A Short History of Wine

Many destinations claim to have been the birthplace of wine. China has evidence wine was made there 7,000 years ago, Turkey claims ownership over its discovery, Israel does as well as most Mediterranean countries. So this time on Wine Around the World we thoughts we’d create a short history of wine.

A Timeline of Wine

• Archeological evidence dating back to 8000 BC suggests that wine was being made in this era. Grape seeds from this time were found in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

• The domestication of grapes for the specific purpose of making wine can be dated back to the Bronze Age.

• One of the oldest literary works known is The Epic of Gilgamesh. Today it is preserved on 12 clay tablets from the library collection of the 7th century Assyrian king Ashurbanipa. One of the story’s main themes was that of wine making. The Goddess Siduri was the deity in charge of wine. Her representations suggested a symbolic relationship between wine and fertility.

• Plato believed that from the minimum drinking age of 18 to the age of 31, man should drink wine in moderation. Once he was 40, man could drink all the wine he wanted to “cure the crabbiness of old age.”

• Hippocrates, the father of medicine, included wine in every one of his recorded remedies.

• In the Old Testament every book mentions or refers to wine or grapevines, except for the Book of Jonah.

• The Code of Hammurabi is a Babylonian law code dating back to 1780 BC. The code consists of 282 laws, one of which was that fraudulent wine-sellers would be punished by death.

• Wine used to be a universal currency. The Ancient Greeks traded wine for precious metals and the Romans traded wine for slaves.

• Coca Cola’s existence is rooted in the wine industry. Wines were being fortified with coca extract in Europe in the 1850’s. These were called Tonic Wines. Back in the US, John Pemberton was producing a version of these Tonic Wines and selling them as Pemberton’s French Coca Wine. Though immediately popular, the local prohibition laws in Atlanta in 1885 forced the production of a non-alcoholic version of the drink. Rather than being fortified with wine, this non-alcoholic beverage was fortified with the caffeine rich Kola nut of Africa, which lead to the introduction of what we know today as Coca-Cola.

Quotes about Wine

• In Ancient Greece, it was tradition that the host of a dinner would be the first to sip the wine, ensuring that it was not poisoned. This is where the phrase “drink to one’s health” was derived.

• Ancient Romans would drop a piece of toasted bread into their wine prior to drinking it. This would buffer the unpleasant tastes and excessive acidity that wine used to bear. This is where the “Toast” originated.

• It was a custom, in ancient Babylon, for the father of the bride to supply the groom with all the mead that he could drink for the month following the wedding. This was coined as the “Honey-month” which later evolved into the “Honeymoon”

• Prior to the invention of thermometers, wine makers would check the temperature of the wine by sticking their thumb in it to see if it was the proper temperature to add the yeast culture. This became known as “the rule of thumb.”

This is our short history of wine, we know there’s much more to add, but this at least gives a nice overview of where the drink we all love came from and evolved.