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Encyclopedia > History of wine

The history of wine spans thousands of years and is closely intertwined with the history of agriculture, cuisine, civilization and man himself. A glass of red wine This article is about the alcoholic beverage. ... Cuisine (from French cuisine, cooking; culinary art; kitchen; ultimately from Latin coquere, to cook) is a specific set of cooking traditions and practices, often associated with a specific culture. ... Cities are a major hallmark of human civilization. ... // The history of the world, by convention, is human history, from the first appearance of Homo sapiens to the present. ...

Contents

Early history

Wine residue has been identified by Patrick McGovern's team at the University Museum, Pennsylvania, in ancient pottery jars. Records include ceramic jars from the Neolithic sites at Shulaveri, of present-day Georgia (about 6000 BC) [1], Hajji Firuz Tepe in the Zagros Mountains of present-day Iran (5400-5000 BC)[2],[3] and from Late Uruk (3500-3100 BC) occupation at the site of Uruk, in Mesopotamia [1]. The identifications are based on the identification of tartaric acid and tartrate salts using a form of infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR). These identifications are regarded with caution by some biochemists because of the risk of false positives, particularly where complex mixtures of organic materials, and degradation products, may be present. The identifications have not yet been replicated in other laboratories. The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology is a small, but very high quality museum in West Philadelphia. ... Unfired green ware pottery on a traditional drying rack at Conner Prairie living history museum. ... An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools. ... The Zagros Mountains (Persian: رشته كوه زاگرس), (Kurdish: Çîyayên Zagrosê), make up Iran and Iraqs largest mountain range. ... Uruk (Sumerian Unug, Biblical Erech, Greek Orchoë and Arabic وركاء Warka), was an ancient city of Sumer and later Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates, on the line of the ancient Nil canal, in a region of marshes, about 140 miles (230 km) SSE from Baghdad. ... Mesopotamia refers to the region now occupied by modern Iraq, eastern Syria, southeastern Turkey, and Southwest Iran. ... Tartaric acid or H2C4H4O6 is a white crystalline organic acid. ... Infrared spectroscopy (IR Spectroscopy) is the subset of spectroscopy that deals with the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. ...


In his book Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), McGovern argues that the domestication of the Eurasian wine grape and winemaking could have originated on the territory of modern Georgia and spread south from there.[4]

In Iran (Persia), mei (the Persian wine) has been a central theme of their poetry for more than a thousand years, although alcohol is strictly forbidden in Islam.
In Iran (Persia), mei (the Persian wine) has been a central theme of their poetry for more than a thousand years, although alcohol is strictly forbidden in Islam.

Little is actually known of the prehistory of wine. It is plausible that early foragers and farmers made alcoholic beverages from wild fruits, including wild grapes (Vitis silvestris). This would have become easier following the development of pottery vessels in the later Neolithic of the Near East, about 9000 years ago. However, wild grapes are small and sour, and relatively rare at archaeological sites. It is unlikely they could have been the basis of a wine industry. Download high resolution version (548x733, 632 KB)Persian woman pouring wine. ... Download high resolution version (548x733, 632 KB)Persian woman pouring wine. ... The Chinese poem Quatrain on Heavenly Mountain by Emperor Gaozong (Song Dynasty) Poetry (from the Greek , poiesis, making or creating) is a form of art in which language is used for its aesthetic qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its ostensible meaning. ... Islam (Arabic:  ) is a monotheistic religion based upon the teachings of Muhammad, a 7th century Arab religious and political figure. ... Alcoholic beverages are drinks containing ethanol, popularly called alcohol. ... Binomial name Vitis vinifera L. For thousands of years, the fruit and plant of Vitis vinifera, the European grapevine, have been harvested for both medicinal and nutritional value; its history is intimately entwined with the history of wine. ... Unfired green ware pottery on a traditional drying rack at Conner Prairie living history museum. ... An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools. ... The Near East is a term commonly used by archaeologists, geographers and historians, less commonly by journalists and commentators, to refer to the region encompassing the Levant (modern Israel, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon), Turkey, Mesopotamia (Iraq and eastern Syria). ... An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric or historic or contemporary), and which has been investigated using the discipline of archaeology. ...


