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September 30, 2015

History of Wine

"And David's Lips are lock't; but in divine
High piping Pehlevi, with "Wine! Wine! Wine!
"Red Wine!"---the Nightingale cries to the Rose
That yellow Cheek of hers to incarnadine."
Omar Khayyam

History of Wine

Persian philosopher Omar Khayyam was the connoisseur and keen admirer of such noble fermented beverage as wine and he was the one of billions of other wine lovers in all ages of history. Fermented beverages have been preferred over water throughout the ages as they are safer, provide psychotropic effects, and are more nutritious. Some even said that alcohol and especially wine was the primary agent of the development of Western civilization. The history of wine is very rich and extensive and there were many reasons for such tremendous popularity of wine starting from the ancient times such as conspicuous display (the earliest Neolithic wine, which might be dubbed "Chateau Hajji Firuz" (the most ancient wine vessels that were discovered at Hajji Firuz Tepe, the territory of contemporary Iran) was like showing off a bottle of Pétrus today); a social lubricant; economy, trade and cross-cultural interactions and, of course, religion (wine is right at the center of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, regardless that it was forbade by the Islamic Code).

Most of the world population adores wine of different variations and of various types. Wine has always been an indispensable attribute of any celebration, but have you ever thought about the ancient history and origin of wine? The ancient history of wine has begun as long time ago as from the Neolithic period (4000 to 3000 BC!). Historians generally agree that wine was probably discovered accidentally in the Fertile Crescent area, the region between the Nile and Persian Gulf during the time of the world's first civilization. According to ancient history and origin of wine sources, gradually winemaking spread throughout the Mediterranean region and eventually through much of Europe by Phoenician, Greek and Roman traders.

History of wines has left its traces in Near East, particularly Mesopotamia (Iraq, Iran territory), later – in Persia (Iran), Egypt, Ancient Greece, Roman Empire. Think of Greek classical pottery and Dionysus cavorting with his satyrs and maenads and you will get a clue of the ancient history of wine that created immortal legends. Egyptian history of wines origin in Nile delta – the fertile land where grapes grew and white wine made from what is today called the Muscat grape of Alexandria. It is not surprising that the early Egyptians attributed this drink with the god Osiris and used it during funerary rituals.

Since Roman times, wine (potentially mixed with herbs and minerals) was assumed to serve medicinal purposes as well. It was not uncommon to dissolve pearls in wine for better health. Cleopatra created her own legend by promising Marc Anthony she would "drink the value of a province" in one cup of wine, after which she drank an expensive pearl with a cup of wine. From Rome winemaking greatly prospered under the Catholic Church who held widespread influence over Christian Europe. Eventually, winemaking capability and practiced extended to far-flung places like England who enjoyed wine varieties of Sherry, Port and Madeira. Christian monks of France and Northern Italy kept records of their winemaking practices and grape cultivation. By 1800, France would be recognized as the best of the wine-producing regions of the world.

Whatever the reason, we continue to live out our past civilization by drinking wine made from a plant that has its origins in the ancient Near East. Your next bottle may not be a 7000 year old vintage from Hajji Firuz that was thought of as a divine gift, but we appreciate and live it no less than our ancestors. Originally decorated bottle of wine with metal wine bottle holders from Metal Imagination could be an ideal gift for any celebration and occasion.