History of wine

The earliest archaeological evidence of wine produced from grapes, has been found at sites in Georgia (c. 8000 BC),[1] China (c. 7000 BC), Iran (c. 5000 BC), Greece (c. 4500 BC), and Sicily (c. 4000 BC). The oldest evidence of wine production has been found in Armenia (c. 4100 BC).

The altered consciousness produced by wine has been considered religious since its origin. The ancient Greeks worshiped Dionysus or Bacchus and the Ancient Romans carried on his cult.[2][3] Consumption of ritual wine was part of Jewish practice since Biblical times and, as part of the eucharist commemorating Jesus's Last Supper, became even more essential to the Christian Church. Although Islam nominally forbade the production or consumption of wine, during its Golden Age, alchemists such as Geber pioneered wine's distillation for medicinal and industrial purposes such as the production of perfume.[4]

Wine production and consumption increased, burgeoning from the 15th century onwards as part of European expansion. Despite the devastating 1887 phylloxera louse infestation, modern science and technology adapted and industrial wine production and wine consumption now occur throughout the world.

Dyonisos Paphos mosaic
Hellenistic mosaics discovered close to the city of Paphos depicting Dionysos, god of wine.
Banquet Louvre Kylix G133 by Cage Painter
Wine boy at a Greek symposium


Archeological sites - wine and oil (English)
Archaeological sites of the Neolithic, Copper Age, and early Bronze Age in which vestiges of wine and olive growing have been found.

The origins of wine predate written records, and modern archaeology is still uncertain about the details of the first cultivation of wild grapevines. It has been hypothesized that early humans climbed trees to pick berries, liked their sugary flavor, and then began collecting them. After a few days with fermentation setting in, juice at the bottom of any container would begin producing low-alcohol wine. According to this theory, things changed around 10,000–8000 BC with the transition from a nomadic to a sedentism style of living, which led to agriculture and wine domestication.[5]

Wild grapes grow in Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, the northern Levant, coastal and southeastern Turkey, and northern Iran. The fermenting of strains of this wild Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris (the ancestor of the modern wine grape, V. vinifera) would have become easier following the development of pottery during the later Neolithic, c. 11,000 BC. The earliest discovered evidence, however, dates from several millennia later.

Georgian „Kvevri“
Georgian Kvevri ancient wine vessel

The earliest archaeological evidence of wine fermentation found has been at sites in China (c. 7000 BC),[6][7][8][9][10][11][12] Georgia (c. 8000 BC),[13][14][15][16] Iran (c. 5000 BC),[17][18] Greece (c. 4500 BC), and Sicily (c. 4000 BC).[19] The earliest evidence of steady production of wine has been found in Armenia (c. 4100 BC).[20][21][22][23][24] The Iranian jars contained a form of retsina, using turpentine pine resin to more effectively seal and preserve the wine and is the earliest firm evidence of wine production to date.[20][21][23][24] Production spread to other sites in Greater Iran and Greek Macedonia by c. 4500 BC. The Greek site is notable for the recovery at the site of the remnants of crushed grapes.[25]

Areni-1 winery

Areni-1 cave entrance
Entrance to the Areni-1 cave in southern Armenia near the town of Areni. The cave is the location of the world's oldest known winery and where the world's oldest known shoe has been found.

The oldest-known winery was discovered in the "Areni-1" cave in Vayots Dzor, Armenia. Dated to c. 4100 BC, the site contained a wine press, fermentation vats, jars, and cups.[26][27][28][29] Archaeologists also found V. vinifera seeds and vines. Commenting on the importance of the find, McGovern said, "The fact that winemaking was already so well developed in 4000 BC suggests that the technology probably goes back much earlier."[29][30]

The seeds were from Vitis vinifera vinifera, a grape still used to make wine.[24] The cave remains date to about 4000 BC. This is 900 years before the earliest comparable wine remains, found in Egyptian tombs.[31][32]

Armenian mosaic and inscr at Jerusalem
Mosaic depicting grapes and wine with Armenian inscription in Jerusalem (6th century)

The fame of Persian wine has been well known in ancient times. The carvings on the Audience Hall, known as Apadana Palace, in Persepolis, demonstrate soldiers of subjected nations by the Persian Empire bringing gifts to the Persian king.

Persepolis 3
Apadana relief representing their sovereign to Persian king with their gifts, wine and horses, that Armenia was famous for, Armenia being one of the Satrapies of the Persian Empire
Persepolis stairs of the Apadana relief
Detail of a relief of the eastern stairs of the Apadana, Persepolis, depicting ambassadors of Armenia bringing their famous wine to the Persian king.

