As you read my articles in this newsletter, you’ll quickly learn that I love history. In particular, I’m interested in the History of Stuff. Where did ideas, concepts, and inventions originate. Haven’t you ever looked at something and thought, “I wonder who came up with that idea?” I call them my geeky, pocket protector, abacus moments.
While enjoying a refreshing glass of Wilderotter Vineyard’s Sauvignon Blanc 2104 (unashamed plug of one our great wines), I started thinking. Who invented wine? Was it invented? Or, was it simply an accidental discovery? Out came the pocket protector and the quest for answers began.
It would seem wine’s origins are somewhat of a mystery. Wine actually existed before written records. Think about that. We, as mankind, were enjoying a glass of wine by the fire before we were writing our names. Fascinating!
According to archeologists, early man gathered fruit and stored it in containers, the Tupperware of their day. Because the exact time period is unknown, it is also unknown what type of container was used. The juice would have naturally settled to the bottom, fermented, and produced a low alcohol beverage. What a treat that must have been to the discoverer! Perhaps that was even when the discovery of the first hangover occurred.
During the 10,000-8000 BC time period, society changed from a nomadic to a more sedentary mode of life. It is believed that here in time, the first true wine production began. It was the start of a strong agriculture period with wine being a large part of that.
The oldest known winery to date was discovered in Armenia. The Areni-cave in Vayots Dzor is dated to 4100 BC. It actually contains a wine press, jars, cups, and fermentation vats, even vines and seeds were found there. Sophisticated for its time, archeologists believe that a robust wine making industry was in place before this winery was established.
For as long as written word has existed, wine has always been strongly associated with religion. It was used for gaining a higher consciousness and allowing a more open mind to connect with a variation of deity. Whether it was Dionysus, the god of wine in Greek mythology, or Noah, who in a drunken state, exposed himself, wine has shown up in religious literature for thousands of years.
So, as you have a glass of wine tonight, be sure and toast those early, accidental vintners. What historical vineyards have you visited? Share your pictures with us on our Facebook page. We’ll do the same.