Domesticated grapes were abundant in the Near East from the beginning of the Early Bronze Age, starting in 3200 BC. There is also increasingly abundant evidence for wine making in Sumer and Egypt in the third millennium BC. The ancient Chinese made wine from native wild "mountain grapes" like Vitis thunbergii [5] for a time, until they imported domesticated grape seeds from Central Asia in the second century BC. Grapes were, of course, also an important food. There is scant evidence for earlier domestication of grape, in the form of grape pips from Chalcolithic Tell Shuna in Jordan, but this evidence remains unpublished. The Bronze Age is a period in a civilizations development when the most advanced metalworking has developed the techniques of smelting copper from natural outcroppings and alloys it to cast bronze. ... Sumer (or Å umer) was one of the early civilizations of the Ancient Near East, located in the southern part of Mesopotamia (southeastern Iraq) from the time of the earliest records in the mid 4th millennium BC until the rise of Babylonia in the late 3rd millennium BC. The term Sumerian... (3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC - other centuries) (2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC - 1st millennium AD) Events BC 168 Battle of Pydna -- Macedonian phalanx defeated by Romans BC 148 Rome conquers Macedonia BC 146 Rome destroys Carthage in the Third Punic War BC 146 Rome conquers... The Chalcolithic (Greek khalkos + lithos copper stone) period, also known as the Eneolithic (Aeneolithic) or Copper Age period, is a phase in the development of human culture in which the use of early metal tools appeared alongside the use of stone tools. ...


Exactly where wine was first made is still unclear. It could have been anywhere in the vast region, stretching from North Africa to Central/South Asia, where wild grapes grow. However, the first large-scale production of wine must have been in the region where grapes were first domesticated, Southern Caucasus and the Near East. Wild grapes grow in Georgia, northern Levant, coastal and southeastern Turkey, northern Iran or Armenia. None of these areas can, as yet, be definitively singled out, despite persistent suggestions that Georgia is the birthplace of wine[2]. South Caucasus, also referred to as Transcaucasia or Transcaucasus, is the southern portion of the Caucasus region between Europe and Asia, extending from the Greater Caucasus to the Turkish and Iranian borders, between the Black and Caspian Seas. ... The Levant The Levant (IPA: /ləvænt/) is an imprecise geographical term historically referring to a large area in the Middle East south of the Taurus Mountains, bounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the west, and by the northern Arabian Desert and Upper Mesopotamia to the east. ...