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 winemaking in Sumer and Egypt in the 3rd millennium BC.[33]

Legends of discovery

Wine (mey) has been a theme of Persian poetry for millennia.

There are many etiological myths told about the first cultivation of the grapevine and fermentation of wine.

The Biblical Book of Genesis first mentions the production of wine following the Great Flood, when Noah drunkenly exposes himself to his sons.

Greek mythology placed the childhood of Dionysus and his discovery of viticulture at the fictional and variably located Mount Nysa but had him teach the practice to the peoples of central Anatolia. Because of this, he was rewarded to become a god of wine.

In Persian legend, King Jamshid banished a lady of his harem, causing her to become despondent and contemplate suicide. Going to the king's warehouse, the woman sought out a jar marked "poison" containing the remnants of the grapes that had spoiled and were now deemed undrinkable. After drinking the fermented wine, she found her spirits lifted. She took her discovery to the king, who became so enamored of his new drink that he not only accepted the woman back but also decreed that all grapes grown in Persepolis would be devoted to winemaking.[34]


Ancient Egypt

Ägyptischer Maler um 1500 v. Chr. 001
Grape cultivation, winemaking, and commerce in ancient Egypt c. 1500 BC
Egyptian wine jars, 6th-4th century BC

Wine played an important role in ancient Egyptian 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 27th-century BC Third Dynasty, the beginning of the Old Kingdom period. Winemaking scenes on tomb walls, and the offering lists that accompanied them, included wine that was definitely produced in the delta vineyards. By the end of the Old Kingdom, five distinct wines, probably all produced in the Delta, constituted a canonical set of provisions for the afterlife.

Wine in ancient Egypt was predominantly red. Due to its resemblance to blood, much superstition surrounded wine-drinking in Egyptian culture. Shedeh, the most precious drink in ancient Egypt, is now known to have been a red wine and not fermented from pomegranates as previously thought.[35] Plutarch's Moralia relates that, prior to Psammetichus I, the pharaohs did not drink wine nor offer it 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 forebears".[36]

Residue from five clay amphoras in Tutankhamun's tomb, however, have been shown to be that of white wine, so it was at least available to the Egyptians through trade if not produced domestically.[37]


Satellite image of Lebanon in March 2002
Satellite image of Lebanon. Vitis vinifera may have been domesticated in Lebanon

As recipients of winemaking knowledge from areas to the east, the Phoenicians were instrumental in distributing wine, wine grapes, and winemaking technology throughout the Mediterranean region through their extensive trade network. Their use of amphoras for transporting wine was widely adopted and Phoenician-distributed grape varieties were important in the development of the wine industries of Rome and Greece.

The only Carthaginian recipe to survive the Punic Wars was one by Mago for passum, a raisin wine that later became popular in Rome as well.

Ancient Greece

Dionysos vineyard MNE Villa Giulia 106463
Dionysus in a vineyard; amphora dated to the late 6th century BC

Much of modern wine culture derives from the practices of the ancient Greeks. The vine preceded both the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures.[2][25] Many of the grapes grown in modern Greece are grown there exclusively and are similar or identical to the varieties grown in ancient times. Indeed, the most popular modern Greek wine, a strongly aromatic white called retsina, is thought to be a carryover from the ancient practice of lining the wine jugs with tree resin, imparting a distinct flavor to the drink.

The "Feast of the Wine" (Me-tu-wo Ne-wo) was a festival in Mycenaean Greece celebrating the "Month of the New Wine".[38][39][40] Several ancient sources, such as the Roman Pliny the Elder, describe the ancient Greek method of using partly dehydrated gypsum before fermentation and some type of lime after, in order to reduce the acidity of the wine. The Greek Theophrastus provides the oldest known description of this aspect of Greek winemaking.[41][42]

In Homeric mythology, wine is usually served in "mixing bowls" rather than consumed in an undiluted state. Dionysus, the Greek god of revelry and wine—frequently referred to in the works of Homer and Aesop—was sometimes given the epithet Acratophorus, "giver of unmixed wine".[43][44] Homer frequently refers to the "wine-dark sea" (οἶνωψ πόντος, oīnōps póntos): in lack of a name for the color blue, the Greeks would simply refer to red wine's color.

The earliest reference to a named wine is from the 7th-century BC lyrical poet Alcman, who praises Dénthis, a wine from the western foothills of Mount Taygetus in Messenia, as anthosmías ("flowery-scented"). Chian was credited as the first red wine, although it was known to the Greeks as "black wine".[45][46] Coan was mixed with sea water and famously salty;[47] Pramnian or Lesbian wine was a famous export as well. Aristotle mentions Lemnian wine, which was probably the same as the modern-day Lemnió varietal, a red wine with a bouquet of oregano and thyme. If so, this makes Lemnió the oldest known varietal still in cultivation.

