Wine has been made since before history was even recorded. People know this based on cave writings, hieroglyphics, and oral traditions. Wine has been a part of many different cultures for thousands of years. It is meant to be enjoyed and recently studies have shown wine may have some health benefits that include reducing the risk for heart disease. The history of wine is very interesting because multiple countries have had influence in shaping what wine is today. Even how wine is stored has changed over the thousands of years since it started being made. This drink used to be and sometimes still is stored in barrels underground. The newest method in wine storage is to use cantilever racking and wire partitions to make sure the bottles of the drink are aged to perfection. The history of wine is very interesting, especially since it was first made in what was known as the Fertile Crescent (now the Middle East) and it spread all over the world from there.
It is believed that wine was first made about 8000 years ago in the Southern Georgia / Iraq area. What helped it to spread around the world was the fact that it was viewed as a valuable good for trading.
From the Middle East, wine and how it was made traveled to Greece, Crete, then Egypt, and eventually Italy. It is here that it became very popular with the people and rulers of the large Roman Empire. When the Romans went to conquer the rest of Europe, they brought wine with them. It was at this time that wine was first introduced to France, arguably one of the world's best producers of the product. When the Europeans colonized North America was when wine came the United States. The same happened when the British colonized Australia and the drink was also brought to this country, so the convicts that were sent to the island had something to do and give back to the British Empire.
The Romans and Egyptians made major contributions to wine making by creating vineyards. Cato the Elder came up with vineyard designs. The Egyptians were the culture that started using the word vineyard. The Egyptians also were some of the first to use trellises, irrigation techniques and hybridization records to assist with grape growing.
The Greek culture contributed to wine making by coining the term enology, which is the study of such practices. The Greeks also contributed to the wine making process by figuring out a new way to store wine. They stored the wine in clay jars and pots, which did not add a whole lot of flavor, but it did change the way wine was stored throughout Europe.
During the Middle Ages, the Catholic church in Europe kept wine making alive by keeping extensive records and improving the quality of the drink. In fact, monks were the ones who also made improvements to the making of wine and they came up with different ways to store the drink. The British (or the Gaels at the time) came up with the idea of aging the wine in wooden barrels. This added different flavors and textures to the drink that had never been drunk before.
The history of wine making is very complex and at times can be incomplete because for hundreds of years it was not clearly documented how it was actually made or how exactly the process spread throughout the world. It is always interesting to know the history of a drink that has had so much impact on the lives of thousands of people all over the world.