History of Wine

The history of wine is going to be a little different depending on what type of wine you are interested in and how much of a historian you are/want to be. The history of wine in Italy will be different from that of Canada or the United States. While they will all have similarities, they most definitely will have several differences as well.

Tracing the proud tradition, legacy and history, timeline, development of what we know, appreciate and love as WINE today, has to start with its nomer or name. According to online sourcing and dictionary type references, the root-word wine came to English from Latin vinum, via Primitive German, Proto-West Germanic and Anglo-Saxon. The fruits of the vine, go way back to ancient times. Early biblical passages hint that Noah had a taste for the good stuff and the first time fermented grapes were consumed, who knows who had that first tantalizing sip! The oldest wine jar on record dates back to 5400-5000 B.C.! Kitchen wines from Iran from the Neolithic period is currently the furthest back history and archeology, hypothesizing and evidence can take us! Beer probably pre-dates wine, but when nomadic tribes started settling down and had more steady food-supplies, home cuisine started, the likelihood that this would be a good cradle of creativity for fermenting grapes, would not be a stretch of the imagination. Clay pots, sack-cloth to make and store these in shrouds and reveals some truths regarding where and how wine came to be. Residues in these early shards and inside of clay pots studied, reveals that wine has an early and proud heritage and tradition (internationally speaking!). Egyptian hieroglyphics contain depictions of wine-making, vineyard and more and it was often included in the tombs when they buried their dead to prepare and sustain them for the after-life. Wine has a rich symbolic character and even religious rites and sacraments still to this day use wine. Most of the history of wine is not documented, rather it is inferred to a large extent, but nevertheless, we know that it is a lengthy and proud part of our human history and journey to where we are today and will in all probability be part of it for generations and millennia to come!

Fermentation of grape juice has certainly come a long way too. With a history spanning more than 8000 years, it can not all be summarize here and as more and more discoveries are made it will probably change over time as we learn more and more about the early days and practices. European roots go back to Bulgaria and Greece as well as Rome. Dionysus and Baccus (Greek and Roman Gods) might even hold some of the secrets close to bosom. Evidence mainly pertains to crushed grapes and/or ceremonial use of the fermented juice from this (wine) China and Medieval Europe also has its stories to tell. Wine distillation for medicinal and cosmetic purposes were also quite common in Islamic countries (although alcohol and the drinking thereof was forbidden and against the law)

We may never know the exact truth, route, path or journey, but living our past through the history of wine, is an interesting concept and aptly coined, a worthwhile pursuit!

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About The Author, Ian Love
Ian Love is director of Perth Restaurants group West Valley, which runs Coco's Perth restaurant, Raffles Hotel Perth & Bellhouse Seafood restaurant.