For Greece, alcohol such as wine had not fully developed into the rich ‘cash crop’ that it would eventually become toward the peak of its reign. However, as the emphasis of viticulture increased with economic demand so did the consumption of alcohol during the years to come. The Greeks embraced the production aspect as a way to expand and create economic growth throughout the region. Greek wine was widely known and exported throughout the Mediterranean, as amphoras with Greek styling and art have been found throughout the area. The Greeks may have even been involved in the first appearance of wine in ancient Egypt.[48] They introduced the V. vinifera vine to[49] and made wine in their numerous colonies in modern-day Italy,[50] Sicily,[51] southern France,[52] and Spain.[49]

Ancient China

CMOC Treasures of Ancient China exhibit - bronze zun
A bronze wine storage vessel from the Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BC)

According to the latest research scholars stated: "Following the definition of the CNCCEF, China has been viewed as “New New World” in the world wine map, despite the fact that grape growing and wine making in China date back to between 7000BCE and 9000BC. Winemaking technology and wine culture are rooted in Chinese history and the definition of “New New World” is a misnomer that imparts a Euro centric bias onto wine history and ignores fact."[6] Furthermore, the history of Chinese grape wine has been confirmed and proven to date back 9000 years (7000 BC),[6][7][8][9][10][11] including "the earliest attested use" of wild grapes in wine as well as "earliest chemically confirmed alcoholic beverage in the world", according to Adjunct Professor of Anthropology Patrick McGovern, the Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia.[11] Professor McGovern continued: “The Jiahu discovery illustrates how you should never give up hope in finding chemical evidence for a fermented beverage from the Palaeolithic period. Research very often has big surprises in store. You might think, as I did too, that the grape wines of Hajji Firuz, the Caucasus, and eastern Anatolia would prove to be the earliest alcoholic beverages in the world, coming from the so-called “Cradle of Civilization” in the Near East as they do. But then I was invited to go to China on the other side of Asia, and came back with samples that proved to be even earlier–from around 7000 BC.”[11] Furthermore, other scholarly research has stated that: “There is also evidence for various types of alcoholic beverage production, including rice and grape wine, beer, and various liquors including baijiu in China, ca. 7000 B.C.”[9] Additionally, Professor Hames' research stated: “The earliest wine, or fermented liquor, came from China, predating Middle Eastern alcohol by a few thousand years. Archeologists have found pottery shards showing remnants of rice and grape wine dating back to 7000 BCE in Jiahu village in Henan province.”[10]

Archaeologists have discovered production from native "mountain grapes" like V. thunbergii[53] and V. filifolia[54] during the 1st millennium BC.[55] Production of beer had largely disappeared by the time of the Han dynasty, in favor of stronger drinks fermented from millet, rice, and other grains. Although these huangjiu have frequently been translated as "wine", they are typically 20% ABV and considered quite distinct from grape wine (葡萄酒) within China.

During the 2nd century BC, Zhang Qian's exploration of the Western Regions (modern Xinjiang) reached the Hellenistic successor states of Alexander's empire: Dayuan, Bactria, and the Indo-Greek Kingdom. These had brought viticulture into Central Asia and trade permitted the first wine produced from V. vinifera grapes to be introduced to China.[54][56][57]

Wine was imported again when trade with the west was restored under the Tang dynasty, but it remained mostly imperial fare and it was not until the Song that its consumption spread among the gentry.[57] Marco Polo's 14th-century account noted the continuing preference for rice wines continuing in Yuan China.[57]

Ancient Persia

Herodotus, writing about the culture of the ancient Persians (in particular, those of Pontus) writes that they were "very fond" of wine and drank it in large quantities.[58]

Roman Empire

Commerce du vin sur la Durance (époque gallo-romaine)
Shipping wine in Roman Gaul: amphoras (top) were the traditional Mediterranean vessels, but the Gauls introduced the use of barrels.

The Roman Empire had an immense impact on the development of viticulture and oenology. Wine was an integral part of the Roman diet and winemaking became a precise business. Virtually all of the major wine-producing regions of Western Europe today were established during the Roman Imperial era. During the Roman Empire, social norms began to shift as the production of alcohol increased. Further evidence suggests that widespread drunkenness and true alcoholism among the Romans began in the first century BC and reached its height in the first century AD.[59] Viniculture expanded so much that by AD c. 92 the emperor Domitian was forced to pass the first wine laws on record, banning the planting of any new vineyards in Italy and uprooting half of the vineyards in the provinces in order to increase the production of the necessary but less profitable grain. (The measure was widely ignored but remained on the books until its 280 repeal by Probus.[60])

Satyrs vine press BM D550
Satyr working at a wine press of wicker-work mats (1st century AD relief).

