The History of Wine

The History of Wine

The history of wine is as fascinating as the way it is made. Thousands of years of efforts have gone into the making of wine. Before we go into the...

The history of wine is as fascinating as the way it is made. Thousands of years of efforts have gone into the making of wine. Before we go into the intricacies of the different types of wines, how they are made and served, it is interesting to know a little bit of wine history. Read on…

When did it all start?
Wine is as old as mankind and traces of wine has been found in amphorae or earthen pots of Georgia and Mesopotamia from several thousand years ago. Even in India the history of wine extends way back when kings used to drink wine made from grapes and it has also been part of folklore as “somras” drunk by Gods. In the recent two to three thousand years, wine has been adopted by the people in Europe as part of their culture. The Romans have kept records of wines as way back as 121 BC when Pliny recorded this vintage describing it as one of the good vintages.

Monks, Monasteries,Emperors and Wines:
With rise of Christianity in the middle ages, monasteries controlled vine growing and supervised the winemaking processes. Many abbeys controlled the process of making wines and improved the quality of the wines. The wines from Burgundy in France from the 5th to the 15th century prospered under their watchful eyes. A very famous monk “Dom Perignon” is credited to have created the first Champagne too! The work done by monks was carried forward by Dukes and Emperors.

Missionaries also spread wine to other regions including the United States, where even the grape they brought was called “Mission”. It is said that Emperor Charlemagne ordered planting of white grapes in his French vineyard of Corton-Charlemagne (now very famous for its white wines) because of fear that his white beard could get stained by red wine! French Emperor Napoleon’s favourite wine was Chambertin and he used to drink half a bottle diluted with water during each of his meals.

Wine history for India
Ayurvedic preparation of Drakshasava has been mentioned as medicine. However, earliest recorded wine in India was during the Indo-Greek rule, which established around 180 BC. Grapes came to India from the Persia – Afghanistan route. Later, wine was consumed mainly by royalty and was most likely imported. There have been some references of vineyards and wines made during British rule but not much of the details have been recorded.

In recent times, the first vineyards were planted with French grape varieties close to Nashik, Pune and some regions in Telangana. The first modern winery was set up near Pune but now the majority of wineries are situated in Nashik. Wine sales in India are growing at close to 15 per cent every year.

Telangana has also become a hotbed for wine sales with many producers competing in this market. Consumers here are lucky to have very high quality wines like ASAV wines being sold here and have a great opportunity to taste several types of wines. This beverage with its magical and rich history is now available close by. Enjoy wine and relive its history. Cheers!

-The writer is an Independent Consultant Winemaker and Wine Professional. He is also the consultant for Hyderabad-based Asav Wines

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