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Wine making emerged in Europe with the expansion of the Roman Empire throughout the Mediterranean, when many major wine producing regions that still exist today were established.
Even then, wine making was a precise husbandry that fostered the development of different grape varieties and cultivation techniques. Barrels for storing and shipping emerged, bottles were used for the first time, and even a rudimentary appellation system developed as certain regions gained a reputation for fine wine.
As wine production became progressively refined, its popularity increased, and wine taverns became a common feature in cities throughout the Empire.
The art of vitiviniculture spreading over Europe With centuries passing , the art of wine making spread to France, Spain, Germany and parts of Britain.
By that time, wine was considered an important part of daily diet and people began to favour stronger, heavier wines.
European appreciation of wine endured throughout the Dark Ages. Partly because drinking water was still unreliable, wine was the preferred alternative to accompany meals.
At the same time, viticulture and viniculture advanced thanks to the husbandry of Church monasteries across the continent, which gave rise to some of the finest vineyards in Europe.
The merchant and noble classes had wine with every meal and maintained well-stocked cellars. During the 16th century, wine became appreciated as a more sophisticated alternative to beer and as wine products began to diversify, consumers began to value the concept of varying their drinking habits.
People began to discuss the virtues and vices of wine with greater gusto than in previous centuries. The Shakespearian era saw the availability of fresh drinking water in London, a breakthrough that moved the wine industry into a new age.
By the end of the Old Kingdom, five distinct wines, probably all produced in the Delta, constituted a canonical set of provisions for the afterlife.
Wine in ancient Egypt was predominantly red. Due to its resemblance to blood, much superstition surrounded wine-drinking in Egyptian culture. Shedeh , the most precious drink in ancient Egypt, is now known to have been a red wine and not fermented from pomegranates as previously thought.
This was considered to be the reason why drunkenness "drives men out of their senses and crazes them, inasmuch as they are then filled with the blood of their forebears".
Residue from five clay amphoras in Tutankhamun 's tomb, however, have been shown to be that of white wine , so it was at least available to the Egyptians through trade if not produced domestically.
As recipients of winemaking knowledge from areas to the east, the Phoenicians were instrumental in distributing wine, wine grapes, and winemaking technology throughout the Mediterranean region through their extensive trade network.
Their use of amphoras for transporting wine was widely adopted and Phoenician-distributed grape varieties were important in the development of the wine industries of Rome and Greece.
The only Carthaginian recipe to survive the Punic Wars was one by Mago for passum , a raisin wine that later became popular in Rome as well.
Much of modern wine culture derives from the practices of the ancient Greeks. The vine preceded both the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures.
Indeed, the most popular modern Greek wine, a strongly aromatic white called retsina , is thought to be a carryover from the ancient practice of lining the wine jugs with tree resin, imparting a distinct flavor to the drink.
The Greek Theophrastus provides the oldest known description of this aspect of Greek winemaking. In Homeric mythology, wine is usually served in " mixing bowls " rather than consumed in an undiluted state.
Dionysus , the Greek god of revelry and wine—frequently referred to in the works of Homer and Aesop —was sometimes given the epithet Acratophorus , "giver of unmixed wine".
Chian was credited as the first red wine , although it was known to the Greeks as "black wine". However, as the emphasis of viticulture increased with economic demand so did the consumption of alcohol during the years to come.
The Greeks embraced the production aspect as a way to expand and create economic growth throughout the region.
Greek wine was widely known and exported throughout the Mediterranean , as amphoras with Greek styling and art have been found throughout the area.
The Greeks may have even been involved in the first appearance of wine in ancient Egypt. Use of wild grapes in production of alcoholic beverages has been attested at the Jiahu archaeological site c.
Archeologists have found pottery shards showing remnants of rice and grape wine dating back to BCE in Jiahu village in Henan province.
Archaeologists have discovered production from native "mountain grapes" like V. Dayuan , Bactria , and the Indo-Greek Kingdom.
These had brought viticulture into Central Asia and trade permitted the first wine produced from V. Wine was imported again when trade with the west was restored under the Tang dynasty , but it remained mostly imperial fare and it was not until the Song that its consumption spread among the gentry.
Herodotus , writing about the culture of the ancient Persians in particular, those of Pontus writes that they "very fond" of wine and drink it in large quantities.
The Roman Empire had an immense impact on the development of viticulture and oenology. Wine was an integral part of the Roman diet and winemaking became a precise business.
Virtually all of the major wine-producing regions of Western Europe today were established during the Roman Imperial era.
During the Roman Empire, social norms began to shift as the production of alcohol increases. 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",  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: 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.
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.
The Industrial Revolution led from local to large-scale brewing and mass marketing, with intense competition. A proliferation of saloons drove owners to seek side profits by pursuing illegal and unsavory vices such as gambling and prostitution.
As another beverage containing alcohol, wine began to suffer the successful excesses of beer. Although some of these laws allowed winemaking to continue for sale elsewhere, few wineries in these states could compete without selling their wines locally.
Most closed their doors and abandoned their vineyards. The Drys went so far as to have any mention of wine expunged from school and college texts, including Greek and Roman classic literature.
