Many of us are wine lovers, others wine enthusiasts and finally the rest of us just drink wine on special occasions.
Whatever the case and wherever we are, we can find wine almost anywhere in the world nowadays: America, the North of Europe, a remote island…Wine production is extended worldwide and sometimes, even though the optimal conditions for cultivation are not met, almost as if by magic, we find noteworthy wines in some inhospitable and unexpected places.
However, while occasionally drinking a delicious glass of wine we ask ourselves…“what is the origin of this delicacy?”
THE FIRST WINERY
Vinicultural origins are so ancient that we have to go back to Armenia, where just a few years ago (by the year 2007), scientists and archaeologists found some vats and jars which were dated between 4.000 and 4.100 b.C. as studies demonstrated.
There were tools where the old settlers made and kept the wine, and this has come to be the earliest known winery so far.
Surprising, isn’t it? Let’s continue…
On top of the previously mentioned, the studies also indicated some really interesting data. Researchers found maldivin and tartaric acid traces, both of each indicated the presence of grapes in the surrounding area.
It is widely believed that at that time there was a large-scale wine production, expanding throughout near countries and also on the Mediterranean region.
This is the reason why locals are believed to not only produce wine with wild grapes, but also with domesticated grapes.
We have to look far behind, even more back, until the year 7.000 b.C and travel to the North of Iran where chemical and archaeological traces were discovered and then connected with wine. This is where the real wine origins are believedto be. Nevertheless, in line with the winery found in Armenia and with the belief that there was some grape cultivation around this area, the very first winegrowing regions of the world would be near the Armenian mountains, Georgia and some other bordering countries.
It is said that, these ancient inhabitants used to add tree resin to preserve the wine and this tradition has persisted until the present and to prove it there is Greek Retsina from Greece.
If we are still astonished with all these curiosities, we can not leave behind the rituals that were related to the wine itself either.
It is known that, in many cultures and throughout the history of the mankind, specific evidence has been found proving there were rituals to the dead with some sort of drink. Curiously, in the surrounding areas of the Armenian wineries, scientifics not only discovered some burials and cemeteries, but also many glasses inside and near the caves. This suggests that the glasses were used in wine burial rituals.
AND WHAT’S NEXT? MESOPOTAMIA AND SUMERIANS
If we continue to look back, we will ask ourselves…and then what? How did the expansion of wine and grapevine proceed throughout the world?
It is very likely that the wine was carried from the northern Zagros Mountains (Iran) to some areas near low Mesopotamia, crossing nearly 600 Km. In this period, the area was inhabited by the Sumerians.
The well-known greek historian Herodotus detailed stories of ships carrying this delicacy from Armenia and delivered in Babilonia.
And, what happened when the demand increased?
They also started carrying grapevines to near places such as Zagros Central Area and step by step the cultivation was also intensified closer to the most important urban centers. This way, the grapes were not cultivated only on their origin (Armenia, Georgia and surrounding countries) but they were also gradually introduced in Mesopotamia, using the rivers as means of communication.
Now, every time that you taste a glass of wine, close your eyes and before you take a sip, carry your mind to its origins and think you are savoring a drink aged more than 9.000 years.