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Further evidence suggests that widespread drunkenness and true alcoholism among the Romans began in the first century BC and reached its height in the first century AD. The measure was widely ignored but remained on the books until its repeal by Probus. Winemaking technology improved considerably during the time of the Roman Empire.

Vitruvius noted how wine storage rooms were specially built facing north, "since that quarter is never subject to change but is always constant and unshifting", [60] and special smokehouses fumaria were developed to speed or mimic aging. Many grape varieties and cultivation techniques were developed.

Barrels invented by the Gauls and glass bottles invented by the Syrians began to compete with terracotta amphoras for storing and shipping wine. Following the Greek invention of the screw , wine presses became common in Roman villas. The Romans also created a precursor to today's appellation systems, as certain regions gained reputations for their fine wines. The Romans recognized three appellations: Caucinian Falernian from the highest slopes, Faustian Falernian from the center named for its one-time owner Faustus Cornelius Sulla , son of the dictator , and generic Falernian from the lower slopes and plain.

The esteemed vintages grew in value as they aged, and each region produced different varieties as well: dry, sweet, and light. Other famous wines were the sweet Alban from the Alban Hills and the Caecuban beloved by Horace and extirpated by Nero. Pliny cautioned that such 'first-growth' wines not be smoked in a fumarium like lesser vintages.

Wine, perhaps mixed with herbs and minerals, was assumed to serve medicinal purposes. During Roman times, the upper classes might dissolve pearls in wine for better health. Cleopatra created her own legend by promising Antony she would "drink the value of a province" in one cup of wine, after which she drank an expensive pearl with a cup of the beverage.

Through the Church, grape growing and winemaking technology, essential for the Mass, were preserved. The oldest surviving bottle still containing liquid wine, the Speyer wine bottle , belonged to a Roman nobleman and it is dated at or AD. Lebanon is among the oldest sites of wine production in the world. However, in the Arabian peninsula , wine was traded by Aramaic merchants, as the climate was not well-suited to the growing of vines.

Many other types of fermented drinks, however, were produced in the 5th and 6th centuries, including date and honey wines. The Muslim conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries brought many territories under Muslim control.

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Alcoholic drinks were prohibited by law, but the production of alcohol, wine in particular, seems to have thrived. Wine was a subject for many poets, even under Islamic rule, and many khalifas used to drink alcoholic beverages during their social and private meetings. Egyptian Jews leased vineyards from the Fatimid and Mamluk governments, produced wine for sacramental and medicinal use, and traded wine throughout the Eastern Mediterranean.

Christian monasteries in the Levant and Iraq often cultivated grapevines; they then distributed their vintages in taverns located on monastery grounds. Zoroastrians in Persia and Central Asia also engaged in the production of wine. Though not much is known about their wine trade, they did become known for their taverns. Wine in general found an industrial use in the medieval Middle East as feedstock after advances in distillation by Muslim alchemists allowed for the production of relatively pure ethanol , which was used in the perfume industry. Wine was also for the first time distilled into brandy during this period.

In the Middle Ages , wine was the common drink of all social classes in the south, where grapes were cultivated. In the north and east, where few if any grapes were grown, beer and ale were the usual beverages of both commoners and nobility. Wine was exported to the northern regions, but because of its relatively high expense was seldom consumed by the lower classes. Since wine was necessary, however, for the celebration of the Catholic Mass , assuring a supply was crucial.

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The Benedictine monks became one of the largest producers of wine in France and Germany, followed closely by the Cistercians. Other orders, such as the Carthusians , the Templars , and the Carmelites , are also notable both historically and in modern times as wine producers. The nearby winemaking monks made it into an industry, producing enough wine to ship all over Europe for secular use. In Portugal , a country with one of the oldest wine traditions, the first appellation system in the world was created. A housewife of the merchant class or a servant in a noble household would have served wine at every meal, and had a selection of reds and whites alike.

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  • Home recipes for meads from this period are still in existence, along with recipes for spicing and masking flavors in wines, including the simple act of adding a small amount of honey. As wines were kept in barrels, they were not extensively aged, and thus drunk quite young. To offset the effects of heavy alcohol consumption, wine was frequently watered down at a ratio of four or five parts water to one of wine.