Medicinal wines were dropped from the United States Pharmacopoeia. They even tried to prove that praises for wine in the Bible were actually referring to unfermented grape juice.
Thirty-three states had gone dry at the outbreak of World War I. Constitution, criminalizing the "manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors"; by February, , 45 states had ratified it; New Jersey held out until , and only Connecticut and Rhode Island ultimately rejected it.
To define the language and set the effective date, Congress enacted the National Prohibition Act, more popularly known as the Volstead Act, named after Minnesota Republican Andrew Volstead, teetotaller and primary proponent of the bill.
After midnight on January 16, , National Prohibition would begin. The net consequences of the legislation made it much more difficult to obtain alcohol, possession by individuals for personal consumption was not a federal crime.
Through a provision that made penalties not applicable 1 to "a person manufacturing nonintoxicating cider and fruit juice exclusively for use in his home," thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens became home winemaking hobbyists and quasi-bootleggers.
This poorly-constructed clause eliminated punishments without strictly legalizing either home brewing or winemaking, yet the obvious difficulty of interpreting and applying the law's intent led to new pastimes for many households.
Wine Commonsewers, New York City, Could this be the pipeline to the mayor's office? Or maybe, they're running a Veterinary Clinic to prevent arteriosclerosis in rodents Explosive demand for fresh grapes and a shortage of refrigerated railroad cars in which to ship them caused prices to skyrocket.
Growers began replanting their vineyards from fine wine varieties over to table or juice grape varieties that shipped better.
Planted acreage nearly doubled from to Prosperity for the growers lasted barely five years. In , the railroads finally had enough cars, too much fruit was shipped and it rotted on the Eastern docks.
The massive plantings produced a constant surplus of California grapes that persisted until Kansas until , Oklahoma until , and Mississippi until Seventeen states chose to obliterate free-market capitalism by establishing monopoly liquor stores with limited selections and plain-as-dirt merchandising that discourages respectable housewives from shopping.
There remain local prohibitions that are arbitrary, inconsistent and niggling, with such manifest foolishness as streets lined door-to-door on one side with taverns and "package stores" and nary a one on the opposite side where the dry boundary runs down the middle of the roadway.
Today 10 percent of the nation's area and 6 percent of the population remain dry. Anticipating Repeal, speculators and quick-buck artists soon flooded the legal market with quickly and poorly made wine.
Dilettantes published books and articles warning Americans about rigid rules that must be followed to serve the proper wine with the proper food from the proper glass at the proper temperature.
Faced with bad-tasting products with which to risk committing social blunders and while remaining uncertain about the social acceptance of any alcohol, most Americans stayed away.
Hard drinkers stuck to hard liquor. For decades, moderate wine drinking in a social context survived almost exclusively in households that made their own.
The only group of wines that sold well following Repeal were the fortified dessert wines. Taxed at the lower rate of wine as opposed to distilled spirits, but with 20 percent alcohol, this group made the cheapest intoxicant available for derelicts and winos.
Recovery and re-growth of the wine industry was severely inhibited for the next half century, in both quantity and quality. Before , there were more than 2, commercial wineries in the United States.
Less than survived as winemaking operations to By , that number had grown to only California had bonded wineries before Prohibition; it took more than half a century, until , before that many were again operating.
Before , table wines accounted for 3 of every 4 gallons shipped. In , four years after Repeal, fortified wine production outpaced table wine by a ratio of 5 to 1.
It wasn't until that table wines sales caught up and finally overtook fortified wines, regaining the status of most popular wine category.
Prohibition left a legacy of distorting the role of alcohol in American life, ruining a fledgling world-class wine industry, weakening the U.
The maze of confusing and conflicting laws that currently vary widely between states impedes commerce, sustains distribution monopolies, casts aspersions of greed on tax coffers, and mocks the American sense of fair competition.
More police officers were killed during the decade of the s than in any decade in history. The "Grand Experiment" implanted moral ambiguity and disrespect for authority in an entire generation of Americans, while it deprived them of potential social and health benefits, and brought the character and term "wino" into the streets and the lexicon.
The one positive remainder is the lingering Congressional hesitance to pass Constitutional Amendments, especially regarding restrictions on individual liberty and personal moral choice.
We can only hope for the future that our representatives don't commit such folly when powerful special interests clash with the shared individual freedoms that make up the public interest.
The forces of prohibition are not dead yet. They are more insidious, combining moralist and monopolist factions, pursuing an agenda of obstructionist legislation, that includes preventing or encumbering direct sales of wine to consumers see Free the Grapes 3 , preventing health information from being printed on wine labels and spreading disinformation about potential benefits and studies related to wine and health.
American wine-consuming growth is on pace to become the number one wine consuming nation by A remaining problem is American tendency toward excess.
A goal of moderate regular consumption seems too tame for America's tastes. Achieving such might bring better health overall to the population and peace with all but the most radical teetotallers.
Research in the past thirty years has led to developments in both agriculture and technology that have greatly improved overall wine quality.
The quality and stature of California and American wine has never been better and worldwide demand continues to grow.