Wine has been a popular beverage throughout human history. Ancient records and artifacts show that people have been enjoying wine for at least 4,500 years.

First Sips of Wine

As early as 6000 B.C., people may have been drinking wine. Wine residues from this period were found in ceramic jars from Neolithic sites in present day Iran and Georgia. Scientists, however, are not sure if the results of their tests are conclusive or if there may have been false positives. The earliest firm evidence for wine”s presence is from Iran and has been dated from 5400 to 5000 B.C.

While no one can be sure exactly when wine history begins, we know that many people were drinking it in the Middle East as far back as 2500 B.C. Egyptians from this time period left written records about using grapes to make wine, and many references to wine are found in the Old Testament.

Wine in Ancient Egypt

Wine was popular in ancient Egypt and played an important part in many rituals and ceremonies. Most of the wine the Egyptians drank was red, although a recent discovery shows that white wine was also produced.

Ancient Egyptian Wine Fact

On Ancient Egyptian tomb walls, winemaking scenes are found along with lists of the types of wines to be enjoyed in the afterlife.

Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome

The ancient Greeks started many of the traditions that have become modern wine culture. This beverage was important enough to the Greeks that a deity was created: Dionysos, the god of wine and revelry. There was a festival in his honor called Anthesteria, which included wine-drinking contests. References to wine also appear in Greek writings of the time and can be found in famous works by Homer and Aesop.

Wine was also a popular beverage in the Roman Empire. It was considered an important part of the Roman diet.

It was during this time that wine-making became a big business and methods of wine-making improved. For the first time, bottles were used for storage and barrels were used for shipping.

Dark Ages

During the Dark Ages, the world was in a state of chaos and instability. Methods of growing grapes and wine-making were lost in many cultures. This technology, however, was preserved in the Catholic Church, which remained stable during all the social changes of the period.

Wine in Modern Times

Since ancient times, wine has remained a significant part of human social culture. In recent times, wine is becoming more popular than ever, with retail sales increasing in the range of 30 percent to 50 percent over the past few years.

More people are ordering wine in restaurants, and wine bars have become a hot new trend.

Wine still plays as important a role in religious ritual as it did in ancient times. You can find wine in churches and synagogues during many services, including weddings and other major events.

Popular Modern Uses of Wines

Aperitifs are often referred to as appetizer wines and are enjoyed before a meal. Some popular aperitifs include:

  • Madeira
  • Vermouth
  • Sherry.

Champagnes are often used to enhance special occasions. You will often find champagne flowing at:

  • banquets
  • formal dinners
  • New Year”s Eve celebrations
  • weddings.

Red dinner wines are often found on the table with hearty main course meals. They are served at room temperature so that their aromas can be fully enjoyed. These wines go well with:

  • highly seasoned foods of all kinds
  • red meat
  • spaghetti with red sauce.

White dinner wines are popular served chilled and range from sweet to dry. They are usually enjoyed with lighter main course meals such as:

  • fowl
  • seafood
  • white meats.