Wine is a favorite and most widely consumed drink in the world, particularly in America, Europe, and Australia. The history of wine shares many similarities with that of the Western world. Origins of wine can be traced back the Fertile Crescent (Nile Delta), a region located between the Nile Gulf and the Persian Gulf.
Most historians believe that the drink was accidentally discovered between 4000 and 3000 B.C. Human settlements became larger (city/state) and people began trading products and goods.
The Mediterranean region was the first to see trade flourish. Grapes, which are fruits, were especially favored by dynasties like the Romans, Greeks and Phoenicians. Pretty soon, the knowledge about how to make an alcoholic drink from this fruit spread quickly through the region, and eventually reached Europe.
The Father Grape
Wine has been around for over 4,500 years. Many believe that wines were first made in the Middle East. There are many references to wine throughout history, including the Old Testament.
It was also believed that the drink was enjoyed by Etruscans, Greeks, and Minoans. After hundreds of years, wine can still be used for sacramental purposes by Christians, for celebrations, for regular daily use and for medicinal purposes.
After being fermented from grape juice, wine takes many years to mature. Only one species of grape is used in wine production around the globe, and that is ‘Vitis Vinifera’. Because as many as 4,000 varieties of grape have been created from this particular grape species, it can be called the father of all varieties.
These grapes, though they are different, have many similarities in terms of size, color and composition. They also take the same time to ripen, which can be a good thing. Only a few dozen of the 4,000 varieties are used to make wine. These are Riesling and Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer.
The Birth of the Spirit
There are many facts that show that the Western world history shows that our ancestors knew the different qualities of grapes. Ancient cave walls have been found to contain drawings of grape seed seeds, which archeologists discovered! It is possible that grapes were accidentally fermented by wild yeasts according to historians who are studying the history of wine.
This fermented spirit was probably born in Egypt or Persia. Surprisingly, it was already 3000 B.C. Both these regions had found simple, yet effective methods to make wine. The Egyptians were the first to make white wine from the grape variety now known as “Muscat”, which is also the grape of Alexandria. This drink was believed to have been created by Orisis, the Egyptian God of Death and Fertility in Egyptian mythology. It was used during funerary ceremonies.
Early Years – Egypt and Persia
It is no surprise that Persia and Egypt are considered to be the wine’s birthplaces. Wine experts believe that many of the best grape varieties are direct products of grapes grown in the Persian past.
The Phoenicians are also considered to be the ones responsible for spreading early techniques of winemaking across regions like Greece and Italy, particularly the Tuscany region.
The Italian Connection
Wine was already a popular drink in Rome at this time. In fact, there was a surplus of the spirit. In fact, a Roman Emperor issued a decree in AD 92 that all Italian vineyards be destroyed and uprooted.
Although this caused a lot of loss, European countries like France, Germany and England were able to reap the benefits when replanting was permitted again. The winemaking phenomenon was not affected by Islam’s prohibition against wine drinking. This included areas from South Spain to North India and North Africa.
The Catholic Church is certainly responsible for winemaking’s success. England succumbed to the winemaking temptation, too, and now makes new varieties of wine such as Madeira, Port, Sherry and Port.
The French Kiss
In France and Northern Italy, Christian monks kept records of winemaking practices, rituals, and methods of grapes cultivation. These records played an important role in enabling more regions to strive to produce the highest quality grapes and best-tasting wine within their respective areas. By 1800, France and Northern Italy were recognized as the best regions for wine production worldwide.
Today, wine-producing regions like Australia, South Africa, South Africa and Napa Valley in America offer tough competition to France, Italy and England in terms of quality, taste and variety, but also in price and technique.