14 science-backed answers to your biggest questions about wine

Going to any social gathering involving alcohol inevitably clues you in to who is the sommelier and who is the amateur.

And if the latter happens to fit your description, have no fear. Here’s a handy guide to 14 of your slightly embarrassing and nerdy questions about wine that will increase your wine expertise.

No way. When it comes to fears about high levels of arsenic in wine, you'd most likely have to drink more than 13 servings' worth to reach troubling levels.

The price comes from a number of different factors -- the type of grape, how long it's aged, etc. For the casual drinker, an inexpensive bottle could taste just as good if not better.

You can thank tannins naturally occurring chemicals for that dry feeling you get in your mouth after a sip of red wine. They bind to proteins like the ones in saliva, which is what makes your mouth dry out.

No. Some studies have shown that an increased cost correlated with a more pleasant drinking experience, and there might be some corners cut when making bulk wine. But if it appeals to your taste buds, your wallet will thank you.

Wine tasting is all about picking out the different flavours and aromas, like that of a strawberry, even if you're not actually eating a strawberry. To practice your skills, do a blind taste-test of jelly beans and try to guess the flavours.

In one glass of wine, there can be any number of smells that can change depending on how long the wine is left out in the open. A glass of wine can contain thousands of chemical compounds, which are ready to react at any time.

Yeast is added to wine during the fermentation process. It eats up the sugar in the wine, spits out alcohol, then dies once it runs out.

Sulfites are a compound prevalent in most wines. Together, the sulphur and oxygen in sulfites act as a powerful preservative to keep the wine from oxidizing too quickly.

Chemical reactions in the wine can create solid particles, and leaving the wine in a decanter for a while can help ensure those fall to the bottom. Decanting can also help tone down strong-smelling wines.

Cork, which is made from bark, is a renewable resource, and its ability to form to the shape of a wine bottle is good for wine storage. But bad cork can get into the wine sometimes, which makes it taste like moldy cardboard.

Even though the lack of cork has the stigma of cheap wine, countries like New Zealand have been transitioning to the twist-off style in recent years after getting fed up with bad cork. Plus, it's easier to open.

Definitely. Genes influence whether we prefer sweet, bitter, savoury, etc. And that can play a big role in our wine selection. For example, there's a bitter-taste receptor gene that's thought to be responsible for making some people incredibly sensitive to bitter tastes.

When your body breaks down alcohol, it creates inflammation that can contribute to your headache. Eating food and drinking more water while consuming wine could help counteract that nasty headache in the morning.

It all depends on your taste and specifications. But it might make sense to use bulk wine for drinks like sangria while saving better wines to drink on its own.

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