Wine and Spring In History

Wine has been a beloved beverage for thousands of years, enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds around the world. Similarly, Spring has long been associated with new beginnings, renewal, and the start of the growing season. While there is no direct historical connection between wine and Spring Break as we know it today, there are many historical and cultural connections between wine and Springtime celebrations that help us understand the enduring appeal of this beverage during this season.

Wine and Spring In History

Ancient Greece and Rome

One of the earliest recorded connections between wine and Springtime celebrations can be found in ancient Greece and Rome. Wine was an important part of the social and cultural fabric of these societies, and it played a central role in many festivals and celebrations.

In ancient Greece, the festival of Anthesteria was held in February to celebrate the arrival of Spring. This festival included a wine-drinking contest called the Kottabos, in which participants would throw wine dregs at a target while reciting poetry or singing. The festival also included a procession of wine jars and the drinking of a special vintage of a wine that had been aged for several years.

In ancient Rome, the arrival of Spring was celebrated with a festival called Floralia, which took place from April 28 to May 3. This festival was dedicated to the goddess Flora, who was associated with flowers, vegetation, and fertility. During the festival, people would wear colorful clothing and wreaths of flowers, dance, and engage in other forms of revelry. The wine was an important part of these celebrations, and it was often consumed in large quantities.

The Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, wine continued to be associated with Springtime celebrations, particularly during the Christian festival of Easter. The wine was an important part of the liturgy, and it was consumed during the celebration of the Eucharist, or Communion. The wine used for Communion was often of a higher quality than that consumed in everyday life, and it was sometimes flavored with spices or honey.

After the religious ceremony was over, people would often gather for a feast that included wine and other foods. In some regions, a special wine was made for Easter called Easter wine, which was flavored with herbs and spices and consumed in large quantities.

Did you know? Southern hemisphere vineyards typically pick their wine grapes in what is considered the springtime of the Northern hemisphere. Because of this, wines from the Southern hemisphere are technically six months older than the Northern hemisphere offerings, even if they’re produced in the same year.[3]

Renaissance and Early Modern Era

A Bottle of Champagne on Ice Bucket

During the Renaissance and early modern era, wine continued to be associated with Springtime celebrations, particularly in Europe. In France, the arrival of Spring was celebrated with the festival of Mardi Gras, which took place on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. During this festival, people would wear masks and costumes, dance, and consume large quantities of wine.

In Italy, the arrival of Spring was celebrated with the festival of Carnevale, which also involved masks, costumes, dancing, and wine. In Germany, the arrival of Spring was celebrated with the festival of May Day, which included the drinking of a special wine called Maibowle, which was flavored with strawberries, cherries, and other fruits.

Modern Times

Today, Spring Break is a popular time for college students to travel and enjoy time off from their studies. While the connection between wine and Spring Break is largely a modern phenomenon, it reflects the enduring appeal of wine as a beverage of celebration and enjoyment.

Many students choose to travel to warm, sunny destinations during Spring Break, where they can relax, party and enjoy outdoor activities like beach volleyball, hiking, and, of course, wine tasting. While Spring Break might be known for its excess, wine tastings and tours are a popular activity during Spring Break and they hopefully provide a fun and educational way to learn about wine and the wine-making process without the excess.

Wine and Spring In History, Wine and Spring In History

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In recent years, many Spring Break destinations have also begun to offer wine-related events and activities. For example, some beach resorts in California and Florida offer wine tastings on the beach, while others host wine and food pairing events or wine-themed dinners. You may even catch a few wine-loving Spring breakers in their best Spring break shirts (like this In Pinot “Veritas” tee) during wine-related activities. Some wine regions, such as Napa Valley and Sonoma County in California, have also become popular Spring Break destinations for wine enthusiasts.

Beyond the United States, many other countries also offer wine-related activities during Spring. For example, in Spain and France, the Bordeaux region offers a wide range of wine-related activities, including tastings, tours, and cooking classes.

Did you know? The Bordeaux wine region has a long history dating back to the Roman era, and the region’s wine trade flourished in the Middle Ages thanks to the English who enjoyed drinking Bordeaux wines.

In addition to wine tastings and tours, Spring Breakers may also enjoy participating in other wine-related activities. For example, some wineries offer grape stomping events, where visitors can participate in the traditional method of crushing grapes with their feet. Other wineries may offer cooking classes, where visitors can learn how to cook with wine or pair wine with different foods. 

While the connection between wine and Spring Break may be a modern phenomenon, it is rooted in a long history of Springtime celebrations that have included wine as a central component. Whether you are a college student looking to unwind during Spring Break or a wine enthusiast seeking to explore new wine regions and taste new wines, Spring is a great time to enjoy the pleasures of wine and celebrate the arrival of a new season.

Did you know? The first day of spring is called the vernal equinox, which occurs around March 20th in the northern hemisphere.

Wine and Spring In History, Wine and Spring In History

Current Spring Wine Events

Competitions, festivals, and celebrations revolving around Spring and wine have spanned centuries and continue worldwide in various forms. These Spring wine events center on who can craft the best-tasting and highest-quality wines, with wine producers of all sizes competing for the top awards. Though, more casual options, such as festivals dedicated to wine and food, are also available. Many of these competitions and festivals fall during springtime, keeping the tradition of Spring and spirits alive.

