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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the proper way to hold a wine glass?
A wine glass should be held by its stem. Grasping the bowl transmits heat, which affects the temperature and therefore the taste of the wine.

Why swirl and smell wine before tasting?
Swirling drives oxygen into the wine and helps release aromas and flavors. Since at least 50% of the taste experience involves the olfactory sense, smelling a wine is almost as important as tasting it.

Why do experts spit wine out?
It is not necessary to swallow wine to experience its taste. Wine judges and professional wine tasters are careful to smell wine first, then sip it, letting the liquid cover their tongues completely. To avoid ingesting too much alcohol, professionals then spit their wine into a wide mouthed container known as a spittoon.

Is it necessary to smell the cork before accepting a bottle of wine at a restaurant?
Smelling the cork may give advance notice that a wine is spoiled or "corked." In other words, the wine has not been properly preserved because the cork has failed to do its job. The cork failure rate can be as high as 7%.

What does "letting a wine breathe" mean?
Admitting oxygen into wine is letting it "breathe." Opening a bottle in advance won’t help much, since the opening is too small to admit enough air.
Pouring wine into a glass, letting it stand for a few minutes, then swirling can help, as can decanting. While oxygen can "open a wine up," too much oxygen can oxidize or ruin the wine.

Should I steer away from wine in a box or wine with a screw cap enclosure?
Generally speaking, less expensive, mass produced wines are offered in paper cartons, bottles or jugs with screw caps. However, in recent years, vintners have been experimenting with new types of packaging and enclosures, and it is not unusual to find high quality wines in bottles with screw caps instead of natural cork.

Does wine get better with age?
Not necessarily. White wines should generally be consumed within 2-3 years of the vintage dates. Red wine typically improves with time in the cellar, but should be enjoyed within 4-5 years of production. The temperature at which wine is stored can dramatically affect its shelf life.

Grapes? In Pennsylvania?
You bet!
  • Pennsylvania is ranked 5th nationally in the production of grapes, mostly for     juice.
  • Pennsylvania is ranked 8th nationally in the production of wine from grapes.
  • Pennsylvania is ranked 6th nationally in the number of wineries.
  • Pennsylvania is home to more than 70 wineries.
  • Pennsylvania wineries make a variety of wines from over 30 types of grapes.
  • Pennsylvania is the home of the nation’s first commercial vineyard stock     nursery.
  • Pennsylvania is the home of the two highest elevation vineyards east of the     Rockies.
  • Approximately 2000 Pennsylvania acres produce grapes for wine, a good     portion going to wineries in New York.
  • Pennsylvania has seven wine regions and four wine trails.
  • Over a half million people visit Pennsylvania Tasting Rooms each year.
  • (Source: Pennsylvania Wine Association Fact Sheet, April, 2003)

    Do you stomp the grapes with your feet? Where are Lucy and Ethel?
    Crossing Vineyards’ computerized press is affectionately referred to as "Lucy," and its state-of the-art crusher-destemmer, "Ethel".

    If you have a question about wine, email us:

    Visit our winery to see how technology and tradition comfortably co-exist to produce wines of the highest quality. Or call 215-493-6500 to schedule a private tasting.

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