Do you know the history of wine?
beverages, using grapes, dates back to about 7000 BCE. Before Greece became an early stronghold of wine, it is believed that wine actually started in the Caucasus Mountains, spreading from Western Asia, to eastern Europe, and then to the middle east. Greece spread viticulture and winemaking around the mediterranean until the rise of the Roman Empire. As the empire spread, so did viticulture and winemaking. It was brought into the inland areas of Spain, France and Germany. Even after the fall of the Empire, and many technologies/knowledge was lost, viticulture continued. This is thanks to the Catholic Church, as they needed wine for religious practices. The vineyards were maintained by Monks and clergymen. Once the Renaissance occurred and science and technology returned to Europe, wine became a major agricultural activity. As Europeans began exploring, they discovered that other than North America, wine grapes did not exist in the new colonies, so sailors brought European vines with them. By the mid-nineteenth century vitis vinifera grapevines were planted in the Americas by immigrants. In 1860, a crisis developed when a root louse called phylloxera was brought to Europe by accident from the US. Phylloxera started killing grapevines first in France, then throughout the rest of Europe and eventually the rest of the world. It was believed that the global wine industry would be wiped out. Fortunately, they discovered that European vines could be grafted onto American grapevines and that they had a natural resistance to phylloxera, this resulted in the return of the wine industry a couple decades later. The one benefit of this crisis was that European winemakers traveled to other parts of the world once their vineyards were lost, bringing with them their winemaking techniques, which in turn increased the quality of wine throughout. Another bump in the road occurred in 1920 with Prohibition which to a large extent outlawed wine production. Other countries went back and forth with this decision and the demand for wine took a big hit. By 1933 Prohibition was thankfully over, it took the US decades to recover. The most symbolic turning point for the US resulted from the competition known as the Judgement of Paris, (I’m reminded of the 2008 movie Bottle Shock). In this competition, California wines took first place over major French wines. This was the coming of age for wines in the New world.