Winemaking technology improved considerably during the time of the Roman Empire. Vitruvius noted how wine storage rooms were specially built facing north, "since that quarter is never subject to change but is always constant and unshifting",[61] and special smokehouses (fumaria) were developed to speed or mimic aging. Many grape varieties and cultivation techniques were developed. Barrels (invented by the Gauls) and glass bottles (invented by the Syrians) began to compete with terracotta amphoras for storing and shipping wine. Following the Greek invention of the screw, wine presses became common in Roman villas. The Romans also created a precursor to today's appellation systems, as certain regions gained reputations for their fine wines. The most famous was the white Falernian from the LatianCampanian border, principally because of its high (~15%) alcohol content. The Romans recognized three appellations: Caucinian Falernian from the highest slopes, Faustian Falernian from the center (named for its one-time owner Faustus Cornelius Sulla, son of the dictator), and generic Falernian from the lower slopes and plain. The esteemed vintages grew in value as they aged, and each region produced different varieties as well: dry, sweet, and light. Other famous wines were the sweet Alban from the Alban Hills and the Caecuban beloved by Horace and extirpated by Nero. Pliny cautioned that such 'first-growth' wines not be smoked in a fumarium like lesser vintages.[62]

Wine, perhaps mixed with herbs and minerals, was assumed to serve medicinal purposes. During Roman times, the upper classes might dissolve pearls in wine for better health. Cleopatra created her own legend by promising Antony she would "drink the value of a province" in one cup of wine, after which she drank an expensive pearl with a cup of the beverage.[42] Pliny relates that, after the ascension of Augustus, Setinum became the imperial wine because it did not cause him indigestion.[63] When the Western Roman Empire fell during the 5th century, Europe entered a period of invasions and social turmoil, with the Roman Catholic Church as the only stable social structure. Through the Church, grape growing and winemaking technology, essential for the Mass, were preserved.[64]

The oldest surviving bottle still containing liquid wine, the Speyer wine bottle, belonged to a Roman nobleman and it is dated at 325 or 350 AD.[65][66]

Medieval period

Medieval Middle East

Lebanon is among the oldest sites of wine production in the world.[67] The Israelite Hosea (780–725 BC) is said to have urged his followers to return to Yahweh so that "they will blossom as the vine, [and] their fragrance will be like the wine of Lebanon".[68] The Phoenicians of its coastal strip were instrumental in spreading wine and viticulture throughout the Mediterranean in ancient times.

However, in the Arabian peninsula, wine was traded by Aramaic merchants, as the climate was not well-suited to the growing of vines. Many other types of fermented drinks, however, were produced in the 5th and 6th centuries, including date and honey wines.

The Muslim conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries brought many territories under Muslim control. Alcoholic drinks were prohibited by law, but the production of alcohol, wine in particular, seems to have thrived. Wine was a subject for many poets, even under Islamic rule, and many khalifas used to drink alcoholic beverages during their social and private meetings. Egyptian Jews leased vineyards from the Fatimid and Mamluk governments, produced wine for sacramental and medicinal use, and traded wine throughout the Eastern Mediterranean.

Monk tasting wine from a barrel
Monastic cellarer tasting wine, from Li Livres dou Santé (French manuscript, late 13th century)

Christian monasteries in the Levant and Iraq often cultivated grapevines; they then distributed their vintages in taverns located on monastery grounds. Zoroastrians in Persia and Central Asia also engaged in the production of wine. Though not much is known about their wine trade, they did become known for their taverns. Wine in general found an industrial use in the medieval Middle East as feedstock after advances in distillation by Muslim alchemists allowed for the production of relatively pure ethanol, which was used in the perfume industry. Wine was also for the first time distilled into brandy during this period.

Medieval Europe

It has been one of history's cruel ironies that the [Christian medieval] blood libel—accusations against Jews using the blood of murdered gentile children for the making of wine and matzot—became the false pretext for numerous pogroms. And due to the danger, those who live in a place where blood libels occur are halachically exempted from using [kosher] red wine, lest it be seized as "evidence" against them.
— Pesach: What We Eat and Why We Eat It, Project Genesis[69]

In the Middle Ages, wine was the common drink of all social classes in the south, where grapes were cultivated. In the north and east, where few if any grapes were grown, beer and ale were the usual beverages of both commoners and nobility. Wine was exported to the northern regions, but because of its relatively high expense was seldom consumed by the lower classes. Since wine was necessary, however, for the celebration of the Catholic Mass, 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. In 1435 Count John IV of Katzenelnbogen, a wealthy member of the Holy Roman high nobility near Frankfurt, was the first to plant Riesling, the most important German grape. The nearby winemaking monks made it into an industry, producing enough wine to ship 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.

