History of Wine

We closely intertwined the history of wine spans thousands of years and with the history of agriculture, cuisine, civilization and humanity itself. Archaeological evidence suggests that the earliest wine production came from sites in Armenians, Georgia, and Iran, dating from 8000 to 5000 BC. The archaeological evidence becomes clearer and points to the domestication of grapevine in Early Bronze Age sites of the Near East, Sumer and Egypt from around the third millennium BC.

We know Armenia as the world’s oldest winery, dating back to 4100BC. Armenia’s wine history is ancient; archaeologists discovered evidence of large-scale wine production in the Areni-1 cave complex. The dating discovery back to 6100BC, making it the oldest known wine production region.

We have uncovered evidence of the earliest European wine production at archaeological sites in Macedonia, dating to 6,500 years ago. These same sites also contain remnants of the world’s earliest evidence of crushed grapes. In Egypt, wine became a part of recorded history, playing an important role in ancient ceremonial life. We have also found traces of wild wine dating from the second and first millennium BC in China.

Wine, tied in myth to Dionysus/Bacchus, was common in ancient Greece and Rome, and many of the major wine-producing regions of Western Europe today were established with Phoenician and later Roman plantations. Wine-making technology, such as the winepress, improved considerably during the time of the Roman Empire; many grape varieties and cultivation techniques were known, and they developed barrels for storing and shipping wine.

In medieval Europe, following the decline of Rome and its industrial-scale wine production for export, the Christian Church became a staunch supporter of the wine necessary for the celebration of the Catholic Mass. Whereas they forbid wine in medieval Islamic cultures, its use in Christian libation was widely tolerated and Geber and other Muslim chemists pioneered its distillation for Islamic medicinal and industrial purposes such as perfume. Wine production gradually increased and its consumption became popularized from the 15th century onwards, surviving the devastating Phylloxera louse of the 1870s and eventually establishing growing regions throughout the world.

 

The Wine History in America

We can produce wine from a wide variety of grapes using different processing methods. For instance, the harvest of red grapes is the first step in the winemaking process. They then crushed the grapes using a machine, and separate the skins.

The fermentation process of the juice may be sped up by mixing in a yeast catalyst (Jiang, 2021). Depending on the winemaker, it might mature the juice barrels for a few weeks, several months, or even many years.

Once the wine is bottled, it is ready for consumption. It has traditionally associated wine with the change in the United States, and this association persists today. People’s lives alter over time as winemakers smash them into a liquid. This is a metaphor. From colonial times on, wine has had a prominent place in American culture.

Myth Behind American Vineland Discovery

When Leif Ericsson landed in America in the year 1001, he became an iconic figure in the wine history of the nation. From Greenland to the West Coast via ship. A German named Turkey made the trek to the West Counties, but Leif Ericsson never made it (Neme, 2021).

Tyrek discovered Viner, which is frequently referred to as “wine berries” in the English language. As a tribute to the area’s rich wine-growing tradition, Leif and Tyrek dubbed the region Wine Land. A Norse crew transported grapes from the west to the east coast of the nation using sails.

Norton Grape

Old, very successful American hybrid making rich, vinifera-reds in a wide range of USA states. They named this variety after Daniel Norton(1794-1842), a physician and horticulturist near Richmond, Virginia, who discovered it around 1820. A recent DNA study has shown that Norton is a hybrid variety whose ancestry includes Vitis aestivalis and Vitis vinifera and as a vinifera parent might be a seedling of Enfarine Noir.

Viticultural characteristic

Small to medium size compact bunches of small, tough-skinned berries with blue blossom. Vigorous and best on well-drained sandy and gravel soils. May be prone to magnesium deficiency. It is tolerant of many fungal diseases.

As far back as ancient times, European grapes had the same aroma and taste as Norton’s grape, which were produced by Norton’s family. It was during this time period that the Norton grape became commercially accessible to American consumers. If Missouri were a wine region, it would be comparable to Napa Valley.

