Mankind’s history with wine has been a long and interesting one. Neolithic humans produced the first wine using primitive knowledge and skills. Technologies have changed, but the basic process has remained the same.
The history of wine has moulded the wine industry into what it is today. Wine was first made over 6,000 years ago; since then, there have been major events and movements that have changed the course of its history.
The Ancient History of Wine
Starting at the beginning, the ancient history of wine has its roots in the Near East. Persia, Mesopotamia and Egypt have all cultivated the vine and vinified grapes. Because its alcohol content acts as a preservative, wine became a very important economic good in the years before refrigeration. It was often more reliable than water supplies, which were often contaminated.
The Role of the Spanish Mission System in U.S. Wine History
The history of Californian wine began with the Spanish mission system. Wine and brandy were made not only for ecclesiastical use, but were also traded for other goods. Father Juniper Serra planted the first grapes used for fermentation in the Golden State.
The Effect of Prohibition on the Wine Industry
Prohibition of alcohol was enacted by the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution. It was the law of the land from 1920 to 1933. In studying the roots and consequences of the “noble experiment” sheds light on many of the social, religious and political tendencies of the American population. It also had a profound impact on the history of wine.
The Importance of the 1976 Blind Taste Test
The 1976 Blind Taste Test was held in Paris, France. Steven Spurrier, an influential wine merchant and academic, organized the event. He had long been curious of how well California’s best wines would stand up to Bordeaux and Burgundy. The Golden State did not disappoint, and was probably the most important event in the history of wine in California.
American Viticultural Area: the AVA
An American Viticultural Area (AVA) is the United States way of classifying wine regions. Many of the country’s AVAs are located in California. Established in 1978, the AVA system is similar to the French AOC system in some ways, but there are also many differences.
Women who Have Changed the Wine Industry
As is the case with many professions, women have historically faced barriers and even overt prejudice when trying to enter this male dominated realm. But through perseverance and talent, there are many women who changed the wine industry for the better and opened up doors for others to follow. They’ve made a tremendous impact on the history of wine.