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. As wines were kept in barrels, they were not extensively aged, and thus drunk quite young. To offset the effects of heavy alcohol consumption, wine was frequently watered down at a ratio of four or five parts water to one of wine.

One medieval application of wine was the use of snake-stones (banded agate resembling the figural rings on a snake) dissolved in wine as a remedy for snake bites, which shows an early understanding of the effects of alcohol on the central nervous system in such situations.[42]

Jofroi of Waterford, a 13th-century Dominican, wrote a catalogue of all the known wines and ales of Europe, describing them with great relish and recommending them to academics and counsellors. Rashi, a medieval French rabbi called the "father" of all subsequent commentaries on the Talmud and the Tanakh,[70] earned his living as a vintner.

Modern era

Spread and development in the Americas

European grape varieties were first brought to what is now Mexico by the first Spanish conquistadors to provide the necessities of the Catholic Holy Eucharist. Planted at Spanish missions, one variety came to be known as the Mission grape and is still planted today in small amounts. Succeeding waves of immigrants imported French, Italian and German grapes, although wine from those native to the Americas (whose flavors can be distinctly different) is also produced. Mexico became the most important wine producer starting in the 16th century, to the extent that its output began to affect Spanish commercial production. In this competitive climate, the Spanish king sent an executive order to halt Mexico's production of wines and the planting of vineyards.

During the devastating phylloxera blight in late 19th-century Europe, it was found that Native American vines were immune to the pest. French-American hybrid grapes were developed and saw some use in Europe, but more important was the practice of grafting European grapevines to American rootstocks to protect vineyards from the insect. The practice continues to this day wherever phylloxera is present.

Today, wine in the Americas is often associated with Argentina, California and Chile all of which produce a wide variety of wines, from inexpensive jug wines to high-quality varietals and proprietary blends. Most of the wine production in the Americas is based on Old World grape varieties, and wine-growing regions there have often "adopted" grapes that have become particularly closely identified with them. California's Zinfandel (from Croatia and Southern Italy), Argentina's Malbec, and Chile's Carmenère (both from France) are well-known examples.

Until the latter half of the 20th century, American wine was generally viewed as inferior to that of Europe. However, with the surprisingly favorable American showing at the Paris Wine tasting of 1976, New World wine began to garner respect in the land of wine's origins.

Developments in Europe

In the late 19th century, the phylloxera louse brought widespread destruction to grapevines, wine production, and those whose livelihoods depended on them; far-reaching repercussions included the loss of many indigenous varieties. Lessons learned from the infestation led to the positive transformation of Europe's wine industry. Bad vineyards were uprooted and their land turned to better uses. Some of France's best butter and cheese, for example, is now made from cows that graze on Charentais soil, which was previously covered with vines. Cuvées were also standardized, important in creating certain wines as they are known today; Champagne and Bordeaux finally achieved the grape mixes that now define them. In the Balkans, where phylloxera had had little impact, the local varieties survived. However, the uneven transition from Ottoman occupation has meant only gradual transformation in many vineyards. It is only in recent times that local varieties have gained recognition beyond "mass-market" wines like retsina.

Australia, New Zealand and South Africa

In the context of wine, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other countries without a wine tradition are considered New World producers. Wine production began in the Cape Province of what is now South Africa in the 1680s as a business for supplying ships. Australia's First Fleet (1788) brought cuttings of vines from South Africa, although initial plantings failed and the first successful vineyards were established in the early 19th century. Until quite late in the 20th century, the product of these countries was not well known outside their small export markets. For example, Australia exported mainly to the United Kingdom; New Zealand retained most of its wine for domestic consumption; and South Africa was often isolated from the world market because of apartheid). However, with the increase in mechanization and scientific advances in winemaking, these countries became known for high-quality wine. A notable exception to the foregoing is that the Cape Province was the largest exporter of wine to Europe in the 18th century.

See also


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  64. ^ "History of Wine I". Life In Italy. 28 October 2018.
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  67. ^ McGovern, Patrick E. 2003. Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of viniculture. Princeton University Press
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Further reading

  • Patrick E. McGovern (2007). Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691127842.
  • Patrick E. McGovern (2010). Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0520267985.
Ancient Greece and wine

The influence of wine in ancient Greece helped ancient Greece trade with neighboring countries and regions. Many mannerisms and cultural aspects were associated with wine. It led to great change in Ancient Greece as well.

