WINE HISTORY

Wine pills

The peoples of the Mediterranean began to emerge from barbarism when they learned to cultivate the olive tree and the vine.

Thucydides stautu

Thucydides

Thucydides (486 BC- 396? BC) is considered the father of scientific historiography, in which for the first time the stories appear stripped of divine interventions, trying to collect sources and records in a rigorous way, analyzing the facts in the form of cause-effect. His work History of the Peloponnesian War is considered a model of a rigorously scientific account of a historical event.

Vine cultivation is as old as the history of civilization, dating back to the Neolithic period, when the first permanent settlements began to be established. In its wild state, the vine (Vitis vinifera sylvestris) was a vine that grew abundantly in riparian forests hugging trees. Its berries, with a pleasant sweet and sour taste and the ability to be preserved for a long time (raisining), were probably a food reserve for the winter. The first archaeological records of grape consumption are found in northern Iran, Turkey and Georgia, more than 8,000 years ago. It is probable that, at some point, an accidental fermentation took place that originated an euphoric drink. 

From that moment on, its domestication would begin, through the selection of the most promising plants for their flavor or abundance. Over time, some mutations appeared that gave rise to hermaphrodite plants, such as the current vines (Vitis vinifera vinifera or sativa). Around 3000 BC, in the Bronze Age, the first records of vine cultivation and wine production already begin to be found in what is the oldest known account, the ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’ and even, around 2000 BC, the first Hittite laws referring to vineyard cultivation: “If a man puts his flock into a cultivated vineyard and ruins it, if it has not yet been harvested, he shall pay 10 shekels of silver for each vine; and so he shall make restitution. But if it is harvested he has to pay only 3 shekels of silver”. 

The trade and geographical expansion of the peoples of the area (Phoenicians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians) throughout the Mediterranean brought the vine to other territories, and even spread to the East, reaching China. The Egyptians made wine in large earthenware vessels and engravings and mosaics have been found in the pyramids depicting the cultivation of the vine, the harvesting, preparation and enjoyment of wine at festivals and religious events. It reached Greece around 700 BC and Italy around 200 BC. To the Romans we owe the first wooden barrels to store and transport it, as recorded by Julius Caesar in his “War of the Gauls”, and the appearance of the first oenological techniques to clarify it. From Italy, the cultivation of the vine spread to Gaul and Iberia; from there, the Visigoths extended it to the rest of Europe.

It is believed to have arrived in North America by the Vikings, around 1000 AD; in South America, by the Spanish colonizers, already in the 16th century (Hernán Cortés, in 1525 in Mexico; in the second half of the century, to Chile, Peru and Argentina; at the end of the 17th century to California); to Australia at the end of the 18th century….

And then came phylloxera, but that’s another story…

Sinatech: Teamwork.