Text: Dakki Kong
Solve a riddle and get a lantern. We’re all familiar with this ancient Chinese tradition for the Mid-Autumn Festival. However, you might not be interested in a lantern anymore. What about replacing it with a bottle of wine? Write the following wine-related riddles on wine labels and give the wine to the one who could successfully solve it. Let’s fill the Mid-Autumn Festival night with wine and laughter under the full moon!
1. Which substance in red wine is believed to provide an anti-ageing effect?
Hint: It’s also found in dark chocolate and green tea.
Answer: The antioxidant called Polyphenols, including Resveratrol.
2. Which type of grapes is claimed to be the hardest to grow?
Hint: It only grows in a cool and dry climate in countries including France, New Zealand, Chile, Italy, Australia and The United States as it possesses a rather thin skin and is sensitive to frost, soil and pruning techniques etc. It produces light-bodied reds with red fruit and mushroom notes.
Answer: Pinot Noir
3. As the so-called “standard bottle” contains 750mL, we call the 1.5L bottle “Magnum”, 3L as “Double Magnum”, and 4.5L as “Jeroboam” etc. What is the name for the 15L bottle?
Hint: the name of an ancient King who built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
4. We always avoid matching fish with red wine. What element in red wine causes the clash?
Hint: Something from grape skin, stem and barrels.
Answer: Tannin. When tannin in red wine reacts with the fish oil, a fishy and metallic taste on the palate is produced.
5. Which country has the highest usage of screw caps for its wines?
Hint: The country reigns as the capital of Sauvignon Blanc.
Answer: New Zealand. Over 90% of New Zealand wines are sealed with screw caps. Thanks to the country’s Screw Cap Wine Seal Initiative campaign started in 2001.
6. It’s a common practice to toast prior to drinking. Why is it called “toasting”?
Hint: literally refers to a piece of toast.
Answer: In ancient Greek tradition, before drinking, a piece of toast was always dropped in wine to make it taste better. Eventually the term “toast” was changed to an etiquette of drinking to someone’s health before sipping.
7. Which wine critic received a Master of Wine and OBE who also advises Queen Elizabeth II on her wine cellar and created her own 20-point rating scale?
Hint: A female British wine critic
Answer: Jancis Robinson MW
8. Which country in South America is synonymous with Malbec while growing grapes at the base of the Andes Mountains?
Hint: The birthplace of Tango
9. Which type of wine production in Portugal still widely stomps grapes by foot treading nowadays?
Hint: something rich and sweet.
Answer: Port wine
10. The tradition of clinking glasses before taking the first sip came from medieval times. Why did the drinkers do that?
Hint: There’s nothing to do with etiquette
Answer: Avoid poisoning. When clinking glasses, both drinkers tried to spill wine into each other’s glass, making sure they’re not poisoning each other.
11. Are all wines vegan?
Hint: Apart from grapes, think of what else is added during the winemaking.
Answer: No. During the wine production, to stabilize the wine, some fining agents such as milk protein, egg whites, fish protein or animal protein are used. That’s why wine is not vegan. But there might be some producers choosing fining agents like charcoal, which technically makes the wine vegan.
12. Which country drinks the most wine per person?
Hint: It’s not China. It’s not France.
Answer: In both 2019 and 2020 Portugal tops the list of countries that drink the most wine per person in the world. An average of 62 liters per person in a year, which is roughly equal to 7 bottles in a month, according to the American Association of Wine Economists.
13. In which country, pouring a drink for oneself is considered rude?
Hint: A country that values politeness.
Answer: Japan. Especially when drinking sake, it’s your drinking partner’s job to pour you a drink, and it’s your job to fill your drinking partner’s cup. In Japan, it’s regarded as an act of politeness and time for bonding.
14. Which two countries spell “whisky” without “e”?
Hint: Both countries are the northernmost ones.
Answer: Scotland and Canada. So you would see “Scotch whisky” or “Canadian whisky”, and elsewhere, you would always see “Tennessee whiskey” or “bourbon whiskey”.
15. As red wine ages, does the colour get darker or lighter?
Hint: similar to George Clooney’s hair.
Answer: Lighter. The bluish-red pigments from grapes in new red wine will react with tannins over time to form a compound in brick red or orange colour.
You might have some wine knowledge or quiz to share. Feel free to share if you have any.