Ancient Egypt and the Middle East

 A wine vessel from the 18th century BC
A wine vessel from the 18th century BC

In Egypt, wine played an important role in ancient ceremonial life. A thriving royal winemaking industry was established in the Nile Delta following the introduction of grape cultivation from the Levant to Egypt c. 3000 BC. The industry was most likely the result of trade between Egypt and Canaan during the Early Bronze Age, commencing from at least the Third Dynasty (26502575 BC), the beginning of the Old Kingdom period (26502152 BC). Winemaking scenes on tomb walls, and the offering lists that accompanied them, included wine that was definitely produced at the deltaic vineyards. By the end of the Old Kingdom, five wines, all probably produced in the Delta, constitute a canonical set of provisions, or fixed "menu," for the afterlife. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (675x900, 137 KB) 18th centuary BC wine vessel photo by Art Poskanzer File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (675x900, 137 KB) 18th centuary BC wine vessel photo by Art Poskanzer File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Part of the ceremony of the Changing of the Guard in Whitehall, London. ... NASA satellite photograph of the Nile Delta (shown in false colour) The Nile Delta (Arabic:دلتا النيل) is the delta formed in Northern Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. ... The Levant The Levant (IPA: /ləvænt/) is an imprecise geographical term historically referring to a large area in the Middle East south of the Taurus Mountains, bounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the west, and by the northern Arabian Desert and Upper Mesopotamia to the east. ... For other uses, see Canaan (disambiguation). ... The Bronze Age is a period in a civilizations development when the most advanced metalworking has developed the techniques of smelting copper from natural outcroppings and alloys it to cast bronze. ... (27th century BC - 26th century BC - 25th century BC - other centuries) (4th millennium BC - 3rd millennium BC - 2nd millennium BC) Events 2900 - 2334 BC – Mesopotamian wars of the Early Dynastic period. ... // The ruined pyramid of Userkaf at Saqqara. ... The Old Kingdom is the name commonly given to that period in the 3rd millennium BC when Egypt attained its first continuous peak of civilization complexity and achievement – this was the first of three so-called Kingdom periods, which mark the high points of civilization in the Nile Valley (the... (27th century BC - 26th century BC - 25th century BC - other centuries) (4th millennium BC - 3rd millennium BC - 2nd millennium BC) Events 2900 - 2334 BC – Mesopotamian wars of the Early Dynastic period. ... (4th millennium BC - 3rd millennium BC - 2nd millennium BC) Events 2112 BC — 2095 BC — Sumerian campaigns of Ur-Nammu. ... A tomb is a small building (or vault) for the remains of the dead, with walls, a roof, and (if it is to be used for more than one corpse) a door. ... A vineyard Vineyard with bird netting Wine grapes with netting as protection against birds A vineyard (vignoble in French, vigna or vigneto in Italian, vinha in Portuguese, viña or viñedo in Spanish, Weinberg in German) is a place where grapes are grown for making wine, raisins, or table...


Wine in ancient Egypt was predominantly red. A recent discovery, however, has revealed the first ever evidence of white wine in ancient Egypt. Residue from five clay amphorae from Pharaoh Tutankhamun's tomb yielded traces of white wine. [6] Pottery An amphora is a type of ceramic vase with two handles, used for the transportation and storage of perishable goods and more rarely as containers for the ashes of the dead or as prize awards. ... Pharaoh was the ancient Egyptian name for the office of kingship. ... Nebkheperure Lord of the forms of Re Nomen Tutankhaten Living Image of the Aten Tutankhamun Hekaiunushema Living Image of Amun, ruler of Upper Heliopolis Horus name Kanakht Tutmesut The strong bull, pleasing of birth Nebty name Neferhepusegerehtawy One of perfect laws, who pacifies the two lands[1] Wer-Ah-Amun...


Outside Egypt, much of the ancient Middle East preferred beer as a daily drink rather than wine, a taste likely inherited from the Sumerians. However, wine was well-known, especially near the Mediterranean coast, and figures prominently in the ritual life of the Jewish people going back to the earliest known records of the faith; the Tanakh mentions it prominently in many locations as both a boon and a curse, and wine drunkenness serves as a major theme in a number of Bible stories. A selection of bottled beers A selection of cask beers Beer is the worlds oldest[1] and most popular[2] alcoholic beverage, selling more than 133 billion litres (35 billion gallons) per year - producing total global revenues of $331. ... Sumer (or Shumer, Sumeria, Shinar, native ki-en-gir) formed the southern part of Mesopotamia from the time of settlement by the Sumerians until the time of Babylonia. ... The word Jew ( Hebrew: יהודי) is used in a wide number of ways, but generally refers to a follower of the Jewish faith, a child of a Jewish mother, or someone of Jewish descent with a connection to Jewish culture or ethnicity and often a combination... Tanakh (Hebrew: ‎) (also Tanach, IPA: or , or Tenak, is an acronym that identifies the Hebrew Bible. ...