When Norton’s wine won home a gold medal at the Vienna international exhibits in 1873, his efforts were well-received. Prior to prohibition, Norton’s wine had a significant impact on the American wine business.

Hybrid Alexander Grape

French immigrants in Jacksonville had tried winemaking between 1562 and 1564, but it was unsuccessful. After several failed attempts, the grapes growers searched for new types of grapes capable of producing high-quality wine. Winemaking was a popular pastime among the former residents of both Carolina and Virginia.

The Scuppernong grapes had long been used by early immigrants to produce wine. Because of the grape’s distinctive taste, the colonies attempted to bring grape plants from the European mainland. The French introduced the ‘visit viniferous’ cultivar to Virginia in 1619. A plague of pests and diseases has made it difficult to crossbreed foreign grapes with local ones.

However, in one incident of cross-breeding, a disease-resistant vine was born. 1683 saw Pennsylvania’s first hybrid orchard being planted, and they lauded it as tasting the closest to European types at the time William Penn himself planted it. Selective breeding has resulted in the creation of hybrid Alexander grapes.

The Missionary Grape

In December 1769, Father Juniper Serra planted grapes and built a winery to lay the foundation for the first mission in San Diego de Alcala (Li,2021). The first missionary arrived in Sonoma later in 1805. The missionary observed that the native American grape Vitis rupestris was incapable of producing high-quality wine, so they crossed them with Vitis vinifera. Although Zinfandel grapes were introduced by the 49ers some decades ago, many wineries in California now produce them.

Ancient World Wine

In ancient times, regions like China, Armenia, and Iran used grape juice to make alcohol.

Old World Wine

In the earlier periods, the wine-producing regions such as Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East saw a boom in grapes growing. Winemaking in these regions relied heavily on the grape variety Vitus viniferous. This grape’s forefathers are believed to have originated in the Mediterranean region.

New World Wine

They produce new world wine in the regions that were formerly not famous for growing wine-producing grapes. Australia and New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, and Canada are just a few of the places in the New World where wine production started in the last few centuries (FRANCES,2021).

For instance, they grew wine grapes in several states in the United States and Europe. There is a good chance you’ve heard of Oregon and Washington producing wines. Winemaking in the Old World relied on the Vitus viniferous grape, which can grow in a wide range of climates and soils.

History of Wine Timeline

No matter how far back in time we go to study the history of winemaking, the first steps would be the same. Crushed grapes (or grape juice) must be fermented before they can be used to produce wine (Araujo,2021). A few lines cannot do justice to the history of wine. It’s possible that some of the best songs ever written will be sung during the event. It is possible that this account of the history of wine and how it has been consumed and produced across the world may give you new insights.

7000 B.C.

Wine scientist and anthropologist Dr. Patrick McGovern found that the world’s first scientifically proven alcoholic beverage was produced in the Henan region of China. Grapes, rice, honey, and hawthorn berries constituted an ancient fermented beverage during the Early Neolithic Period. To verify the centuries-old wine-making process, McGovern and his colleagues put the mixture with yeast on its skins in jars, and they determined that fermentation had occurred.

To learn whether grapes were consumed alone or with other fruits, further research is required. In the earlier times, it considered wine a spiritual drink, and religious and burial ceremonies utilized alcohol.

2100 B.C.

Researchers in Armenia’s mountains discovered in 2016 that the world’s oldest vineyard is a cave. In this cave, archaeologists discovered a grape press, a fermentation jar, and drinking bowls and cups. They also discovered that Vitus vinifera, the most prevalent grape variety, was used in the production of wine.

By comparing the vinery with the current techniques, the researchers conclude that the wine produced should resemble Merlot in flavour. For the first time, we have proof of a whole winemaking process in ancient times. Armenian wine may have been utilized in religious rituals because of the cave’s significance as a burial ground.

