures that give the wines their distinctive flavor. Zinfandel is the primary grape grown here but area vineyards produce many other varietals from Rhônes like Syrah and Mourvèdre to Italian Barberas and Sangiovese. Most wineries are open for tastings at least on Fridays and weekends and many of the top ones are open daily and some welcome picnickers.

>> Get more tips for visiting Shenandoah Valley Wine Country

Hester Creek Vineyard, Okanagan Wine Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Canada’s stunning Okanagan Valley is emerging as a varied and exciting wine destination. The Okanagan has a rare combination of growing conditions; desert climate (hot days, cool nights), low humidity, tolerable winters from its moderating lakes, young soils lain over glacial till, and all of this occurs at a high latitude (along the 49th parallel but vine growth is typically only possible in higher-temperature climates between the 30th and 50th parallels). These are the qualities that the entire global wine industry desires to define itself as. The fact that from north to south there are so many pockets with so much potential for certain grape varieties makes the valley unique as there are very few wine regions like it in the world.

>> Get more tips for visiting Okanagan Wine Country

Robert Renzoni Winery, Temecula Valley © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Temecula Valley, California

The Temecula area has been producing top wines since the late 1960s. For years, the Temecula Valley wine country—an unassuming area of rolling hills set close to the Southern California desert—has been somewhat of an under-the-radar destination. But it’s a secret no longer. Wine Enthusiast named Temecula Valley one of the 10 Best Wine Travel Destinations for 2019 shining a spotlight on the area’s winning combination of notable wines and top-notch hospitality. This Tuscan-like wine region now boasts over 40 licensed wineries producing over 500,000 cases annually.

>> Get more tips for visiting Temecula Valley Wine Country

Pillsbury Wine Company, Verde Valley © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Verde Valley, Arizona

Verde Valley Wine Country has a long history of winemaking. When the Spanish conquistadors came through the area in the late 1500s, a Conquistador named Antonio de Espejo called it the Valley of the Grapes because wild grapes were growing along the river beds. This small, bitter local variety termed Vitus Arizonica was used with not much success to make wine. Verde Valley is known for its Rhône-style blends of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. Also, the region has over 100 different varietals growing in the area including Cabernet, Chardonnay, Merlot, Viognier, and Zinfandel. Arizona is known for its unique varietals such as Malvasia Bianca, Viognier, Picpoul Blanc, Tannat, Aglianico, Negroamaro, Tempranillo, and Seyval Blanc.

>> Get more tips for visiting Verde Valley Wine Country

Worth Pondering…

Anyone who tries to make you believe that he knows all about wines is obviously a fake.

―Leon D. Adams, The Commonsense Book of Wine