Egyptian Wine History: Two Different Perceptions

Egyptian civilization is one of the oldest traceable civilizations on the planet. Carbon dating of artifacts has shown the existence of an established culture since 6000 BCE. Egyptian history is divided into two parts based on its rulers. For part of its ancient history, Pharaohs were the rulers of Egypt. Their ideas regarding religion, culture, and traditions differed from those of the Roman rulers who ruled after them. Regardless of who ruled the country, wines have been an essential part of their history.

Gift From Levant

Historians believe that Egypt had its first wine production in 2700 BCE after foreign settlers from the Levant started cultivating the region near the Nile Delta. There were considerations given to producing wine using pomegranates instead of grapes, but the idea didn’t materialize until it was essential. Egyptian Pharaohs developed an addiction to wine, but this habit wasn’t celebrated in the country.

The Traditions of Ancient Egypt

Egyptian legend said that overripe and fermented grapes held the blood of sinful people, and should be given to prisoners only. It was said that once a man indulges in wine drinking, the blood of wrongdoers enters his body and pushes him towards tasks that against his religion.

The religion deemed red wine to be the blood of wrongdoers that has been stored in grapes.

Heads of Ancient Egypt decided to stop their drinking habits and began presenting the wine to their Gods. However, the addiction to red wine took over. They were unable to resist the temptation of drinking. This was the moment when white wine culture started developing in Egypt.

Lack Of White Wine Supply

During 1500 BCE, rosé wine wasn’t an understandable concept, and producing white wine was challenging. Various historians have claimed that Egyptian pharaohs called out white wine from foreign countries. The wine was stored in large containers and brought to the royals. Nevertheless, some historians also believe that the demand for white wine overpowered its supply. The producers had to switch to other fruits for production. Pomegranates, figs, and dates were the preferred choices, and for several years, white wine was produced using them.

Did You Know: The Ancient Egyptians produced wine not only grapes, but also pomegranates, figs, and dates.  

A Change in Norms

After the Roman takeover, Christianity became the focal religion of the region, and wine became a celebrated drink. It was used widely at festivals, religious exhibitions, and events. Foreign colonization also provided Egypt with wide varieties of wine that included various types of grapes. The recent research at the Church of Alexandria—a famous monastery in Ancient Egypt—had shown large reserves of wine that were stored hundreds of years ago.

In 2008, a study conducted in the Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai showed several wines and foreign coins, indicating that Egyptians might have imported different wines from other parts of the world.

Stashes Of Wine Discovered After A 1000 Years.

Tutankhamun was a young Pharaoh mostly famous today for his well preserved tomb. Archeologists have found more than 3,000 treasured items in his tomb, consisting of great bracelets and heavy coins. However, a recent discovery had topped them all. Large stashes of wine have been uncovered. Surprisingly, the researchers have proven the wine to be red instead of the expected white wine.

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Egyptian civilization was one of the most modern civilizations in their time. They are popularly known for building one of the world’s greatest wonders: the pyramid. However, their beliefs about wine also broaden our research regarding their everyday lives and culture.

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