3100 B.C.

They produced wine from red grapes in ancient Egypt. Amphorae had been used to keep wine consumable for a very long time (clay vessels with two handles). Ancient Egyptians believed that the deity of rebirth Osiris enjoyed drinking blood-red wine. They have documented a wide range of ceremonial and therapeutic uses from the archaeological evidence, including funerals. White wine was first discovered in Egypt when amphorae was found in Tutankhamun’s tomb.

1200 B.C.-539 B.C.

Phoenicians introduced winemaking to many regions of the world, such as Greece and Italy, as well as modern-day Turkey; Lebanon; Israel; Syria; and Turkey. Historically, these regions had a higher concentration of grapevines. They have reported that when the Phoenicians crossed paths with the Jews during their travels; they adopted the Jewish practice of drinking wine in religious rituals.

800 B.C.

During the Phoenician invasion, they introduced the Greeks to wine and its symbolic implications. It created the deity, Dionysus, in Ancient Greece because of the extensive usage of alcohol by the public. After harvest, crushed they stored grapes in pit hoi (earthenware containers akin to Egyptian amphora). After that, it is added to them meals to help them recharge their batteries.

Greece’s expanding city-states made winemaking increasingly vital for their conquest. Greeks, like the Phoenicians before them, travelled with grapevines in their luggage.

200 B.C.-100 B.C.

In imitation of the Greeks, the Romans created their own wine god, Bacchus. The word “bacchanalian,” which refers to inebriated merriment, comes from this phrase.

Barrels and other Roman innovations helped Roman winemakers improve on their Greek forebears’ techniques. After crushing the grapes in the Roman wine press, it separated them from their skins using a colander-like device called an Osculum (the Latin word for “wine press”).

Prior to fermentation in amphorae buried in the ground or even immersed in water, the juice would be boiled in order to preserve the flavour of the fruit.

Unlike the “drink of the gods” enjoyed by Egyptian pharaohs, in the Roman period, wine was generally accessible. The commoners (a bitter wine formed from residual grape components during pressing) widely consumed wines like a museum (a vinegar-based wine).

France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal are among the countries in the Roman Empire where wines were produced.

306-380 A.D.

During the reign of Constantine, the Great, Christianity took root in Roman society, and the Catholic Church was established (A.D. 306-337) (Kim, 2021). At that time, wine gained a central role in liturgical celebrations such as those associated with the Eucharistic (also known as communion). To commemorate the Last Supper, they conducted the rite at Catholic gatherings with the wine representing Jesus’ blood.

There were many Christian congregations that used the symbolism of wine or the wine itself. People consumed wine for both social and spiritual reasons (although grape juice is a typical replacement).

1492-1600 A.D.

Christopher Columbus, on one of his four trips from Spain, discovered the New World in 1492 AD. Columbus’ “discovery” of the New World sparked an era of tremendous exploration and conquest throughout North and South America (Rytkönen, 2021). European grape-growers migrated to the New World and transferred the methods to Mexico and Brazil during the 16th century. The wine business in South America had substantial expansion during this time period.

A group of Spanish missionaries in Santiago, Chile’s capital, built the country’s first winery (not surprising since wine was a mainstay of the Catholic Church by then). Missionaries, who eventually sold the grapes they had grown, planted a vineyard in the Mendoza wine region.

1769-1830 A.D.

Juniper Serra, a Spanish priest, formed California’s first mission and built its first documented vineyard in the late 1700s. They began producing Mission grapes, a kind of Vitus viniferous that is native to Spain.

With the skins on, the grape could produce sweet white wine, sweet red wine, and sweet fortified wine. Mission grapes ruled the California state for many years until being supplanted by other types of grapes about 1830 A.D. Soon after, other Europeans immigrated to Los Angeles and established their own wines.

