World Wine History - The Facts
While the origins of all “ancient” drinks have been lost in the centuries past, the drinks themselves remain present in all myths and legends of the people. According to archaeological findings however, we know that the origins of winemaking can be traced to the Neolithic period, between 10.000 and 4.500 BC, in the Zagros mountain range, between present-day Armenia and northern Iran.
Thanks to the temperate climate that favored organized cereal cultivation, the first rural communities began to systematically cultivate vineyards. At the same time the use of the wheel in ceramics led to the mass production of utensils that solved the problem of preparation, storage, transport, trade and serving of the liquid resulting from the fermentation of the grapes, once and for all. It is no coincidence that according to the Old Testament, Noah planted a vineyard right after the flood in this specific area.
Soon the knowledge of winemaking travelled to Crete and to the rest of Greece, Phoenicia (Syria, Lebanon, Israel) as well as the Nile Delta in Egypt on a small scale. In Mesopotamia and the Middle East, wine remained the drink of the political and religious elite because high temperatures did not allow for production on a large scale. The common people of the time drank ale.
In Greece of the Mycenaean and the Minoan civilization however, along with olive oil, wheat and figs, wine was the main export product and was transported by Greek ships all over the known world. Murals on Egyptian tombs, obelisks in Assyria, cuneiform tablets/stones in Babylon and catalogues of many high-ranking officials present the consumption of Greek wine, which by the way is the first PDO product in the world, as a status of social glamour.
When the culture of the West is born in a mug of wine…
The use of logical analysis in the interpretation of phenomena, the birth of philosophy, the political and legal sciences matured in Greece from the 6th and 5th centuries BC and formed the basis of the western way of life. Perhaps the greatest manifestation of this culturally sophisticated lifestyle is the love that Greeks developed for wine but mainly, the occasions and conditions on which they drank it. In the official receptions of the time, the symposiums, the guests competed in spiritual knowledge and rhetorical ability while drinking wine diluted with water. Drunkenness was an unacceptable example of decline.
...Rome embraces wine…
The influence of the conquered Greeks on the Romans was not limited to art, poetry and philosophy. The art of winemaking became the favourite hobby of the Roman elite. Starting with the wealthy Romans, who enjoyed their wine in their Greek architectural style villas among copies of classical antiquity. Conquered people embraced the new drink, such as Rich Celts and Britons, who quit ale and mead and drank wines from the Mediterranean.
...and travels to the ends of the Earth…
The export power of ancient Greece at the time, brought, along with wine and gastronomy, Greek customs and status manners from a colony of the Phoenicians of Asia Minor (now known as Marseille, France) to the Crimea and the countries north of the Danube.
All research (mainly marine archaeology through shipwrecks) shows that the viticulture arrives in Sicily, in southern Italy, southern France, Spain and Portugal by Greek settlers or merchants.
‘A journey that continues to this day, constantly conquering new markets, especially in countries and collections that have Fine Wine of the World Culture.’
|A History of Wine||Allen Warner||Faber 1961|
|Alcohol in Western Society from Antiquity to 1800 : A Chronology||Austin Gregory|
|Pray, Art, Culture and Cuisine Ancient and Medieval Gastronomy||Bober Phyllis||Chicago Publicing|
|Sirinian Dinners, History of Nunrition and Gastronomy in Greece||Andrew Dalby||University of Crete Publication|
|A Short History of Wine||Rod Phillips||Allen Lane, London 2000|
|Iliad, Rapsody S||Homer|
|Acts and Days (the art of Viniculture)||Isiod|
|Gastronomy||Archestratos (Greek taster of Sicily 4th century BC)|