An alcoholic beverage loved by people from all over the world, wine boasts a rich history that dates all the way back to 7,000 to 5,000 BC. According to archaeological and genetic evidence, the earliest production of this well-loved beverage may have taken place in Georgia, Amernia and Azerbaijan, while the earliest proof of a winery is the Areni-1, a wine production facility in Armenia which is at least 6100 years old.
Finding its way into the Mesopotamian cultures, wine is mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia which is considered to be one of the earliest surviving great works of literature. Wines then settled in the Egyptian culture after the wines of Byblos were exported there during the Old Kingdom. The Egyptians started storing and experimenting with wine, while the Phoenicians started spreading wine around the Mediterranean. The Greeks fell in love with wine, giving birth to the Greek god of wine, Dionysus.
The Romans were also captivated by wine, and so they started publishing books on how to properly grow grapes. They would then plant vineyears near garrison towns so they could just produce wine locally instead of having them shipped over long distances. During this time, the prized wines were normally sweet or flavored in order to cover the spoilage issues. A shift to the drier styles was then seen thanks to the influence of Roman doctors. White wines became the drink of the rich, while red wines became the beverage of the poor.
Evolving even further, wine became the representation of Christ’s blood in Christianity. Unlike the Greeks and Romans, however, the Christians drank wine in moderation instead of in excess. And thanks to Christians monks, wine eventually moved all over Europe.
During the “Age of Discovery”, wine spread even farther and reached Portugal, Spain, France, South Africa and the Great Britain. In 1520, cultivation of the vine started in Mexico, and wines became mostly used for religious services. From Mexico, wine spread into California, thanks to the series of missions by Father Junipero Serra.
In 1833, Jean-Louis Vignes planted the first documented European wine vines in Los Angeles. And in 1857, the first commerical winery in California called the Buena Vista was opened by Agoston Haraszthy.
Of course, this is just the short version of the history of wine. Volumes of books are available on the subject, with plenty of interesting facts you normally wouldn’t hear anywhere. May this brief history of wine encourages you to learn more about this alcoholic drink that is loved not only by humans, but also by gods!