Wine & Its Ancient Past

ancient wine

No one really knows when wine was first produced but a few scholars have posited that ancient winemaking may have been born in the area of what is now known as the country of Georgia, just northeast of Turkey.  However, the oldest known winery is said to have been active around 4100 BCE in the Vayots Dzor Province of Armenia.  It contained many tools found in the making of wine including fermentation vats, jars, and a wine press.  And of course, they found grape seeds and vines.

The ancient Greeks would dip their fingers, so to speak, in wine during the Bronze Age.  This was mostly due to trading with Egypt and it spread throughout the Greek world soon after being introduced to the drink.  It became such an important part of their culture that in their beliefs they embodied it in the Olympian Dionysus, the god of wine, winemaking, and grapes.

While the Greeks mainly used wine to imbibe and increase revelry – like many people do today – the ancient Egyptians used wine as a ceremonial drink.  Pharaohs of Egypt would be buried with many jugs of wine to be brought with them into the afterlife.  Unlike the kings of Egypt however, the lower classes would simply drink beer.

A famous winery in modern day Israel, the Psagot Winery, has its wine roots in the ancient past.  While they were laying the foundation for the winery in 2002, they excavated oak barriques as well as a wine press that dated back to the Second Temple (516 BCE – 70 CE).