    One medieval application of wine was the use of snake-stones banded agate resembling the figural rings on a snake dissolved in wine as a remedy for snake bites, which shows an early understanding of the effects of alcohol on the central nervous system in such situations. Jofroi of Waterford , a 13th-century Dominican, wrote a catalogue of all the known wines and ales of Europe, describing them with great relish and recommending them to academics and counsellors.

    Rashi , a medieval French rabbi called the "father" of all subsequent commentaries on the Talmud and the Tanakh, [69] earned his living as a vintner.

    European grape varieties were first brought to what is now Mexico by the first Spanish conquistadors to provide the necessities of the Catholic Holy Eucharist. Planted at Spanish missions , one variety came to be known as the Mission grape and is still planted today in small amounts. Succeeding waves of immigrants imported French, Italian and German grapes, although wine from those native to the Americas whose flavors can be distinctly different is also produced.

    Mexico became the most important wine producer starting in the 16th century, to the extent that its output began to affect Spanish commercial production. In this competitive climate, the Spanish king sent an executive order to halt Mexico's production of wines and the planting of vineyards. During the devastating phylloxera blight in late 19th-century Europe, it was found that Native American vines were immune to the pest. French-American hybrid grapes were developed and saw some use in Europe, but more important was the practice of grafting European grapevines to American rootstocks to protect vineyards from the insect.

    The practice continues to this day wherever phylloxera is present. Today, wine in the Americas is often associated with Argentina , California and Chile all of which produce a wide variety of wines, from inexpensive jug wines to high-quality varietals and proprietary blends. Most of the wine production in the Americas is based on Old World grape varieties, and wine-growing regions there have often "adopted" grapes that have become particularly closely identified with them.

    Until the latter half of the 20th century, American wine was generally viewed as inferior to that of Europe. However, with the surprisingly favorable American showing at the Paris Wine tasting of , New World wine began to garner respect in the land of wine's origins. In the late 19th century, the phylloxera louse brought widespread destruction to grapevines, wine production, and those whose livelihoods depended on them; far-reaching repercussions included the loss of many indigenous varieties.

    Lessons learned from the infestation led to the positive transformation of Europe's wine industry. Bad vineyards were uprooted and their land turned to better uses. Some of France's best butter and cheese , for example, is now made from cows that graze on Charentais soil, which was previously covered with vines. In the Balkans , where phylloxera had had little impact, the local varieties survived.

    However, the uneven transition from Ottoman occupation has meant only gradual transformation in many vineyards. It is only in recent times that local varieties have gained recognition beyond "mass-market" wines like retsina.

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    In the context of wine, Australia , New Zealand , South Africa and other countries without a wine tradition are considered New World producers. Wine production began in the Cape Province of what is now South Africa in the s as a business for supplying ships. Australia's First Fleet brought cuttings of vines from South Africa, although initial plantings failed and the first successful vineyards were established in the early 19th century.

    Until quite late in the 20th century, the product of these countries was not well known outside their small export markets. For example, Australia exported mainly to the United Kingdom; New Zealand retained most of its wine for domestic consumption; and South Africa was often isolated from the world market because of apartheid. However, with the increase in mechanization and scientific advances in winemaking, these countries became known for high-quality wine. A notable exception to the foregoing is that the Cape Province was the largest exporter of wine to Europe in the 18th century.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about wine produced from grapes.


    For other types, see Non-grape wine. Main articles: Phoenicians and wine and Lebanese wine. Main article: Ancient Greece and wine. Main articles: History of alcohol in China and History of wine in China. Main article: Ancient Rome and wine. Main article: Wine in the Middle East. See also: Phoenicians and wine and Lebanese wine. See also: History of Bordeaux wine.

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    See also: New World wine. Main article: Great French Wine Blight. Wine portal History portal. Wine Grapes. Harper Collins.

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    • Wine Economics and Policy. Alcohol in World History. Retrieved on 3 January The Independent. Retrieved 20 March Retrieved 24 May Cultures of The World Georgia. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Archaeological Institute of America. The Guardian. Retrieved 1 November Mail Online. Retrieved 13 January BBC News. Maugh II 11 January Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times Media Group. Wired UK. Archived from the original on 8 December USA Today.

      Retrieved 6 September Running Press London , University of Chicago. USA Today , 29 May Theophrastis On Stone.