History of Wine
The complete history of wine…
may never be known simply because mankind’s association with wine began long before written records. Tomb paintings in Ancient Egypt depict grapevines as long ago as the fifteenth century B.C! What we can be certain about is that man has been enjoying wine for many thousands of years. To find the first ‘real’ evidence we need to go back to the ancient Greeks at least one thousand years B.C. The Greeks called Italy the ‘land of the vines’ just as the Vikings called North America ‘Vinland’ two thousand years later. From historical records at the time of the Greek empire we certainly know that man was harvesting grapes to make wine in specific areas including the area around the Black Sea, Sicily, Provence, Italy, North Africa and Spain areas still associated with wine today.
The records of Ancient Rome contain an enormous amount of information relating to wine and it seems likely that the Roman wines far exceeded the quality of the early Greek wines. This is because the Romans, unlike the Greeks, knew more about how to store wine correctly and even used wooden barrels and glass bottles just as we do today. It was also the Romans who probably introduced vines to Gaul (France) and by the 5th century had laid the foundations for some of the greatest vineyards in the world. Choosing river valleys with the right micro-climates and with river access access to sea ports places like Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Loire and the Rhone became the hubs of rapidly expanding wine ‘empires’ that have continued to this day.