How is Wine Made? In Vino Veritas!

“In 2016, Arizona consumed 17.5 million gallons of wine.” 

National Institutes of Health

Our neighbor to the west consumed the most wine in the country at about 148 million gallons in 2016. California has the largest population of any state at around 39 million people so it’s not shocking that they lead the nation in wine consumption.

Per capita is perhaps a better measurement of alcohol consumption and Arizona led California in the beer category, but still fell behind the Golden State in wine consumption.

We were fortunate to interview Jason DiFrancesco, CSW. Jason is a local Phoenix resident and vintner of Leverage Wines. As a Certified Wine Specialist, Jason took the time to answer some of the questions you had in the wine world.


How wine is made?

JD: By fermenting any fruit, but typically grapes of the species vitis vinifera.

What is rosé wine?

JD: A blush colored wine made either by directly pressing a darker skinner grape with minimal juice and skin contact or saignee, a French term meaning literally “to bleed,” or bleeding off juice from the must, (skins and liquid) with minimal skin contact results in a lighter colored wine.

Leverage Wines has a reputation for your Red Rhône blends. Why did you decide to create a Rosé?  

JD: We created a rosé because it’s a great expression of a summer wine. It’s bright, fresh, and goes great with most dishes or all on its own by the pool.

Which wine is good for health?

JD: You know no wine can make those claims, it’s ridiculous.

You’re going to need to elaborate.

JD: Some folks say the resveratrol (grapes and berries) in red wine has some health benefits.

But what fun is that?

No one invites you over to celebrate life’s great events or lament its trials with a bowl of berries.  

Jason DiFrancesco

Therefore, have the glass of wine in moderation, and don’t rely on this humble vintner for your healthcare recommendations.

What wine is sweet?

JD: Wines made from more ripe grapes can be sweet if not fermented fully dry. This leaves residual sugar that isn’t converted to alcohol in the finished wine. 

Therefore an example of sweet wines are late harvest wines and Eisweins.

Where should you store wine?

JD: Ideally in a cellar.

Is there an ideal temperature?

JD: 55 degrees.

Wine and Cheese?

JD: Fun to pair.

What wine goes with lamb?

JD: I like a Grenache-based blend like our Trajectory GSM from Paso Robles or a Chateauneuf du Pape from the Southern Rhône. 

Wine with duck?

JD: A general rule is to pair like with like – what grows together, goes together represents a cultural aspect of food and wine or wine and food. Prior to the global economy, winemakers made wine that reflected the food within a region. There are different ways to pair wine with food but what grows together goes together is a good starting point when experimenting.

Will wine freeze?

JD: Try it.

When does wine taste best?

JD: When you’re with the right people.

PN: We thank Jason DiFrancesco for sharing some of his insights and urge you to follow him on Instagram: @leveragewines or check out their website www.leveragewines.com


Here’s what’s on my mind:

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism published a report in 2018 with some fascinating statistics:

  • Per capita consumption for all alcoholic beverages in 2015-2016 was much higher than the year before.
  • Not the highest historically but higher than before and significantly higher than the goals set by Healthy People 2020.
  • This increase has been the trend since 1995 with a slight retraction during the 2008 recession. 

There were 33 states that had per capita consumption increases and only 12 states with decreases, more importantly, Arizona was one of the decreases.

The published report separates ethanol consumption into three categories: beer, wine, and spirits.

We found it interesting that beer consumption is at a 50-year low and spirit consumption is at a 30-year high.

Wine consumption has never been higher in the 56-year study than it was in 2015-2016.

National Institutes of Health

Therefore, it’s a good time to be in the wine industry!

The 2018 Leverage Rosé is a dry Rosé blend reminiscent of wines from the Southern Rhone region of France. Made from premium fruit from vineyards in west Paso Robles – Willow Creek and Adelaida District AVAs. Beautiful pink, light salmon color in the glass, nearly all grenache with a touch of syrah, presents white flowers, zesty grapefruit and wild strawberry on the nose. Red and white wine drinkers alike can enjoy this on its own or with a wide variety of dishes. Lively, fresh, dry, and medium-plus bodied on the palate makes a very versatile wine on its own or with food. By the pool or paired with food, works for us either way.

Rosé wine

Awards: Gold Medal – 2016 International Rosé Wine Competition

Vintage: 2018

Varietal: Grenache

Appellation: Paso Robles

Alcohol %: 14

“Go, eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a merry heart, because it is now that God favors your works.” Ecclesiastes 9:7


Do you drink beer, wine, or spirits?

Has your consumption increased or decreased in recent years?


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