History of Wine
Probably the first record of winemaking is from the Bible. After the
flood, "Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard"
(Genesis 9). And after the dramatic destruction of, and his escape
from Sodom, Lot settles down in the mountains with his daughters
and plants a vineyard. (Genesis 19).
So from early on in the history of humanity, wine has been there to
bless the lives of the vintner, but, also to cause some to stumble in
its excess. Each civilisation has attributed the mystical properties
of the substance to divine origins, the Greeks and the Romans to
their pantheon, and the Hebrews to JAHWEH: "He makes ...
wine that gladdens the heart of man" (Psalm 104:14,15).
The Greeks felt that wine was such a wonderous substance that it
warranted its own god, Dionysus. The Romans adapted his more common
cult name, Bacchus.
In The Odyssey, Homer
writes: "Earth is bounteous and for my people too, it brings forth
grapes that thrive on the rain of Zeus and that make good wine, but
this is distilled into nectar and ambrosia." Clearly, this fine
substance has divine origins, with but a little help from ourselves.
Even in modern times, people still reveal their ideology through their
attribution of the creation of wine. The French humanist, Victor
Hugo, rejects the supernatural, saying: "God made only water, but man
made wine." In effect, elevating man to a level formerly held by
The wonderful wine regions of France are the skilled work of Romans in
the sunset years of the Empire. On the decline of Rome, the
furtherment of viticulture fell to the Christian Church. By about
the 12th century most of the great vineyards of France and Germany
were owned by the monastaries.