Math Tools for Gift Baskets

Wine gift baskets aren’t exactly the first place to find much math, but in the proces of putting together a few for my friends and family this Christmas, I found it an enjoyable way to teach some basic math to my toddler.

a good looking wine gift basketFirst, we had to find some generic costs for shipping.  Luckily, the Fedex website gave us a good idea about the cost of shipping wine and our baskets to our family in New York City.

Secondly, we had to add up everything we wanted to include to not only check the price, but to also get some idea about sizes, since our box was only going to hold so many items.

Lastly, we had to add up the size of the basket, along with packaging supplies in order to get some idea about the size of a box that we needed.

While I realize, that we usually talk about much, much more complicated math on this site, I thought it might be interesting to see what affect doing some math calculations like this could have with my toddler.  He seemed to not only enjoy it, but now seems to be more interested in counting things as well, so it is clearly a huge “win”

Pattern in Wine Vintages

I think we all remember seeing a copy of the Farmer’s Almanac at some point in time right?  I was having a discussion with a guy who owns a 90 point wine club and he was telling me that despite all of our scientific advances, there are still a number of wineries which use the type of old school tools that so many people in my generation think are an absolute joke.

In any case, it was interesting to hear the pros and cons of using every available resource.  While you might think that having something like the Farmer’s Almanac would be worthwhile because after all, the goal is always to make better wine, you lose some respect within the industry these days by using those type of tools.  It isn’t really something that I agree with, but it is clearly something he has thought about a lot and talked about with a ton of people so what can you do other than simply respect his opinon and move on?

Math and Wine

I don’t think many of us draw the connection between what amounts to our favorite alcohol and math.  It’s there if you take the time to look though.

To start, think about your favorite bottle of wine.  Or more simply, think about any of the 90 point wine clubs which exist only to find those exact bottles.

The real question is how winemakers are able to craft wine which is of that high quality. There is, without a doubt more science involved than you might think.  Most of us believe that a winemaker walks through a vineyard throughout October and tastes grapes.  When the grapes taste just right they are picked and then left alone to ferment and create the wine we drink on a nightly basis.

While that certainly happens in some places-at most wineries these days winemaking is more science than art.  Wineries employ full time chemists (they call them enologists, but they’re nothing more than chemists) who test the sugar levels of grapes before the winemaker becomes involved at all.

I think we all know that math is incredibly important, but did you know how much math really went into that bottle of wine you’re enjoying with dinner?