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The history of Wine


We continue to live the past through drinking wine made from a plant whose origins date back to the regions of the ancient near east.

Wine is considered one of the oldest alcoholic drinks in the world. It used to be made from different ingredients like grapes, raisin, dates and honey. Today, it is basically made from grapes. Wine has many kinds: red wine, white wine, rosé wine, and sparkling wine (gassy). Wine is characterized that the older it gets, the better its quality is and the better fermented it gets.

The history of wine manufacture:

It is very difficult to obtain the historical and antique evidence of wine manufacture. The grape seeds in archaeological locations do not necessarily indicate wine production. What really indicates its production is the discovery of domesticated grapes and finding evidence of wine processing and manufacturing.

The oldest date of wine discovery was about 6600-7000 B.C, the eras before history in China in the location of Jiahu where traces of a fermented drink made from rice, honey and fruits were discovered. It was recognized from the pungent taste remaining at the bottom of the jar; the same drink we taste from wine bottles nowadays. After that came scripted proofs mentioning wine manufacturing dating back to 1046-221 B.C.

The most ancient date of wine manufacture in the west of Asia also came from the stone era, from the location of Haji Fairouz in Iran, where the bottom of a jar was found to have the same pungent taste dating date to about 5500-5000 B.C. Then a conclusive evidence of manufacturing wine from grapes was found in another location in Iran about 4300 B.C.

Traces of wine manufacturing were also found in the location of Korban Howewokin the south east of Turkey from 5000 B.C.
In Iraq, evidence of wine manufacturing was found in Or at the beginning of the third thousand B.C, 2500-2600.

In Syria, grapes agriculture began generally from about 3000 B.C, as traces of jars and vessels were found and interpreted to have been used for wine preservation. Traces of grapes pressing containers were found in Bara and Sergilla villages in the limestone cluster in the mountainous area in the north west of Syria. Jars and vessels with illustrations of grapes and of the god Bacchus (the god of wine) were found in Afamia and Palmyra. After that, the coastal regions like Latakia and Tartous became the most important regions for grape-made wine distribution and exportation to most Middle Eastern regions. Jars were used in exporting wine to Rome and Greece.

In Egypt about 3150 B.C, 700 jars which were thought to have contained grape wine were found.

In Europe, the oldest date for grape berries wine manufacturing came from Greece where the excavation in the location of Dikili Tash discovered jars that date back to 4400-4000 B.C. Also in Armenia at the location of Areni, preservation jars dating back to 4000 B.C. were found containing traces of fermented red wine.

In the Roman Empire, grape wine manufacture was practiced on a large scale and reached its peak during the first century AD. With the spread of Christianity, the wine industry spread to most American and European regions. It had many types depending on the grapes used in its manufacture, and the interest of cultivating grapes increased further and further. In Rome, special preservation chambers were built for wine fermentation. Techniques of vine cultivation and manufacture of barrels and glass vessels -similar in shape to jars- developed. Romans also invented a labeling system; there are areas that acquired their wide reputation for good wine production. Each area produced various types of wine: there is dry wine, sweet wine and light wine. After that they mixed some herbs and metals with wine for medical and treatment purposes.

The oldest wine bottle which was found belongs to a Roman noble man and dates back to 355-350 B.C.

In the medieval centuries, the manufacture of wine declined a little except for its persistence in some Christian monasteries where monks grew vine and produced their own wine. Benedictine monks also became major producers of wine in France and Germany.

With the advance of technology and the improvement of the quality and the types of vine cultivation in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, Europe- particularly France- became one of the biggest wine-producing countries worldwide.

Wine manufacture:

The soil, air, water, and environment in which grapes grow, all these factors make wine special and unique.

The process of making wine itself continued since ancient centuries, from picking grapes, pressing them and collecting the product in special dark warehouses. After that comes the distillation process to cleanse grapes from sediments, peels and seeds. Finally, the aging process is carried out in tightly-sealed vessels in cold and dark places. What differed in wine manufacture between then and now are the pressing machines, the method of distillation, the glass vessels and caps made of cork which prevent air from leaking into the bottles. It is customary to pay attention to the wooden barrels in which the wine is left to age; the quality of the wood affects the taste and smell of wine. It is better to use oak wood as it is the perfect matter for wine aging. Oak wood operates like the lungs by letting oxygen enter to oxidize the wine, which settles its color and smoothes its taste. Most wooden barrels are made from French or American oak, or a mix of both. There is also a kind of oak that grows in China and Eastern Europe that is appropriate for barrels manufacturing.

The types of grapes used in wine Manufacture:

The quality of wine is basically defined by grape vines rather than the method in which wine is made. The better the grapes, the better the wine. Choosing the vine depends on the desirable quality of the produced wine, It is possible to choose white, red or black grapes. It is also possible to mix many types of grapes, like red grapes mixed with a percentage of black grapes until the color darkens, black grapes mixed with white grapes, or red grapes mixed with white grapes to produce rosy wine (Rosé).

The most important types of used grapes are:

Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Cabernet, Saperavi, Fetiaska blanche, Merlot, Syera, Blanc du blanc, Petit noir, (Obeidi)

From these types, red dry wine and white wine are made.

Sweet wine is made from the types of grapes that grow in areas of cold summer with the availability of enough humidity. Its most important types are:

Mouscadelle, Muscat ottonel.

Concerning the grapes that are cultivated in approximately hot areas: Vitis uinifera, this type has existed for thousands of years, and many other types of grapes were domesticated from it. It is grown in the north of America and some regions in the Mediterranean. It is characterized that its seeds are easily removable and its peel is hard; it also tends to have a high percentage of sourness and low sugar.

There are two main types of North American grapes which are: Fox and Moscadine, both are edible when fresh and are used in wine manufacturing.

Types of wine:

As we mentioned before, wine types differ according to the types of the used grapes. We have dry red wine, sweet red wine, white wine, rosé wine and sparkly wine. The quality of wine also depends on the harvest of vine once it is ripe and sending it directly to the press.

The most important wine manufacturing countries:

Luxurious wine is produced in Burgundy in the south of France which produces luxurious white wine, and Bordeaux which produces red wine, and in Tuscani, Italy. In Spain, Rioja produces white, red, rosé  wine and is famous for the production of sparkling wine. It is also produced in Germany, Portugal, Armenia, Georgia, Argentina and Turkey. Santorini island in Greece is famous for white wine production. America is also considered one of the biggest countries to export wine, especially California.

As for Arab countries, Algeria is considered one of the most important luxurious wine manufacturing countries. Algerian grapes are known for their high quality. Lebanon is also considered one of the countries for good wine manufacturing. Its most important brands are Ksara and Kafarya. Good wine is also manufactured in Syria, Iraq and Morocco.