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Private Functions Questions

  • Do you offer catering?
    While we do not cater in house, we have great relationships with numerous local caterers.  You can also use any caterer of your choice or bring your own food for an event.
  • How large is your private event space?
    The St. Louis Wine Market and Tasting Room private event space is suitable for small groups of 10 or larger groups of up to 200. We even have an outdoor area that can be utilized for events.
  • How large a group can you host?
    The Wine Market & Tasting Room can accommodate up to 200 guests.

Wine Club Questions

Wine Education Questions

  • Why do sommeliers swirl the glass?
    Let’s start saying that they don’t do it just to put on an effect! The reason for swirling the wine glass is to oxygenate the wine; especially with wines of a certain structural thickness, this can facilitate the mixing of oxygen with the mass, favoring a better expression of aromas and perfumes.
  • Why glassware is so important?
    Different shapes and heights of wine glasses are specifically designed to allow the wine to express at its best. The ideal wine glass must be transparent, made of crystal or of thin glass, and with the stem. Flutes are perfect for dry sparkling wines as they make bubbles rise to the surface. Young white wines, aromatic or delicate, need a glass with a narrow mouthpiece that conveys the aromas directly to the nose. Red, full-bodied and aged wines prefer a glass with a wide mouth that allows a better distribution of the liquid on the tongue and a more complete appreciation of all their nuances.
  • What is the difference in cork closures versus screw tops?
    Natural cork is waterproof and elastic; it guarantees excellent adhesion to the neck of the bottle isolating the wine from external agents. It also has natural microporosities that allow a very slow oxygenation and ageing of the wine. Nonetheless, cork can be affected by cork taint, that can ruin irremediably the wine. Screw tops, on the other hand, other than being easier to open, are immune to oxidation and cork taint and allow minimum bottle variation. Generally speaking, corks are preferred for wines that can age for many years, and stelvin closure for young, ready to drink wines.
  • Can I chill red wine?
    It depends. It is not advisable to chill a well structured red wine because tannins could be perceived too intensely, resulting in a rough sensation in the mouth. But young, fresh and fruity red wines can be slightly chilled, down to a temperature of about 57°F (14°C).
  • At what temperature should wine be served?
    Each type of wine should be served at a precise temperature in order to enhance its organoleptic characteristics, its aromas and flavors. This is a basic table that should help you:
    Sparkling wines 39-43°F (4-6°C)
    White wines young 46-50°F (8-10°C)
    structured 50-54°F (10-12°C)
    Pink wines 54-57°F (12-14°C)
    Red wines young, fresh and fruity 57-61°F (14-16°C)
    structured and aged 61-65°F (16-18°C)
  • How long can you keep an open bottle of wine?
    Once a bottle of wine has been opened, the oxygen that comes into contact with the wine starts an oxidative process that initially softens the flavors and opens the aromas of the wine, but then, over hours and days, gradually turns the wine’s olfactory and gustatory sensations, as well as its color, until it becomes undrinkable. Normally to make the most of wine, an open bottle should not be kept for more than 2-3 days and, possibly, it should be re-closed with a vacuum closure. A sparkling wine should preferably be consumed within a day to avoid losing fizziness.
  • What wines need to be decanted?
    Wine should be decanted for two reasons: separating sediments or oxygenating the wine in order to let it express its aromas and flavors at its best. Red wines can often need to be decanted, particularly those aged for a while, less frequently white wines (with a few exceptions for some aged big whites). It is not needed for sweet wines and definitely not advisable with sparkling.
  • How should wine be stored?
    Wines, especially those that can age a few years, should be stored in a well-ventilated and dark place with a temperature ranging above 50°F (10°C) but not over 65°F (18°C) and a 70% of humidity. Bottles should lay on their sides so that the cap remains in contact with the wine which keeps it moist and therefore elastic, thus reducing the risk of oxidation.
  • Why is wine aged in wood?
    Wine, especially red, ages extremely well in wood. Unlike steel or cement containers (often used for fresh, aromatic, young whites), in fact, the wooden barrels and casks allow a slow oxygenation that makes the wine mature and confer some extra perfume nuances. Depending on the wine style, the different type of woods and different sizes of casks/barrels can be used.
  • Why some wines are left to age on lees?
    Leaving white wines on the lees is a practice that improves their quality and stability. Lees are what is left from the yeasts used during the alcoholic fermentation. These microorganisms undergo auto-degradation and release aromatic components as well as molecules that improve the sensations of the wine in the mouth. This technique also enriches the wines with an intense bouquet and a creamy flavor.
  • Are all sparkling wines Champagne?
    No. The denomination “Champagne” strictly indicates sparkling wines coming from the French region of Champagne and produced under a specific legislation. So, nothing is like Champagne and no other sparkling wines can be named Champagne.
  • How is sparkling wine made?
    Sparkling wines are obtained adding sugar and yeasts to still wines in order to provoke a second fermentation. This process creates CO2 that dissolves into the wine in form of bubbles. Two main methods are implied for the production of natural sparkling wine: the Charmat method, (used for example for Prosecco and Cava) for which the second fermentation takes place in pressure-resistant steel containers called autoclaves, and the classic method, where the process happens in the bottle like for Champagnes, resulting in a deeper complexity of flavors and more elegant and persistent bubbles.
  • How is pink wine made?
    Contrary to what most people may believe, rosé wines are not the result of a blend of white and red. The pink color derives from a particular vinification technique: starting from red grape varieties, the skins are left to macerate on the must for a controlled period ranging from a few hours to a maximum of two days. It is precisely this limited contact between the skins and the must that is responsible for the pinkish color of the wine.
  • What is the “punch down” in wine production?
