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From wine connoisseurs and buffs to the lay person who likes a glass of plonk, wine has given a great deal of pleasure over the ages and can really complement food. The oldest known winery was discovered in Armenia in 4,100 BC, so wine drinkers have been going for quite a long time.
Tasting wines can be fun. You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy an evening tasting, but it does help to have someone to talk you through them. Some tasting sessions are five star, with as many as ten courses of food accompanied by expertly chosen wines. These are often organised by an informed sommelier in a luxury hotel or at a vineyard.
The French are clear that champagne grapes must be grown in the champagne region of France. They see prosecco, cava and other sparkling wines as a pale imitation of the original. A tour can be taken starting at Reims, in Northern France with the participants tasting the bubbly at various vineyards and cellars on a champagne route travelling through the idyllic rolling hills and vineyards.
Tours are available in many countries and regions, including California, Tuscany, Spain, Hungary, South Africa and Australia. Some of the most popular grapes today are gamay, shiraz, tempranillo and cabernet sauvignon. Pinot noir has been immortalised by the film Sideways.