Happy National Drink Wine Day!
From dedicated Twitter and Facebook pages to people sharing their favorite varietal and vintage on social media, today is the day to raise a glass of wine.
Whether you're are looking to try a new bottle, better understand the health benefits or simply share a fun GIF, Feb. 18 is dedicated to spreading "the love" of wine.
Even celebrities like Kerry Washington, whose "Scandal" character Olivia Pope was known for her heavy pours, chimed in to celebrate the trending day.
Expert Tips for Choosing The Right Wine, Gadgets and More
"Wine Enthusiast" managing editor Lauren Buzzeo shared some expertise from choosing the right wine and understanding your palate to her personal favorite go-to bottle.
Wine is subjective and depends on personal tastes and experiences, but Buzzeo said for those new to wine, she would suggest starting with "fresh, fruit-forward selections with moderate acidity and low tannins, in the case of red wines."
"I generally start on the lower end of the tannic spectrum, because I find that’s often what people have a hard time with initially," she explained of the bitter compounds that can leave an astringent feeling in the mouth. "I’ll reach for a bright California Pinot Noir or Beaujolais, which is made from a grape called Gamay."
Buzzeo's advice is to start with what you like and fine tune based on your palate's preferences.
When it comes to white wine, Buzzeo said go for "a Spanish Albariño or New World Sauvignon Blanc to start, and tune the choice from there. If you’re looking for more weight, veer towards Chardonnay or Viognier."
One of the most common wine myths that Buzzeo helped dispel in honor of National Drink Wine Day is the broad generalization when people say, "I don’t like Chardonnay."
"The grape is so versatile and easily influenced by both terroir and winemaker influence, that final wines from around the world run a huge spectrum," she explained. "If you think you don’t like Chardonnay, instead pinpoint what about Chardonnay you don’t like, because I’m pretty sure there’s a counterpoint to that bad experience you had and it might be amazingly delicious."
Once someone uncorks that wine they've carefully selected, the preservation game is on if you don't plan on finishing the bottle in one sitting.
Luckily, there are great gadgets on the market that Buzzeo said can help keep a bottle of wine fresh for days, weeks or even months.
"If you’re constantly feeling like you’re always looking for one glass and then letting the rest of the bottle go to waste before you get to enjoy more of it, invest in a Coravin," she said, "It’s a fabulous system that will allow you to dispense pours from a sealed bottle for months without serious alteration to the wine’s profile."
She also suggested another innovative method, "trying out a wine club that specializes in single-serve pours; not only will you eliminate the possibility of any wine getting spoiled, but you’ll also get to try lots of different varieties from many regions to really discover a range of vinous possibilities."
Buzzeo said her go-to selection for National Drink Wine Day, would be an aged Barolo, in honor of her dad, "who introduced me to the wonderful world of wine and had a strong passion for Italian classics."
While the nationally recognized day can certainly seem "silly" at first, Buzzeo said simply, it helps raise awareness. "From Tacos to Tempranillo, who doesn’t want an excuse to dive deeper and further appreciate something they either love or could stand to learn more about"
Health Benefits of Drinking Wine
You don't need to be a sommelier to enjoy a glass of vino and various studies have shown that drinking red wine in moderation can be a healthy part of one's diet.
Dr. Melanie R. Graber, a resident with the ABC News Medical Unit, explained that people who choose to consume light to moderate amounts of alcohol may experience benefits in their health.
Red wine contains antioxidants called polyphenols, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, can "help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart."
One polyphenol found in red wine, resveratrol, may help "prevent damage to blood vessels, reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) and prevent blood clots," according to the Mayo Clinic.
The USDA's 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines moderate drinking as up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men, with one drink listed as 8 to 20 grams of alcohol.
"Moderate alcohol consumption is thought to reduce risk of heart attack by increasing sensitivity to insulin, decreasing inflammation and decreasing blood clotting activity," Graber said.
While studies have been done into the benefits of red wine as it relates to reduced cardiovascular risk, the American Heart Association doesn't recommended that people who do not currently drink start drinking wine or alcohol for that sole purpose.
Various peer-reviewed medical literature on evidence-based medicine has shown that trials have had contradictory findings on coronary heart disease and it is unclear if wine is more cardio-protective than other alcohol types.
While there are some potential heart-healthy associations with drinking red wine and alcohol, drinking too much can increase the risk of liver and pancreas diseases, certain types of cancer, stroke, weight gain and other side effects.
So whether you reach for a biodynamic red from South America, chardonnay from Burgundy or a Napa Valley Cabernet, raise a glass today and enjoy responsibly.