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HISTORY OF WINE:

 

Origins

 

The family of Vitaceae, inside the world of the plants, are very common in the tropics and subtropics where most of its genres are located.

 

One of them, the genus Vitis, was adapted to other conditions of life that allowed him to migrate to more distant latitudes towards to the north and south. Of this genus, really only one specie is suitable for wine, it is the Vitis vinifera.

 

Even so, it would not have been possible if thousands of years ago had not existed a partnership between different wild species of vitaceaes and different tree species that they used to climb. Originally, the micro-organism (yeast), that takes care of the fermentation of grapes, was not present in the family of vitaceaes. This micro-organism comes from these tree species, where it was present.

 

The Vitis vinifera is linked to man from the Neolithic period in the regions of Egypt and Asia Minor. We may venture that was one of the factors that favored the sedentary because they need constant care throughout the year and, consequently, this fact contributed to the formation of villages.

 

The firsts evidences that the time has left us about the relationship of the man with wine are the following: some amphoras of eight thousand years old found in the Republic of Georgia (north of Turkey); graphic representations in ancient Egypt dating back more than four thousand years; and the distinction made between the fermentation of grapes and rice in China four thousand years ago.

 

But perhaps the most important milestone in the history of wine is found in the civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome.

 

Thousand years before Christ, the Greeks extended their territory to Western Europe, bringing with them their culture, traditions and beliefs. In this case we highlight the vitiviniculture tradition and the worship of Dionysus, the god of the vitis vinifera and the wine.

 

About 29 BC, the Roman Empire was began to build. Under his domain, the road networks were improved, the forests were cleaned and more vineyard cultivation areas were created and taken to the conquered regions. They also worshiped the god of the vitis vinifera and wine (Dionysus), but he was called "Bacchus." Later they adopted the religion of Christianity.

 

With the introduction of Christianity the wine took great prominence as symbol of worship and this established a strong link between wine and religion.

 

With the discovery of America (in 1942), the wine varieties of Europe were exported to America.

 

By the sixteenth century, the wine production was widely practiced in France. It was the monk Dom Perignon (1638-1715) who introduced the use of cork, a technique that he learned of the Spaniards, and the use of a bottle thicker. With this, the second fermentation process was able to developed, giving rise to the champagne. That was when the monk gave his famous words: ""¡Venez vite, mes frères, je bois des étoiles!" ( "Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!").

 

At that time, the wine was stored in barrels, containers made of goat leather and amphoras made waterproof with oil and greased rags, so the air was in contact with the wine at all times.

 

Most of the local wines were of poor quality, especially in areas currently considered as high-latitude. The "Vin de Suresnes" of the outskirts of Paris was transformed into something finer. In England there are records of a sparkling wines of the Welsh variety dating back from the 19th century that were elaborated on the outskirts of Cardiff. While plantations most important are attributed to Charlemagne, it was not until the 12th century where the large plantations found their place and a big market. Due to difficulties in transporting goods that had at that time, most of the vineyards that survived were those who were on the banks of major rivers. Such is the case of vineyards along the Rhine in Germany, Garonne and Loire. Others were produced in the area controlled by Chania (the Venice of Greece) where were produced varieties of Madeira, around 1940.

 

The second half of the twentieth century was marked by technical advances in the field of viticulture and the wine production.

 

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