A Brief History of Wine
For thousands of years, wine has remained a very popular beverage. A brief history of wine tells us that over the centuries, wine has had a major impact on societies and cultures, leading to the exchange of ideas and trade. Humans have a fondness for wine, chiefly due to its exhilarating taste, its social lubrication effect, and even its health benefits.
WHEN WAS WINE FIRST INTRODUCED TO CIVILIZATIONS?
When did people start drinking wine? No one is sure when wine was first created, but historical archives reveal that the Persians were aware that ripened grapes could produce a fluid that was sometimes sweet and acidic. Analyses of fossils indicate that winemaking probably started around 5,000 BC in northern Iran. This was a time when some civilizations had a stable living situation and ventured into agriculture, including the growing of grapes. The use of wine slowly spread across most of the ancient world and wine drinking was common among the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.
WINE IS DIFFERENT TODAY
However, the wine consumed during this era was markedly different from the wine we know today. The Egyptians combined all types of grapes, including the addition of figs, palm, and dates, to make the beverage even more palatable. As well, most of the winemaking was a manual task in the beginning. Irrespective of how it was made, the Egyptian pharaohs loved their wine, and they were often buried with their wine containers.
GREEKS ADDED SPICES TO WINE
The ancient Greeks continued the wine drinking tradition but consumed it to achieve mental clarity and discuss philosophy. Not only did Greeks love wine but they often added several sweeteners and spices to it, including honey.
WINE AND RELIGION
Wine also played an important role in religion, and it was often consumed at funeral feasts and even poured down tombs via special orifices to permit the dead to share wine. Wine also became a prominent beverage in the Catholic church around the 3rd century. Wine shared a prominent place in religious rituals as it symbolized the blood of Jesus. Today, wine has been replaced by grape juice in some rituals.
WINE IN THE AMERICAS
When did people start drinking wine? Native North Americans only became aware of wine after the transatlantic trips of the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. This soon led to grape cultivation and wine production throughout South America. The first winery in the Americas was in Chile, where it has continued to thrive.
As far as North America is concerned, winemaking is relatively new. In 1805, the Spanish colonizers established Sonoma Valley’s first winery in California. The area proved to be a mecca for growing grapes and soon led to some of the most productive vineyards in the nation. The State of Washington can now claim second place.
EUROPE AND AUSTRALIA
Grape growing in Oceania is credited to Scot James Busby. During his travels between Europe and Australia, Busby took grapevine cuttings from Europe and planted them in Australian vineyards. A few years later, he took the cuttings to New Zealand, which now also has a thriving wine industry.
A brief history of wine shows that during the early days, wine was usually reserved for royalty; however, depending on the alcohol content, it was also used for medical purposes to sedate women during childbirth and sterilize wounds.
WINE IS A GREAT CULTURAL EXPERIENCE
Fast forward to 2022, and the popularity of wines in the USA has steadily been increasing as people begin to realize that wine offers a far better cultural experience than many other drinks.
Here are some great wines to try if you’re looking for something new!