A Short History of Wine

It feels like as long as the idea of dining in a restaurant has been around, so has the idea of having a glass of wine with your meal. While this may be true, the history of wine goes back far beyond the idea of dining in a restaurant. So, how did wine start? And when was the first wine made? Read on to find out!

The first wines

It may surprise you to learn that the first wine was made in China around 7000 BC. Evidence shows clay jars were used to make and store a fermented drink made from wild grapes, rice, honey and fruit. This resulted in an alcoholic beverage, and archeological studies suggest it was used in burials and religious ceremonies.

Another old vintage comes from Armenia in 6100 BC. The oldest “winery” was discovered in 2016 in a cave in the mountains of Armenia, and it may have even had a tasting room! Along with a grape press and fermentation jars, a drinking bowl and a cup were discovered in the cave. Researchers were able to determine that the grapes used were the same variety used in most red wines today, and they even concluded that the wine probably tasted like an unfiltered merlot. Again, it appears this beverage was used in burial ceremonies, as the cave it was discovered in was also a significant cemetery site.

Wine’s middle age

Egyptians started making wine around 3100 BC. This ancient civilization also recorded the process in hieroglyphics on tomb walls. Again, it may have been linked to religious ceremonies and burials, as well as medicinal uses. The first known evidence of white wine in Egypt was found in King Tut’s tomb.

Starting in 1200 BC, the Phoenicians traded wine with other cultures in the area, including the ancient Greeks and Jewish people, the latter also using it in religious ceremonies. Starting around 800 BC, the Greeks began drinking wine as a symbol for religion, but also for trade and health. They loved wine so much that one of their gods, Dionysus, was named after it. The process for making wine was greatly refined by this culture.

The Romans further refined the winemaking process, and even named a wine god of their own, Bacchus. Unlike the ancient Egyptians, who treated wine as a “drink of the gods,” wine was part of daily like for the Romans, and more affordable ways to make it were created, leading to it truly becoming a drink of the people. While we aren’t sure what the Romans considered the best wines for dinner, we do know they enjoyed the beverage!

Modern wines

Wine became a prominent part of Catholic ceremonies beginning in the 4th century, and spread throughout Europe over the next several centuries. Meanwhile, in North America, wine grapes were first planted in California in the early 19th century, leading to the Sonoma and Napa regions becoming among the most revered wine growing regions in the world.

Fast forward to today, and wine is often paired with a great meal. The best wines for dinner usually come from meticulous research and experience, as well as knowing the flavor profiles of the meal you plan to pair it with. A good server or sommelier is often your best bet for finding the best wines for dinner. For an excellent meal and wine pairing, visit Hotel Seymour Supperclub today.

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