Much superstition surrounded wine-drinking in early Egyptian times, largely due to its resemblence to blood. In Plutarch's Moralia he mentions that, prior to the reign of Psammetichus, the ancient Kings did not drink wine, "nor use it in libation as something dear to the gods, thinking it to be the blood of those who had once battled against the gods and from whom, when they had fallen and had become commingled with the earth, they believed vines to have sprung." This was considered to be the reason why drunkenness "drives men out of their senses and crazes them, inasmuch as they are then filled with the blood of their forbears."[7] Mestrius Plutarchus (Greek: Πλούταρχος; 46 - 127), better known in English as Plutarch, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist. ... External links The Moralia (loosely translatable as Matters relating to customs and mores) of Plutarch is an eclectic collection of 78 essays and transcribed speeches, which includes On the Fortune or the Virtue of Alexander the Great — an important adjunct to his Life of the great general — On... Psammetichus, or Psamtik I, was the first of three kings of the Saite, or Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt (664 - 610 BC). ...


Ancient Greece

Much modern wine culture derives from the practices of the ancient Greeks; while the exact arrival of wine in Greek territory is unknown, it was known to both the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures. [8] Dionysos was the Greek god of wine and revelry, and wine was frequently referred to in the works of Homer and Aesop. In Homeric myths wine is usually served in "mixing bowls"; it was not traditionally drunk straight. It was thought to be referred to as "Juice of the Gods." Minoan may refer to the following: The Minoan civilization The (undeciphered) Eteocretan language The (undeciphered) Minoan language The script known as Linear A An old name for the Mycenean language before it was deciphered and discovered to be a form of Greek. ... Mycenaean Greece, the last phase of the Bronze Age in ancient Greece, is the historical setting of the epics of Homer and much other Greek mythology. ... Bacchus by Caravaggio Dionysus, the name of a god, is occasionally confused with one of several historical figures named Dionysius. ... Homer (Greek: , Hómēros) was an early Greek poet and aoidos (rhapsode) traditionally credited with the composition of the Iliad and the Odyssey. ... Aesop, as depicted in the Nuremberg Chronicle by Hartmann Schedel. ... A krater (Greek κρατηρ, from the Greek verb κεραννυμι, to mix. ...


Many of the grapes grown in Greece are grown nowhere else, and are similar or identical to varieties grown in ancient times. In addition, the popular modern Greek wine, retsina, is believed to be a carryover from when wine jugs were lined with tree resin and imparted a distinct flavor to the wine. Retsina is a Greek resinated white (or rosé) wine dating back at least 2700 years. ...


Greek wine was widely known and exported throughout the Mediterranean basin, and amphorae with Greek styling and art have been found throughout the area. Amphoræ on display in Bodrum Castle, Turkey An amphora is a type of ceramic vase with two handles, used for the transportation and storage of perishable goods and more rarely as containers for the ashes of the dead or as prize awards. ...


Roman Empire

The Roman Empire had an immense impact on the development of viticulture and oenology. Wine was an integral part of the Roman diet and wine making became a precise business. wine grapes Viticulture (from the Latin word for vine) refers to the cultivation of grapes, often for use in the production of wine. ... Oenology is the study of wines in general. ...


As the Roman Empire expanded, wine production in the provinces grew to the point where the provinces were competing with Roman wines. Virtually all of the major wine producing regions of Western Europe today were established by the Romans. But it was the region of Lusitania (Portugal) that was distinguished by the Romans for its properties, hence the name Lusitania comes from the name of the god Bacchus or Lyssa/Lusus. In red is the province of Lusitania within the Roman Empire, 120 AD Lusitania was an ancient Roman province approximately including current Portugal, except for the area between the rivers Douro and Minho (part of Hispania Tarraconensis), and part of modern day western Spain, the present autonomous communities of Extremadura... Dionysus with a leopard, satyr and grapes on a vine, in the Palazzo Altemps (Rome, Italy) Dionysus (Latin) or Dionysos (Greek) (from Ancient Greek: or ; in both Greek and Roman mythology and associated with the Italic Liber), the Thracian god of wine, represents not only the intoxicating power of wine... The Greek goddess of rabies and mad rage, Lyssa was one of the Maniae (madnesses), a nurse of Eros and a daughter of Nyx, who was impregnated by the blood from the wound of the castrated Ouranos. ... In the Lusiads (Os Lusíadas) of Luís de Camões (printed 1572), the literary work that was created to form a national epic for Portugal, Lusus was progenitor of his tribe (the Lusiads) and founder of Lusitania, the Roman province that roughly corresponded to modern Portugal. ...