The ancient Greeks pioneered new methods of viticulture and wine production that they shared with early winemaking communities in what are now France, Italy, Austria and Russia, as well as others, through trade and colonization. Along the way, they markedly influenced the ancient European winemaking cultures of the Celts, Etruscans, Scythians and ultimately the Romans.

Areni-1 winery

The Areni-1 winery is a 6100-year-old winery that was discovered in 2007 in the Areni-1 cave complex in the village of Areni in the Vayots Dzor province of Armenia by a team of Armenian and Irish archaeologists. The excavations were carried out by Boris Gasparyan of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia and Ron Pinhasi from University College Cork (Ireland), and were sponsored by the Gfoeller Foundation (USA) and University College Cork. In 2008 the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) also joined the project with Gregory Areshian as co-director of the Areni Project. Since then the excavations have been sponsored by UCLA and the National Geographic Society as well. The excavations of the winery were completed in 2010.

The winery consists of fermentation vats, a wine press, storage jars, pottery sherds, and is believed to be at least a thousand years older than the winery unearthed in Judea and Samaria in 1963, which is the second oldest currently known.The Areni-1 shoe was found in the same cave in 2008.

Comet vintages

Comet vintages are years during which an astronomical event, involving generally a "Great Comet", occurs prior to harvest. Throughout the history of wine, winemakers have attributed successful vintages and ideal weather conditions to the unexplained effects caused by the comets. Some of the most heralded vintages in the last couple of centuries—such as the 1811, 1826, 1839, 1845, 1852, 1858, 1861, 1985, and 1989 vintages—have coincided with a notable appearance of a comet. There is no scientific basis for any effect of comets on viticulture, but the term nevertheless remains in use.

The term "comet wine" is sometimes used in the wine world to describe a wine of exceptional quality in reference to the high reputation that comet vintages have. The 1811 comet vintage, coinciding with the appearance of the Great Comet of 1811, is perhaps the most famous. The 1811 Château d'Yquem has exhibited what wine experts like Robert Parker have described as exceptional longevity with Parker scoring the wine a perfect 100 points when tasted in 1996. The 1811 vintage of Veuve Clicquot is theorized to have been the first truly "modern" Champagne due to the advancements in the méthode champenoise which Veuve Clicquot pioneered through the technique of remuage.


Geshtinanna (also known as Geštinanna or Ngeshtin-ana) is the ancient Sumerian goddess of agriculture, fertility, and dream interpretation, the so-called "heavenly grape-vine". She is the sister of Dumuzid and consort of Ningisida. She is also the daughter of Enki and Ninhursag. She shelters her brother when he is being pursued by galla demons and mourns his death after the demons drag him to Kur. She eventually agrees to take his place in Kur for half the year, allowing him to return to Heaven to be with Inanna. The Sumerians believed that, while Geshtinanna was in Heaven and Dumuzid in Kur, the earth became dry and barren, thus causing the season of summer.

History of Bordeaux wine

The history of Bordeaux wine spans almost 2000 years to Roman times when the first vineyards were planted. In the Middle Ages, the marriage of Henry Plantagenet and Eleanor of Aquitaine opened the Bordeaux region to the English market and eventually to the world's stage. The Gironde estuary and its tributaries, the Garonne and the Dordogne rivers play a pivotal role in the history and success of this region.

History of Portuguese wine

The history of Portuguese wine has been influenced by Portugal's relative isolationism in the world's wine market, with the one notable exception of its relationship with the British. Wine has been made in Portugal since at least 2000 BC when the Tartessians planted vines in the Sado and Tagus valleys. By the 10th century BC, the Phoenicians had arrived and introduced new grape varieties and winemaking techniques to the area. Up until this point, viticulture was mostly centered on the southern coastal areas of Portugal. In later centuries, the Ancient Greeks, Celts and Romans would do much to spread viticulture and winemaking further north.Portuguese wines were first shipped to England in the 12th century from the Entre Douro e Minho region (which today includes modern Portuguese wine regions such as the douro and vinho verde). In 1386, Portugal and England signed the Treaty of Windsor which fostered close diplomatic relations between the two countries and opened the door for extensive trade opportunities. The 1703 Methuen Treaty furthered advanced English economic interest in Portugal by reducing tariffs and giving Portuguese wines preferential treatment in the British wine market over French wines. Around this time, the fortified wine known as port was increasing in popularity in Britain. The lucrative trade in Port prompted the Portuguese authorities to establish one of the world's first protected designation of origin when Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, Marquis of Pombal established boundaries and regulations for the production of authentic Port from the Douro in 1756.For centuries afterwards, Portuguese wines came to be associated with Port (and to some extent Madeira which was a popular drink of British colonies around the globe, such as the American colonies.) In the mid-to-late 20th century, sweet, slightly sparkling rosé brands from Portugal (Mateus and Lancers being the most notable) became immensely popular around the globe-with the British wine market again leading the way. In the mid-1980s, Portugal's introduction to the European Union brought a flood of financing and grants to the stagnant Portuguese wine industry. These new investments paved the way for upgrades in winemaking technology and facilities. Renewed interest in the abundance of unique Portuguese wine grape varieties shifted focus to more premium wine production with a portfolio of unique dry red and white wines being marketed on a global scale.

