1. Fiction: The Greeks invented wine

Facts:  Since there is no way to go back in time and unearth the Greek myth that Dionysus, the son of Zeus and his mistress Semele, living on Mount Nysa, invented wine. However, archaeological records suggest that wine was discovered long before the Greeks adopted the wine culture. The earliest traces of wine are discovered in Haji Firuz Tepe area of Iran and are dated back to 8000 to 4000 BC.

It was when humans domesticated animals and plants and created permanent settlements. There is also evidence that Chines produced wines by grapes and dates fermentation around 7000 BC. A few thousand years later, Egyptians promoted wine consumption. Hieroglyphics suggest that they were more concerned with the quaintly than quality. Besides using pink and white grapes, they produced wines by fermenting figs and dates. Later, Greeks learned the process of winemaking from Phoenician traders.

They were the first to introduce and supply the wine industry to Europe. Alexander the great also took wine to Asia. During that time, Dionysus became famous for wine and ecstasy. He planted the vine and promoted viticulture during his long journeys. He suggested excessive drinking and is generally portrayed as an older man with a bunch of grapes and a barrel. After the rise of religion, wine gained popularity among religious preachers and became an essential part of spiritual gatherings.

2. Fiction: Noah’s drunken goat in the ark

Fact: Mainstream Christianity adopted wine due to a legend associated with Noah and an unruly goat that entered his ark during the flood. It is narrated that the goat sneaked to a grape store in the ark and ate grapes. After some time, the goat got drunk and started running around. Noah was curious about the behavior.

After the flood, Noah planted the vine and began producing wine. However, in reality, wine was already discovered long ago (8000 BC) in Haji Firuz Tepe region of Iran, Georgia (4000 BC), and China (7000 BC).

3. Fiction: The wine Jesus drank didn’t have any alcohol in it

Fact: Many bible scholars believe that the word wine in the divine scripture is a generic term with different meanings in different contexts. Sometimes it is referred to as grape juice, while in another context, it can represent an alcoholic beverage. The notion can be negated by learning the narration about Noah, which states in  Gen. 21, “And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.” Similarly, at the time of the Cana wedding, wine was common practice during the gathering.

So when chief Stewart took wine, he commented that it was the best wine he had tasted. At that time, wine only represented fermented grape juice and was alcoholic. Due to the best quality, it was appreciated by the attendees. Scientifically, grape juice naturally fermented with time, and there was no concept of non-alcoholic wine till Thomas Bramhall Welch first applied the techniques to prevent fermentation as suggested by Louis Pasteur.

4. Fiction: French wine is better than other wines

Fact: Many wine enthusiasts think that French wines are better than wines produced in other parts of the world. However, during a wine competition in  1976 (The judgment of Paris),  the  Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley was rated the best in every category against  Chardonnays in a blind tasting. Scientifically, it is proven that wine quality depends upon the geography of the land-producing vine and the winemaking process.

Regions in America and  Italy with suitable slopes, climate, soil, and proximity to the ocean grow vines that are of the same or better quality than French wines. Similarly, wine production, transportation, and presentation techniques also have a significant impact on the wine taste and effect on the consuming individual.

5. Fiction: Red wine is more important than white wine (not so in certain areas and certain periods of history)

Fact: The general perception is that red wines taste better than white wine. A recent survey shows that 58 % of Americans preferred red wines over white wines. However, moderate consumptions of both red and white wines have its own health benefits and side effects. The powerful antioxidants present in red wines prevent our blood vessels and prevent blood clots.

At the same time, white wines avoid diseases of the heart. Similarly, both wines produce different aromas as red wines are produced from red grapes crushed with skin, seed, and stems, while white wines are made by removing the grape skin and seeds.

6. Fiction: Dom Perignon invented sparkling wine

Facts: It is a general belief that Frech monk Dom Perignon invented sparkling wine in 1697. However, the truth is that an English scientist discovered a technique to introduce bubbles into wine in 1662. In his paper  “how to put the fizz into sparkling wine”, the scientist suggested the technique of making sparkling wine “Our wine coopers of recent times use vast quantities of sugar and molasses to all sorts of wines to make them drink brisk and sparkling and to give them spirit.”

Regarding Dom’s contribution, it is agreed by many that he was deeply involved in the winemaking process, and he wanted to avoid the second fermentation causing many accidents at that time. However, after tasting the sparkling wine produced by accident. He was much impressed by the wine and struggled to improve the wine quality.

Also read: Wine in Fiction

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