Wine making technology improved considerably during the time of the Roman Empire. Many grape varieties and cultivation techniques were known. Barrels were developed for storing and shipping wine. Bottles were used for the first time and the early developments of an appellation system formed as certain regions gained reputations for fine wine.


When the Roman Empire fell around 500 AD, Europe went into a period known as the Dark Ages. This was a period of invasions and social turmoil. The only stable social structure was the Catholic Church. Through the Church, grape growing and wine making technology was preserved during this period.[9]


Ancient China

Following Zhang Qian's exploration of the country's western region in the 2nd century BCE, high quality grapes were introduced into China and Chinese grape wine (called putao jiu in Chinese) was first produced.[3] Zhang Qian leaving emperor Han Wudi, for his expedition to Central Asia from 138 to 126 BCE, Mogao Caves mural, 618-712 CE. Zhang Qian (Chinese:張騫; died 113 BCE) was a Chinese explorer and imperial envoy in the 2nd century BCE, during the time of the Han Dynasty. ... (3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC - other centuries) (2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC - 1st millennium AD) Events BC 168 Battle of Pydna -- Macedonian phalanx defeated by Romans BC 148 Rome conquers Macedonia BC 146 Rome destroys Carthage in the Third Punic War BC 146 Rome conquers... Chinese grape wine (葡萄酒; pinyin: pútáo jiǔ), as opposed to traditional wines made from millet or rice and native fruits such as lychee or plum, has become more and more common in China as Western tastes have become more popular within China. ...


Medieval Europe

In the Middle Ages, wine was the common drink of all social classes in the south, where grapes were cultivated. In the north, where little or no wine was grown, beer and ale was the common drink of both commoners and nobility. Wine was imported to the northern regions, but was expensive, and thus seldom consumed by the lower classes. Wine was necessary for the celebration of the Catholic Mass, and so assuring a supply was crucial. The Benedictine monks became one of the largest producers of wine in France and Germany, followed closely by the Cistercians. Other orders, such as the Carthusians, the Templars, and the Carmelites, are also notable both historically and in modern times as wine producers. The Benedictines owned vineyards in Champagne (Dom Perignon was a Benedictine monk), Burgundy, and Bordeaux in France and in the Rheingau and Franconia in Germany; indeed, they were the first to plant Riesling grapes in Germany. Though they did not originate viticulture in these areas, they made it into an industry, producing enough wine to ship it all over Europe for secular use. In Portugal, a country with one of the oldest wine traditions, the first appellation system in the world was created. The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... A selection of bottled beers A selection of cask beers Beer is the worlds oldest[1] and most popular[2] alcoholic beverage, selling more than 133 billion litres (35 billion gallons) per year - producing total global revenues of $331. ... A pint of ale Ale is a beer style brewed from barley malt with a top fermenting brewers yeast that ferments quickly, giving a sweet, full body and a fruity, and sometimes a butter-like, taste. ... A Benedictine is a person who follows the Rule of St Benedict. ... The Order of Cistercians (OCist) (Latin Cistercenses), otherwise Gimey or White Monks (from the colour of the habit, over which is worn a black scapular or apron) are a Catholic order of monks. ...