History of Rioja wine

The history of Rioja wine reflects a long and varied winemaking tradition in the Spanish region of La Rioja, starting with the first Phoenician settlers in 11th century BC. As with many of Europe's most well known wine regions, the Ancient Romans founded many of the Rioja vineyards. Throughout the Middle Ages, pilgrims to the shrine of St. James at Santiago de Compostela passed through the region and carried back with them the reputation of wines from the area. The phylloxera epidemic of the late 19th century was a major catalyst in the expansion and modernization of the Rioja wine industry, with the devastation the French wine industry both opening up the French wine market and bringing an influx of French investment into the region. Today, together with Sherry, Rioja is the most internationally recognized of all Spanish wines.

History of the wine press

The history of the wine press and of pressing is nearly as old as the history of wine itself with the remains of wine presses providing some of the longest-serving evidence of organised viticulture and winemaking in the ancient world. The earliest wine press was probably the human foot or hand, crushing and squeezing grapes into a bag or container where the contents would ferment.The pressure applied by these manual means was limited and these early wines were probably pale in colour and body, and eventually ancient winemakers sought out alternative means of pressing their wine. By at least the 18th dynasty, the ancient Egyptians were employing a "sack press" made of cloth that was squeezed with the aid of a giant tourniquet. The use of a wine press in winemaking is mentioned frequently in the Bible but these presses were more elaboration of treading lagars where grapes that were tread by feet with the juice running off into special basins.

The more modern idea of a piece of a winemaking equipment used to extract the juice from the skins probably emerged during the Greco-Roman periods where written accounts by Cato the Elder, Marcus Terentius Varro, Pliny the Elder and others described wooden wine presses that utilized large beams, capstans and windlasses to exert pressure on the pomace. The wines produced by these presses were usually darker, with more color extracted from the skins but could also be more harsh with bitter tannins also extracted. That style of wine press would eventually evolve into the basket press used in the Middle Ages by wine estates of the nobility and Catholic Church leading to the modern tank batch and continuous presses used in wineries today.


Katzenelnbogen is the name of a castle and small town in the district of Rhein-Lahn-Kreis in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Katzenelnbogen is the seat of the Verbandsgemeinde ("collective municipality") Katzenelnbogen.


A krater or crater (Greek: κρατήρ, kratēr, literally "mixing vessel") was a large vase in Ancient Greece, particularly used for watering down wine.


In the pottery of ancient Greece, a kylix ( KY-liks, KIL-iks; Ancient Greek: κύλιξ, pl. κύλικες; also spelled cylix; pl.: kylikes KY-li-keez, KIL-i-keez) is the most common type of wine-drinking cup. It has a broad, relatively shallow, body raised on a stem from a foot and usually two horizontal handles disposed symmetrically. The main alternative wine-cup shape was the kantharos, with a narrower and deeper cup and high vertical handles.

The almost flat interior circle of the base of the cup, called the tondo, was generally the primary surface for painted decoration in the black-figure or red-figure pottery styles of the 6th and 5th century BC, and the outside was also often painted. As the representations would be covered with wine, the scenes would only be revealed in stages as the wine was drained. They were often designed with this in mind, with scenes created so that they would surprise or titillate the drinker as they were revealed.

The word comes from the Greek kylix "cup," which is cognate with Latin calix, the source of the English word "chalice" but not related to the similar Greek word calyx which means "husk" or "pod". The term seems to have been rather more generally used in ancient Greece. Individual examples and the many named sub-varieties of kylix are often called names just using "cup". Like all other types of Greek pottery vessels, they are also covered by the general term of "vase".


Limnio (LIM-nee-oh) is a red Greek wine grape variety that is indigenous to the Greek island of Lemnos. The grape has had a long history of wine production that may extend back to Ancient Greece with wine historians widely believing it was the grape variety, Lemnia, that was described by Aristotle as producing the famous red Lemnian wine. According to wine expert Oz Clarke, Limnio is "One of Greece's most important red vines."

