A history lesson in wine

According to an ancient Persian fable, wine was the accidental discovery of a princess seeking to end her life with what she thought was poison. Instead, she experienced the elixir’s intoxicating effects as it released her from the anxieties of royal court life. Evolving over the centuries, grape growing and wine-making has continued to grip the human imagination, inspiring passion and ingenuity.

Archeological evidence suggests that grape cultivation and wine making began in Mesopotamia and areas surrounding the Caspian Sea sometime between 6000 and 4000 BCE. The drink was savored by royalty and priests, while commoners drank beer, mead, and ale. The ancient Egyptians, the first culture known to document the process of wine making, preserved descriptions of harvesting grapes and drinking wine on clay tablets, which have been discovered within the burial chambers of the social elite.

Wine making made its way to Greece, where it permeated all aspects of society: literature, mythology, medicine, leisure, and religion. The Romans took vine clippings from Greece back to Italy, and centers of viticulture soon developed in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and the rest of Europe.

Trade routes and early explorers carried vines and grape growing treatises to Mexico, Argentina, and North Africa, and the culture of wine continues to spread around the globe today, with vines growing on every continent except Antarctica.