Who Discovered Wine?

The history of wine is fascinating and exciting.  Wine has woven itself through the heart of politics, social changes, geographic conflicts, and of course commerce.  Wine has risen to the highest heights and fallen just as hard in eyes of people around the globe.  It can be found dating back to some of the most powerful ancient civilizations that have thrived on earth.

The earliest wine discovered is still being debated. Teams at the University Museum, Pennsylvania believe that they have discovered remnants of wine dating as far back as 6000 BCE.    discovered in modern day Georgia, as well as wine in the Zargros Mountains dating back to 5400-5000 BCE.  However no one can be sure of its date due to false positives that occur with tests involving organic materials that have degraded over time.  It’s also impossible to pinpoint the earliest days of wine.  It could range from 6000-3200 BCE and vary in location from North Africa to Central Asia.

Wine spread through Europe with the Greek population in 1600 BCE.  Some of the greatest works of the time, Odyssey and Iliad, both contain concrete and detailed descriptions of wine.  Many of the grapes that are still produced in Greece today are direct descendants of the grapes that grew there over 6,500 years ago.  For some time, it was considered “the juice of Gods”, in ancient Greece.

Before its spread through Europe, wine was a critical element in ancient Egyptian ceremonies, dating as far back as 3000 BCE.  There are wine-making scenes etched on tomb walls.  In fact, there were five different wines that were considered to be on the “fixed menu” for the afterlife.  While recent evidence shows that white wine was prevalent in ancient Egypt, red wine was dominant.

Wine also dates back to the earliest days and rituals of the Jewish faith and becoming drunk has been a feature subject in many Bible verses.

Even Ancient China found their way into wine history, however they arrived to the scene much later.  While they had been making wild mountain grape wine and rice wine for centuries, it wasn’t until around 200 BCE that China produced grape wine on a larger scale.

Throughout the middle ages, wine became a staple across Europe and Asia.  It was used by all, ranging from royalty to peasants.  It soon spread to Latin America when the first conquistadors arrived.  During the 1500’s and 1600’s many European countries tried to transplant their grapes into the Americas, however they were always met with failure.  Unfortunately, fate had it that a large percentage of European grape vines were destroyed by a species of root louse that traveled through Native American vines. The root louse attacks and feeds on vine roots and leaves until the plant is rendered useless.  The native American plants had long become immune, but the European vines were ravaged.  It took nearly 30 years before many European vineyards would recover.

Since then it has been the target of politicians and social change across the globe.  Some religions forbid their followers from drinking wine while others encourage it.  Some governments tried to limit wine production while others promoted it.  Every country has been uniquely affected by wine production.

Today, across the globe, everyone has access to a wide variety of wines from every corner of the globe.  Even countries that had never been known for wine production began exporting large amounts of wine in the 20th century including, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.  Today, you can travel the globe, be part of a unique culture, and immerse yourself in a complicated and rich history, simply by having a glass of wine.

Colander for Straining Wine
The intricate design of the perforation denotes that this strainer was used for straining wine. Various other strainers of simpler design, with and without handles, were used in the kitchen and bakery. Ntl. Mus., Naples, 77602; Field M., 24307.
Source: Cooking and Dining in Imperial Rome
By Apicius
Commentator: Prof. Frederick Starr
Translator: Joseph Dommers Vehling Available at www.gutenberg.org

The Winegrower
Drawn and engraved in the Sixteenth Century, by J. Amman.
Source: Manners, Customs, and Dress During the Middle Ages, and During the Renaissance Period.
By Paul Lacroix
Available at www.gutenberg.org

Wine Cellars
Near Pierry many cellars have been excavated in the chalky soil, to the flints prevalent in which the village is said to owe its name. The entrances to these cellars are closed by iron gateways, and on the skirts of the vineyards we come upon whole rows of them picturesquely overgrown with ivy.

Roman Wine Press. Reconstruction in Naples, in the new section of the National Museum
Source: Cooking and Dining in Imperial Rome
By Apicius
Commentator: Prof. Frederick Starr
Translator: Joseph Dommers Vehling Available at www.gutenberg.org

Pompeii: Wine Stock Room of a Tavern
Wine was kept in these great jugs, tightly sealed with plaster and pitch, properly dated and labeled, often remaining for many years. Some writers mention wine thus kept for a hundred years; the porosity of the earthen crocks, often holding fifty gallons or more, allowed evaporation, so that the wine in time became as thick as oil or honey, which necessitated diluting with water. Smaller amphoræ, with various vintages readily mixed, were kept cool in “bars” very similar to our present ice cream cabinets, ready for service for the guests in tavern rooms. Elaborate dippers were used to draw the wine from the amphoræ.
Source: Cooking and Dining in Imperial Rome
By Apicius
Commentator: Prof. Frederick Starr
Translator: Joseph Dommers Vehling Available at www.gutenberg.org

Sonya Lee

Since a child, Sonya has been traveling from the corners of Canada to the far east Asia. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, she led a normal family life with her brother, mother and dad. A well received job opportunity in Hong Kong for her father put the compass in action from a young age. Sonya loves good food, and I mean GOOD simple food. She loves an occasional drink, be merry and enjoy the good times. Having recently healed herself from a large ruptured cyst, her favorite foods include fresh carrot juice, grilled vegetables, sauteed portabello mushrooms and truffle french fries. Her philosophy? Healthy food makes a healthy body. Read more on the Editor page. When she's not fretting over WAFT, she runs a small design agency called mowie media and shares the good times with her dog, Monster and 3 cats Sabi, Kaeli & Misty.

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