March 17, 493 BC: On this day in 493 BC the first religious festival in honour of Liber Pater was held in Rome. This Roman god, who is relatively unknown today, was a patron of viticulture and wine, as well as male fertility and freedom. His name literally translates as ‘the Free Father’, supposing that consumption of wine freed the individual from inhibitions. The festival is broadly believed to have first been held in 493 BC to consecrate the new public temples at Rome in honour of the deities Ceres, Liber Pater and Libera. It had been declared by Aulus Postumius some years earlier when he was dictator of Rome and had conquered the Latins at the Battle of Lake Regillus. Later Liber Pater’s role as a god of viticulture and wine was superseded amongst the Romans by Bacchus, which in turn represented the transfer of the cult of Dionysius from the Greek Eastern Mediterranean to Rome. For more information, see J. Linderski’s ‘Libiis or Libens? A Note on a New Dedication to Liber Pater from Dacia’, in Latomus, T.34, Fasc. 1 (January – Mars, 1975), pp. 209–211. See also ‘Liber Pater’, in Pierre Grimal, The Dictionary of Classical Mythology (London, 1996).

March 17, 2011: On this day, the documentary Pelican’s Watch was released in Greece. The film follows a small community on Santorini as they grow grapes, make wine, and discuss the preservation of their region’s culture and history.

March 17, 2015: On this day, Viu Manent was awarded by Drinks International as “Best Visitor Center” in the Drinks International Wine Tourism Awards. The rich valley of Colchagua was the place that Miguel Viu García chose to build his winery, one of the most outstanding in Chile that has been recognized abroad on multiple occasions for its quality.

For more dates in wine history, click here.