    Punch down is a practice used in the vinification of red wines and consists in the transfer of the must from the upper part of the fermentation tank to the lower part, through the use of a pump. During fermentation, the carbon dioxide produced drags up the solid particles (grape seeds and skins), creating a compact hat on top of the must. This hat would not allow the oxygenation of the mass. Punching it down allows to homogenize and oxygenate the mass, distributing the yeasts that can complete the fermentation process.
  • What is a carbonic maceration?
    Carbonic maceration is a winemaking technique used for the production of Beaujolais Nouveau wines. The whole bunches, not pressed, are placed in a saturated tank with carbon dioxide or nitrogen for a period of 5 to 10 days at about 86°F (30° C) with the addition of sulfur dioxide. This procedure favors the migration of pigments and other scented substances from the skin to the pulp and the destruction of a part of the malic acid. The resulting wine has a thinner structure and it is therefore light, soft, with hints of raspberry and strawberry, ready for consumption as soon as the vinification is over.
  • What is malolactic fermentation?
    Malolactic fermentation is a chemical reaction produced by lactic bacteria that transform the malic acid naturally occurring in wine into lactic acid. This process is usually facilitated in young white wines, as it provides freshness and longevity. Besides, malic acid gives a significantly more acidic feeling, similar to that of an unripe apple while lactic acid slightly lowers the acidity of the wine, making it softer to the palate.
  • Is it possible to make white wine from red grapes?
    Yes! The color in wine comes from the contact between the must and the grapes skin. The pulp is in fact not colored. To make white wine from red grapes, it is necessary to press the berries gently and then suddenly remove the skins from the must. This is a technique often used in Champagne vinification.
  • How is wine made?
    It is quite a long and accurate process, but to keep it simple...wine is the product of the alcoholic fermentation of the must coming from the pressing of the grapes. The grapes, harvested at the time of ripening, are pressed, to let the juice out. The yeasts, present on the pruina of the grapes (together with those added by the winemaker) activate, thanks to their enzymatic function, the transformation of the sugars present in the must, in ethyl alcohol, carbon dioxide and numerous secondary products (acids, higher alcohols, glycerin, etc.).
  • What is the difference between Organic, Natural and Biodynamic wine?
    Organic wines are produced from organically grown grapes. Natural wines are made without chemical additives and keeping man manipulations to the minimum (e.g. avoiding the addition of selected yeasts). In addition to completely removing chemistry, biodynamic wines are produced in respect to the course of nature - in particular, the phases of the moon - and its resources and with the use of biodynamic preparations.
  • What does terroir mean?
    Terroir is a French term, commonly used in enological language, that defines a specific area where the climate, the geographical conditions, the oenological traditions and the work of man allow the realization of a wine considered identifiable through its unique characteristics.
  • What is a corked wine?
    Corked wine is a faulty wine affected by the proliferation of Armillaria Mellea, a parasitic fungus that can infect the oak tree and later develops inside the cork that passes it on to the wine. The wine becomes irremediably undrinkable with a peculiar smell of mushroom, wet earth, wet cardboard or dirty socks.
  • What are tannins?
    Tannins are polyphenolic compounds contained in the peel and in the seeds of the grape berry, as well as in the woody part of the bunch. These natural compounds are extremely relevant in red wines, as, during maceration, they pass from the skin to the must. Besides having preserving properties and influencing the color of the wine, tannins have a fundamental role in terms of taste; they contribute to giving the wine body and structure and are responsible for the typical sensation of astringency.
  • What are sulphites and why are there in wine?
    Sulphites are chemical substances normally added during vinification in order to preserve the wine and prevent unwanted fermentative processes that may irreparably damage it.
  • Are the sediments found in some wines harmful?
    No. Sometimes, sediments can be seen at the bottom of a bottle but they are not harmful and have no effect on the quality of the wine. In red wines, rich in tannins and extracts, these sediments are made of polymerized tannins that, with ageing, become heavier and less soluble. For whites and rosés, tartrate deposit in the shape of transparent crystals may be caused by a thermal shock due to a sudden and prolonged cooling of the wine.
  • I am vegetarian/vegan. Can I drink wine?
    It depends. Some of the clarifying agents used in wine production for removing impurities (e.g., egg albumin, casein and caseinates, isinglass and gelatin) are of animal origin. So, to be suitable to vegetarian or vegan, a wine should be produced avoiding the use of these substances and labelled accordingly.
  • Why does wine give me headache?
    Let's debunk a false myth. A wine migraine does not depend on the presence of sulphites. Recent studies have proven that the responsibility can be attributed to the biogenic amines (and especially histamine) produced during the vinification phase to whom certain people may be particularly sensitive.
  • Is wine good for your health?
    When consumed in moderation, wine, especially red, can have beneficial effects on your health. In fact, thanks to its high content of polyphenols, red wine works against free radicals and protects the heart. It also contains resveratrol, a substance that has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimutagenic properties.
  • Is wine fattening?
    Not really. Wine contains alcohol which has calories and should be consumed carefully under a low calories regime.  According to recent theories, though, alcohol can also accelerate metabolism and burn more calories by increasing the heart rate. So, give-and-take, a moderate consume of wine, should not have a fattening effect.
  • How do I learn more about wine?
    Here are some resources that you may want to consider to further your wine education; Court of Master Sommeliers  Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Culinary Institute of America    
  • Can you suggest any wine inventory programs for me?
    There are many wine inventory and management programs and apps available. A few that our wine clients use are Cellar Tracker and eSommelier and Personal Wine Curator. If you find something that works well for you, let us know and we'll include it here.

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