Today, I decided to do some research on the history of wine. There are hundreds of sites with information, and a lot of the information is inconsistent. Here are the ones I used: Love to Know, Amazing Spaces and The Collector. Not all of it is consistent. That prompted me to do some research on Google and came up with a lot of great information that I will share today. I know I’m barely scratching the surface on this topic. But it’s a start.
Memorable Dates in the History of Wine
- 9000 BCE: The Collector tells us that “archaeological evidence indicates that wine was first produced in China around 9000 BCE. However, it was much different than our present-day beverage, as ancient Chinese wine was made with grapes, fermented rice, and honey. Two thousand years later, the seeds of what became the European winemaking tradition began in western Asia, in Iran. As for Europe, the first evidence for domesticated grapes comes from the Southern Caucasus, the area occupied by present-day Armenia and Georgia.” The Armenian and Georgian wine is dated to 7000 to 5000 BCE.
- 4100 BCE: The oldest winery dates back to 4100 BCE in Armenia, where archeologists found a wine press and fermentation vessels, along with other artifacts.
- Third millennium BCE: Wine entered written history via tomb paintings in ancient Egypt. However, there wasn’t enough land for large-scale wine production. So normal people drank beer, and the pharaohs and the elites drank wine.
- Around 1200 BCE: Wine made its way by trade across the Mediterranean.
- 4th century CE: Wine grapes were planted in the Champagne region of France.
- 17th century: Wine was bottled in glass.
Wine Was Symbolic in Ancient Greece
The god Dionysus was named to honor wine. He was the god of the grape harvest and wine making as well as ritual madness and religious ecstasy. Wine became such a staple in Greek society that they soon made it a symbol for trade and religion.
According to Greek Flavours, winemaking started in Greece in 6,500 BCE. Very interestingly, “The ancient Greeks always drank their wine diluted with water, which distinguishes them from the so-called ‘barbarians’ who drank their wine directly. The reason the ancient Greeks diluted their wine was because they wanted to drink all night during their symposia, but not to get drunk.”
Toasting With A Glass Of Wine Started With Actual Toast
This amazed me. In ancient Rome, wine was known to be excessively acidic. Drinkers would add a piece of toasted bread into their cup to help cut through the acid.