World History Timeline
Humans have been making wine for thousands and thousands of years, since almost the beginning of civilization. Archeologists continue to find new pieces of evidence proving the existence of winemaking and wine consumption in many different regions from many different time periods. Currently the oldest piece of evidence dates back to 10,000 BC in the modern-day country of Georgia. Additional evidence of winemaking has been found in different areas of the Middle East, as well as China, and Egypt.
It is thought that the first people to discover wine did so accidentally. It’s easy to imagine how such a scenario would take place; a container full of grapes was placed somewhere and forgotten, and when found again the fresh grapes would have fermented and become wine. And someone who was either very curious or very hungry, ate the fermented grapes and experienced alcohol for the first time. They certainly would have told all of their friends of the bizarre experience and tried to replicate the conditions to make more fermented grapes, or wine.
Unlike other alcoholic drinks, wine is very easily made accidently. Naturally occurring yeast that are able to ferment the grape juice live on grape skins. Additionally grapes are very high in sugar, giving the yeast food to turn into alcohol. It’s easy to see how wine could be discovered accidentally in multiple regions of the world.
Once wine got its start with human civilization it began spreading. And no one was better at spreading grapes, wine, and wine drink customs than the Ancient Greeks and Romans. When they conquered and visited new lands they brought wine and grapevines with them. Many of the famous European wine regions today were first introduced to wine through the Greeks and Romans.
Wine in Ancient Times
While the Greeks and Romans drank and produced plenty of wine, much of their wine was very different from the wine we drink today. In fact, the majority of their wine would probably be unpalatable by modern standards. Today we have different techniques to help preserve our wine, but back then their options were much more limited. Oftentimes their wine tasted closer to vinegar due to a lack of preservatives. Things like resin, ash, herbs, honey, and lead were added to help preserve or flavor the wine. Some of the ancient wine was even thick, sticky, and resembled more of a syrup than a wine of today’s standards. These wines required a dilution of water to make them drinkable. In some cases, seawater was actually the preferred water for dilution. It wasn’t until around the 6th century that wine started resembling anything close to what we drink today. By this time the Catholic Church had become the main champions of wine and started controlling much of Europe’s wine production.
Through the millenniums wine and human civilization have evolved together. From the taste, the production methods, the selling methods, and even the way wine is consumed has changed many times since wine was first discovered. Below is a timeline featuring the important dates throughout the world’s wine history to give a bit of perspective on how much has changed in the world of wine since its invention.
“What Did Wine Taste like Thousands of Years Ago?” n.d. Serious Eats. https://www.seriouseats.com/wine-history-paul-lukacs-inventing-wine-how-wine-was-modernized-ancient-wine-tasted-terrible.