New Mexico wine

New Mexico has a long history of wine production in the United States. In 1629, Franciscan friar García de Zúñiga and a Capuchín monk named Antonio de Arteaga planted the first wine grapes in the Río Grande valley of southern New Mexico. Viticulture took hold in the valley, and by the year 1880, grapes were grown on over 3,000 acres (12 km2), and wineries produced over 1,000,000 US gallons (3,800,000 L) of wine. The editor of the Socorro bulletin predicted in 1880 that "We see in the present attention given to grape culture, an important and growing industry which, in a few years, will assume proportions of no ordinary nature."The wine industry in New Mexico declined in the latter decades of the nineteenth century in part due to flooding of the Río Grande. Prohibition in the United States forced many wineries to close, while others remained operational providing sacramental wine to primarily Catholic as well as other Christian churches. The modern New Mexico wine industry received significant support in 1978 when a government-sponsored study encouraged winegrowers to plant French hybrid grape varieties.

New Mexico now has more than 60 wineries producing 900,000 US gallons (3,400,000 L) of wine annually.

Phoenicians and wine

The culture of the ancient Phoenicians was one of the first to have had a significant effect on the history of wine. Phoenicia was a civilization centered in current day Lebanon. Between 1550 BC and 300 BC, the Phoenicians developed a maritime trading culture that expanded their influence from the Levant to North Africa, the Greek Isles, Sicily, and the Iberian Peninsula. Through contact and trade, they spread not only their alphabet but also their knowledge of viticulture and winemaking, including the propagation of several ancestral varieties of the Vitis vinifera species of wine grapes.They either introduced or encouraged the dissemination of wine knowledge to several regions that today continue to produce wine suitable for international consumption. These include modern-day Lebanon, Syria, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Spain, France, and Portugal.The Phoenicians and their Punic descendants of Carthage had a direct influence on the growing winemaking cultures of the ancient Greeks and Romans that would later spread viticulture across Europe. The agricultural treatises of the Carthaginian writer Mago were among the most important early texts in the history of wine to record ancient knowledge of winemaking and viticulture. While no original copies of Mago's or other Phoenician wine writers' works have survived, there is evidence from quotations of Greek and Roman writers such as Columella that the Phoenicians were skilled winemakers and viticulturists.

They were capable of planning vineyards according to favorable climate and topography, such as which side of a slope was most ideal for grape growing, and producing a wide variety of different wine styles ranging from straw wines made from dried grapes to an early example of the modern Greek wine retsina, made with pine resin as an ingredient. The Phoenicians also spread the use of amphoras (often known as the "Canaanite jar") for the transport and storage of wine.


Saint-Connan (Breton: Sant-Konan) is a commune in the Côtes-d'Armor department of Brittany in northwestern France.

It is known for its long history of wine making.


In ancient Greece, the symposium (Greek: συμπόσιον symposion or symposio, from συμπίνειν sympinein, "to drink together") was a part of a banquet that took place after the meal, when drinking for pleasure was accompanied by music, dancing, recitals, or conversation. Literary works that describe or take place at a symposium include two Socratic dialogues, Plato's Symposium and Xenophon's Symposium, as well as a number of Greek poems such as the elegies of Theognis of Megara. Symposia are depicted in Greek and Etruscan art that shows similar scenes.In modern usage, it has come to mean an academic conference or meeting such as a scientific conference. The equivalent of a Greek symposium in Roman society is the Latin convivium.

Turkish wine

Turkish wine is wine made in the transcontinental Eurasian country Turkey. The Caucasus region, where Georgia and Iran are located, played a pivotal role in the early history of wine and is likely to have been one of the earliest wine-producing regions of the world.Ampelographers estimate that Turkey is home to between 600–1200 indigenous varieties of Vitis vinifera (the European grapevine), though less than 60 of these are grown commercially. With over 1,500,000 acres (6,100 km2) planted under vine, Turkey is the world's fourth-leading producer of grapes for wine production.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Turkey's first president, established the country's first commercial winery in 1925. According to the OIV, the total wine production in 2005 was 287,000 hl. In the first half of 2009, wine consumption in Turkey reached 20,906,762 litres.

Wine in China

Wine (Chinese: 葡萄酒 pútáojiǔ lit. "grape alcohol") has a long history in China. Although long overshadowed by huangjiu (sometimes translated as "yellow wine") and the much stronger distilled spirit baijiu, wine consumption has grown dramatically since the economic reforms of the 1980s. China is now numbered among the top ten global markets for wine. Ties with French producers are especially strong, and Ningxia wines have received international recognition.


A wineskin is an ancient container made of animal skin, usually a goat, used to transport liquids such as water, olive oil, milk, wine, butter or even cheese.

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