03 Nov Wine’s origins, WHEN WAS WINE INVENTED? (PART I)
Many of us are wine lovers; others are amateurs and others drink it only on special occasions.
Wherever we are, almost anywhere in the world today we find wine; America, Northern Europe, remote islands, wine production is widespread worldwide and, in some places, despite not having the ideal conditions for its cultivation, almost by magic they get wines worthy of mention.
However, at some point, while drinking a glass of wine, we have asked ourselves: Where did this delicacy come from?
THE FIRST WINERY
The origins of wine are very, very old, we have to go back to Armenia where, relatively few years ago (back in 2007), scientists came across vats and jugs which, after studies, they placed between the years 4,100-4,000 BC.
They were useful where the ancient inhabitants of these lands made and preserved wine; we have before our eyes the oldest cellar in the world that has been dated to date.
Surprising, isn’t it? Well, let’s continue.
The analysis also yielded some very striking data. The researchers found traces of malvidin and tartaric acid, both indicators of the presence of grapes in the area. It is believed that already at that time, wine was being produced on a large scale and spreading to nearby countries, including the Mediterranean.
For this reason, it is thought that the locals were not only making wine from wild grapes, but had domesticated and cultivated them.
ORIGINS OF WINE
We would have to look even further back, to 7,000 BC, and go this time to northern Iran, where chemical and archaeological remains related to wine were discovered and where it is believed that the origins of this delicacy are to be found.
However, in line with the winery found in Armenia and the belief of grape cultivation in this region, the first wine regions of the world would be in the mountains of Armenia, Georgia and neighboring countries.
It is speculated that these ancient inhabitants added tree resin to preserve the wine and this custom has reached our days; the proof is the Greek Retsina of Greece.
ANCESTRAL RITUALS ASSOCIATED WITH WINE
If we are still amazed with all these curiosities, the rituals that were practiced around wine will not be left behind either.
It is known that in many cultures throughout the history of mankind there have been found specific signs of performing worship or rituals to the dead with some kind of beverage. Curiously, in the areas where the wine cellars were found in Armenia, burials and cemeteries were found, as well as numerous cups in and around the caves, which leads us to believe that they were used as funeral rites for the dead.
WHAT’S NEXT: MESOPOTAMIA AND THE SUMERIANS
If we continue to look back in history, we will ask ourselves, what now? How did wine and vine cultivation spread throughout the world?
Well, it is most likely that wine was transported from the northern Zagros Mountains in Iran to parts of lower Mesopotamia over a distance of some 600 km. At this time the region was inhabited by the Sumerians.
The later Greek historian Herodotus details in some of his stories ships carrying wine from Armenia and delivered to Babylon.
But, what happened when demand increased?
Grapevines also began to be transported to closer places such as the central Zagros area and little by little the cultivation was also intensified in areas with larger urban centers.
In this way, grapes were no longer only cultivated in their areas of origin (Armenia, Georgia and neighboring countries) but were gradually introduced into Mesopotamia, taking advantage of the rivers as channels of communication. Undoubtedly, it was a good way to bring the beverage to more distant lands.
Now, every time you savor a glass of wine, close your eyes and before drinking, transport your mind to its origins and think that you are tasting a drink that is more than 9,000 years old.