Jan 17, 2022
The origins of wine, which we all know to be a drink that derives from the product of the alcoholic fermentation of the sugars contained in the grape must, date back to the dawn of humanity, to prehistoric times.
In fact, it is assumed that primitive man collected spontaneous bunches of grapes, and that these, left a few days after harvesting in any container, began the fermentation process. The juice derived was immediately appreciated for its sweet and sugary flavor, so much so that from that moment our ancestors began a regular and seasonal harvest of the grapes.
The "real" practice of viticulture, however, dates back to the epoch of the first civilizations and in particular to the Ancient Egyptians in 3000 BC. The Egyptians used to represent scenes of daily life in the tombs, and among these there were precisely representations of the moment of the grape harvest. There are numerous hieroglyphic testimonies that attest to this. Among all, the painting of a Theban tomb dating back to the period between 1552 and 1306 BC is famous, where two peasants are represented picking grapes from a pergola.
However, it was in Ancient Greece that the foundations were defined for transforming viticulture into a real activity and from which much of modern wine culture still derives today. The vinification technique was very similar to that used until recently and involved the harvesting and pressing of the bunches, the pressing of the stalks and the fermentation of the must in large tanks which were left open until the end of the process.
The result was a very thick and liqueur-like syrup-like drink, which was abundantly diluted at banquets, while it was served pure only for ceremonies and rites dedicated to the gods and to the god Dionysus, the divinity of revelry and wine.
The Roman Empire, taking advantage of the experience of the Greeks, had a great impact on the development of vine cultivation and enology; in fact, he improved viticulture techniques, the quality of the wine, introduced new practices of pruning the vines and caring for the soil, as well as experimenting with the aging of the same first. The cultivation of vines became a specific commercial activity and wine became an integral part of Roman life and diet.
There are two types of wine widespread in Roman times: the vinum doliare, that is the one consumed or sold immediately, and the vinum amphorarium, the one of higher quality which, before being sold, was decanted into large amphorae in which a series of targeted treatments were carried out. to the correct conservation of the wine. The amphorae intended for sale were then sealed with corks and pitch or clay, and then placed in the wine cellars.
It was Christianity in the Middle Ages that contributed significantly to the strengthening of the value attributed to wine, mainly thanks to the liturgy of the Eucharist and its subsequent expansion into the world. If before the wine was almost always elongated with water and often flavored with herbs to make it more pleasant, it is precisely in the Middle Ages that the wine that most closely resembles the one we still consume takes shape.
We have seen wine, considered by the ancient Greeks the "nectar of the gods" to be closely linked to the cult of Dionysus; in the Old Testament it is written that Noah brought a vine plant to the Ark and planted it after the universal flood, as a sign of rebirth; in Christianity it is instead identified with the blood of Christ and considered a symbol of redemption.
In conclusion, the evolution of wine in history up to the present day demonstrates how origins, tradition, necessity, religion and innovation have often joined forces to give life to a product of ever greater quality that we can still enjoy today.