For example, Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Germany holds an annual spring wine competition known as the Andus Vini wine awards. During this competition, 268 wine experts travel to the area for a six-day event featuring 7500 wines worldwide. This spring competition is an intense show of wine appreciation. Judges are tested daily on their tasting skills to ensure accuracy against their peers before being allowed to test the wines for the day.

Other wine competitions and festivals are based in the US, with some including fun food items for event visitors. The Astoria Warrenton Crab, Seafood, & Wine Festival falls at the end of April each year and includes coastal cuisine like crab leek chowder and fried oysters as some of their offerings. During this event, 40 vintners from Oregon showcase their wine offerings to attendees.

Spring Wine (Austrian and German Young Wine)

Spring wine is a specific type of white wine that’s light and fresh in other parts of the world. This young wine is bottled early, so it can be purchased and consumed quickly. Though, in this case, Spring wine describes a white, it is not limited to a particular wine grape. The term is used broadly for any young white wine with a refreshing flavor. 

The history of Spring wine in Austria and Germany supposedly goes back to an old Celtic tradition during which locals consumed wine with the first sprouted strawberries during Beltane. This typically occurred from April 30 to May 1 each year. This festival is also known as Walpurgis Night. There is also a Spring wine in France, though it goes by a different name – “Vin de printemps.” Though, in France, the wine is more similar to a red wine punch and is offered with fresh strawberries. [1]

Purple Flower Field Under Blue Sky

Fun Facts About Wine Growing in Spring

With Spring in the air, these fun facts about wine grapes will help you feel ready for longer days, more sun, and flower blooms. [2]

  • The rising temperature in the soil prompts the vines to “awaken.” During this process, “sap bleeding” (aka sap flowing through the vines) occurs. This is the first step in grape vines producing fruit.
  • Included in the first stage of grape growing is bud break when fuzzy buds appear on the vines.
  • Flowers on grape vines do not appear until 40-80 days after bud break (usually late Spring). 
  • Grape vines do not need pollinators to produce fruit. Instead, they are self-fruitful (aka they self-pollinate). 
  • Only one grape grows from each flower.

Wine and Spring In History, Wine and Spring In History

Celebrate Springtime with Wine

Generally, lighter red wines and sparkling white wines are top choices among wine drinkers in the springtime. As the mood shifts from dark, dreary winter weather to blooming flowers, the selection of wine shifts with it. Instead of port or merlot, Spring brings with it fun rosé and Riesling offerings. 

Below are some spring wine options which mirror the spring atmosphere and fare well with lighter bites. 

  • Summer in a Bottle Long Island Rosé

Decked out in a flower-covered bottle, this Long Island Rosé screams springtime. It features a delicious fruity flavor and a light acidity that makes a perfect pairing with warmer weather. Seafood or a fruit and cheese-covered charcuterie board make an excellent match to this wine. 

  • White Wine with Bubbles

This Spring Break friendly wine comes in a can for easy portability. White Wine with Bubbles features melon notes and a well-balanced flavor. It’s made from a combination of viognier and unoaked chardonnay. This wine pairs well with any type of pizza, making it the ideal spring weather beverage for college attendees and adults who want a fun wine drink.

This sophisticated Spanish sparkling wine (and champagne’s rival) is made with a blend of macabeo, Xarel-lo, and parellada. Then, it’s aged for 34 months so it offers a golden color when it’s poured from the bottle. Avinyó Cava Reserve Brut 2018 features delicious fruit notes, including pear, lemon, and citrus. It goes well with appetizers (like nachos), shellfish, and tilapia.

  • Fiorini Lambrusco di Sorbara Corte degli Attimi 2021

Spring is the ideal time to enjoy a glass of Lambrusco from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. This sparkling red wine comes in a beautiful light salmon color to match the blooming flowers. It features a bone-dry aspect that keeps it refreshing. Fiorini Lambrusco di Sorbara Corte degli Attimi is excellent paired with grilled vegetables, light salads, and charcuterie boards.

This Day in Wine History

March 4: Many important wine-related events have occurred on March 4 throughout history. For example, in 1925, pinotage was created for the first time by a South African scientist.

March 31: This date also has multiple significant wine history events over multiple years. In 1991, the first wine yeast hybrid strain was produced. This date also marks the destruction of many vineyards and wineries during the Croatian War of Independence.

April 16: April 16, 778, marks the birth of Louis the Pious. He followed in his father’s footsteps by selling wine to monasteries in the Rhine area. He was also buried at the Monastery of Lorsch, which had a significant connection to wine as one of the top producers in the area.

April 25: In 1950, Robert Peugeot was born. He later became the co-owner of the famous Château Guiraud wine brand. In 1989, a bottle of 1787 Château Margaux, thought to be owned by Thomas Jefferson, was spilled at a black-tie event.

May 7: In 1785 in France, Sauvignon blanc was discovered on this day. In 1945, an unconditional surrender was offered to Dwight D. Eisenhower at Reims. This event led to a six-case vintage wine celebration the following day.

Want to read more? Try these books!

Wine and Spring In History, Wine and Spring In History Wine and Spring In History, Wine and Spring In History


[1] “Spring Wine.”,

[2] Mowery, Lauren. “Spring in the Vineyard Brings Hope and Rebirth.” Wine Enthusiast, March 19. 2021, 

[3] Lieberfarb, Amy. “Fun, Unique & Amusing Facts about Wine.” Sip on This Juice, July 6. 2016,

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