The 1830s

English winemaker and novelist James Busby worked in the UK, Scotland, and Australia during the “Oceania’s Golden Age” period. They did not plant Australian vineyards with European grapes cuttings until the early 1800s. James brought a cutting from Australia and planted it in America during the 1830s. Furthermore, he began cultivating grapes in Australia and New Zealand in the late 1800s. It is because of this that they consider him to be Australia’s “founding father.”

The 1980s to Today

At the end of the wine history, we will have a look at China’s winemaking heritage now. After that, China saw a tremendous expansion in the economy and became a big wine consumer and producer. Over the years, grape wine’s popularity and reputation have increased significantly in China, despite the rice wine’s continued dominance in the country.

However, the volume of wine produced in China has dramatically reduced during the previous several years. One theory holds that the decline is because of poor growing conditions, dwindling interest in home winemaking, and an increase in the importation of wine from more renowned vineyards. Wine will remain around for a long time, no matter what happens at the conclusion of this narrative.

Your Wine Has a Story

For a wine lover, it is important to learn more about the various wine-producing and wine-drinking traditions throughout the world. The social and spiritual aspects of winemaking in Greco-Roman culture and beyond had a significant effect on winemaking in Europe and beyond. In every sip, you may find a sliver of the past.

The Prohibition Hit and Shipping Difficulties

They ratified the 18th Amendment on June 13th, 1917, and became law in the United States. The constitution forbade the production, sale, or transportation of alcoholic liquors. In contrast to the vast majority of states that followed the blueprint, Rhode Island deviated from it (Drieu et al.,2021). Congress strictly enforced the ban act.

Known as the Republican Minnesota Prohibition Act. However, the ban was revived on August 25, 1920. Making wine at home is now legal, as long as it isn’t laced with cocaine or other depressants. Many people in the area started making their own wine after the law clarified that it could only be consumed in one’s own home and not be sold.

The Paris Judgment

The investor’s intentions alter the views of the local wine producers about their wines. A blind tasting of California Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon on July 7th, 1976, at the famed Paris Wine Tasting Day, confirmed that the United States is producing the best wines in the world and is the world’s leading wine producer.

Vineyards Locations and Wineries Growth

According to Dave McIntyre of McIntyre Vineyards, there are over 8,000 wineries operating in the United States. However, among such numerous wineries, only a select handful have received official recognition. On January 6, 2000, there were only 59 Virginia wineries listed in the state’s wine registry. Virginia was the state with the most wineries registered that year.

And the number of wineries has grown from 118 on 2nd February 2000 to 328 during the last decade. Three large corporations produce half of the wine consumed in the United States, with California playing a significant role. Home winemaking, rather than mostly fueled wine consumption in the United States large, well-known winery.

Use of Wine

Wine has been consumed for different purposes throughout history. Long ago, wine was taken primarily for medical when the situation was a matter of life and death. Similarly, wine was consumed to survive since clean water for drinking was not easily accessed.

Since wine has natural antibacterial, it can be stored for a long time, and even some individuals would blend a potent wine mixed with their water to cleanse the water. Moreover, the wine was used by the ancient Greeks during their religious celebrations. Actually, many old cultures used wine as a way of relaying information to their gods from the invigorating effect of wine, which made it very pleasing. Thus, wine was extremely appreciated in temples and religious revelry.

Wine and Food Pairing

To create a wonderful holiday experience, a feast for the family, or rather a discreet celebration, selecting the right bottles to pair with a meal is fundamental. Wine has become a necessary part of the gatherings. Wine experts have worked hard to create wines suitable for every occasion. Therefore, wine and food pairing make the dining experience memorable for every age and event.

Conclusion

Notably, the history and culture of wine have taken a long companionship and will continue for generations to come. The wine culture is continually expanding as novel and appealing habits to consume wine will come up as they get a new sense. At our times, wine brings friends and family as one to enjoy and reflect on their lives. See more resources here

Want to read more about wine? Try reading these books!

The Story of Wine: From Noah to Now

Wine Journeys: Myth and History

 

References

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  14. Photo by Riccardo Bernucci on Unsplash

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