Basically, wine is an alcoholic beverage made from grape varietals. 9,000 years ago, China used grape as a vital part of wine making. Today, China is known to be the oldest known country that first used grape.
Two thousand years later, the grape became known in Europe and in the western part of Asia. Until now, the tradition of wine making using grape spread to different parts of the world.
The history starts here. As I mentioned, China was the oldest country that used grape as its primary element.
Grape seeds, as well as hawthorn seeds, have been found in Jiahu, part of ancient China. Dating back to the Zhou Dynasty around 1046-221 BCE, the use of grapes was one of their primary livelihoods.
The use of wild grapes as wine recipe is a big part of the history of native China. There are between 40 to 50 varieties of wild grapes that can be found in China.
Around the second century BCE, the European grapes were introduced to China with some imports from the Silk Road.
Wines from Western Asia
When it comes to western Asia, a historian found out that the wine making in western part happened in the Neolithic period.
The Neolithic term coined in the late 19th century CE, referring to the last stage of Stone Age. The period is known for its megalithic architecture and the use of agricultural practices like the cultivation of grapes.
Hajji, Firuz, and Iran are said to be the main sites for wine making during the said period.
These places are known to be deposited area where the sediments are being preserved.
Sites in western Asia like Lake Zingiber and Iran have been found to be rich in different wild grapes. And, this is where the western world wine making began.
Western Asia imports wine during the early days of dynastic Egypt. Dating back to 3150 BCE, a tomb belonging to Scorpion King contained 700 jars. Historian believed that the jars used have been made and filled with wine.
Wine Making in Europe
Wild grapes in Europe or also known Vitis Vinifera have been found in Greece, Franchthi Cave, and Balma de l’Abeurador. These ancient contexts are situated in France 10,000 years ago.
Dakili Tash, a popular site in Greece have been found to have grape pips and empty skins. A clay cup containing grape juice, grape vines and wood have also been found in the said site.
Around 4000 cal BCE, the first wine production happened in the site of Areni 1 in Armenia. This wine production includes crushing of grapes which is big evidence for red wine fermentation.
Romans play a big in the science of wine. They are one of the oldest civilizations who classified wines considering its different varieties or types. Part of their biggest invention is the wood barrel which allows the wine to flavored.
Grapes viticulture widely spread in the Mediterranean area during the Roman period. Since then, the wine became the economic and cultural commodity. The commercial industry also introduced wine by the end of the 1st century.
Before, the wine was produced through naturally-occurring yeast, but the process took a long time to work. Winemakers often discouraged with the very long process.
The long process changed when the pure starter strains of Mediterranean Saccharomyces cerevisiae was introduced. Now, the strain is known as brewer’s yeast.
Since this brewer’s yeast appeared in the wine making industry, commercial wine fermentations have included S. cerevisiae strains. These strains are growth sensitive strains that mainly use in some synthetic medium.
Until now, there are millions of commercial wine that used this kind of starter strain, enabling the good quality of a wine.
Researchers found out that the use of S. cerevisiae strato ins become popular in different geographical regions. According to them, these strains greatly provide improved wines.
The Monks and the Wine
Even the monks (specifically the Benedictine monks) were a big advocate for the spread of wine. Different churches transported it across Europe for “good news” and “Holy Communion.”
In the middle ages, wine became a sacred drink for Christians across entire France. The wine symbolizes the blood of Christ, serving as a key element for Christian rites.
Religion became important in the middle ages where monks and bishops played a vital role in society. To produce wines for the mass, monks used their own land to cultivate grape varietals.
We may not know the whole history of the wine, but at least, we have a glimpse of it. This glimpse view of history is very helpful in understanding the existence of wine.
Sokolin red wine is one of the world’s finest wines that introduced its wine history. The history of their wines will tell you the whole texture, aroma, and taste.
The history makes the wine more valuable as we taste it. Knowing its story is also valuing their existence.