Wine: Today’s Ancient Beverage

Wine has become an integral part of our culture; it helps us cherish our evenings and enjoy our celebrations, but have you ever wondered when wine was invented? Wine certainly isn’t a recent invention. In fact, it dates back thousands of years. Let’s talk about the history of wine, starting from as far back as 5400 BCE.

Earliest Traces

The earliest traces of alcohol have been found in sixty-million-year-old fossils, which indicate that wine is a lot older than we may have imagined. However, the date varies slightly, as it’s hard to differentiate between overripe grapes and wine once they have turned into fossils. Nevertheless, Haji Firuz tepe, near Zaragoza Mountain, Iran, hosts the oldest wine artifacts that date back to the Neolithic period. Carbon dating of these samples showed them to be as old as 5400 BCE.

 The Persian Fable

 According to a Persian anecdote, the prince of Persia decided to leave his princess over her mistake. The divorce was a heartbreak for the princess. She decided to take her life by consuming the old, fermented grapes on the table. Although the princess failed in her mission, she discovered the now infamous beverage.

Fermented grapes weren’t made into wine on purpose; according to one story, it was an attempted suicide that produced one of today’s most popular drinks.

The consumption of the fermented beverage let her escape her woes and enter a subconscious state where her body enjoyed unimaginable peace. The narrator describes that the effect of the grapes was popular, and soon, the royal family started to consume them in raw form. After some time, the king started wine preparation for the royal family, thus beginning the never-ending love of wine.

Egyptian Innovation

Later, Egyptian pharaohs discovered wines. Around 3000 BCE, the rulers of Egypt developed a taste for to wine [1]. Their thirst was insatiable, with production levels struggling to keep up, as grapes need time to grow and ferment properly. Therefore, experts say they started the production of wine from dates, figs, and pomegranates when they ran out of grapes. The wine tasted and looked completely different from today’s and would usually be yellow, red, and white. Nevertheless, it formed the basis of today’s fine drink.

Today’s Taste and Texture

Modern wine most resembles the wines produced in Campania during the 1700s. Production methods during the eighteenth century were similar to those followed today, and the fermentation timing was also similar. Hence the similarity in overall taste and texture.

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This Day in Wine History

3000 BC: The earliest reference to wine is found in an Egyptian tomb dating back to 3000 BC. This discovery shows that wine was being made and consumed by ancient civilizations.

1700s: Winemaking did not begin on a large scale until industrialization took hold in England during the 1700s, when people began using improved techniques including steam distillation and barrel aging (which involved storing wines in barrels).

Want to read more? Try these books!

Ancient wine, Wine: Today’s Ancient BeverageAncient wine, Wine: Today’s Ancient Beverage

References:

[1] Wynne, Jackie. n.d. “The History of Wine | Flowers, wine and gifts.” Arena Flowers. Accessed September 2, 2022. https://www.arenaflowers.com/pages/history-of-wine/.

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