A housewife of the merchant class or a servant in a noble household would have served wine at every meal, and had a selection of reds and whites alike. Home recipes for meads from this period are still in existence, along with recipes for spicing and masking flavors in wines, including the simple act of adding a small amount of honey to the wine. As wines were kept in barrels, they were not extensively aged, and therefore were drunk quite young. To offset the effects of heavy consumption of alcohol, wine was frequently watered down at a ratio of four or five parts water to one of wine. Mead Mead is a fermented alcoholic beverage made of honey, water, and yeast. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...


Wine in the New World

Grapes and wheat were first brought to what is now Latin America by the first Spanish conquistadores to provide the necessities of the Catholic Holy Eucharist. Planted at Spanish missions, one variety came to be known as the Mission grapes and is still planted today in small amounts. Succeeding waves of immigrants imported French, Italian and German grapes, although wine from grapes native to the Americas is also produced (though often deemed an acquired taste, since the flavors can be very different). Latin America consists of the countries of South America and some of North America (including Central America and some the islands of the Caribbean) whose inhabitants mostly speak Romance languages, although Native American languages are also spoken. ... Conquistador (Spanish: []) (meaning Conqueror in the Spanish language) is the term used to refer to the soldiers, explorers and adventurers who brought much of the Americas and Asia Pacific under Spanish colonial rule between the 15th and 17th centuries, starting with the 1492 settlement established in the modern-day Bahamas... The Eucharist is either the Christian sacrament of consecrated bread and wine or the ritual surrounding it. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Mission grapes are a variety of Vitis vinifera introduced from Spain to the western coasts of North and South America in the 1500s by Roman Catholic missionaries for use in making sacramental wine. ...


Wine in the Americas is most closely associated with the United States (particularly the state of California), Argentina, and Chile, all of which produce a wide variety of wines from inexpensive jug wines to high-quality varieties and proprietary blends. While most of the wine production in the Americas is based on Old World varieties, the wine growing regions of the Americas often have "adopted" grapes that are particularly closely identified with them, such as California's Zinfandel (from Croatia), Argentina's Malbec, and Chile's Carmenère (both from France). California wine has a long and continuing history, and in recent decades has become recognized producing some of the worlds finest wine, matching the produce of the classic winemaking regions of France and, in some wine competitions, such as the historic Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, surpassing it. ... Zinfandel, also known as Zin, is a red-skinned wine grape popular in California for its intense fruitiness and lush texture. ... Malbec is a black, mellow grape variety originally grown in France, in the Loire Valley and Cahors. ... The Carmenere grape is a wine grape variety originally planted in the Médoc region of Bordeaux, France where it is used to produce deep red wines occasionally used for blending purposes in the same manner as Petit Verdot. ...


Until the latter half of the 20th century, American wine was generally looked upon as inferior to European product; it was not until the surprising American showing at the Paris Wine tasting of 1976 that New World wine began to gain respect in the lands of wine's origins.


Outside the Americas

For wine purposes, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and other countries without a wine tradition are also considered New World. Until quite late in the 20th century, the product of these countries was not well known outside their small export markets (Australia exported largely to the United Kingdom, New Zealand kept most of its wine internally, South Africa was closed off to much of the world market because of apartheid). However, with the increase in mechanization and scientific winemaking, these countries became known for high quality wine. A segregated beach in South Africa, 1982. ...


References

  1. ^ 8,000-year-old wine unearthed in Georgia. Archeology, 2003
  2. ^ World's Earliest Wine. Archeology, vol. 49 (1996)
  3. ^ Depiction of Wine in Persian Miniature (MS Word document)
  4. ^ Roots of the Vine Archeology, Volume 57 Number 2, March/April 2004 by Spencer P.M. Harrington
  5. ^ Eijkhoff, P. Wine in China: its historical and contemporary developments (2 MB PDF)
  6. ^ White wine turns up in King Tutankhamen's tomb. USA Today, 29 May 2006.
  7. ^ http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Moralia/Isis_and_Osiris*/A.html
  8. ^ The history of wine in ancient Greece at greekwinemakers.com
  9. ^ http://www.lifeinitaly.com/wines/history.asp

 
 

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