A brief history of wine
Archaeological evidence has established the earliest known production of wine from fermented grapes during the late Neolithic site of Hajji Firuz in the northernZagros Mountains or early Chalcolithic in the northern edge of the Middle East. The earliest chemically attested grape wine was discovered at Hajji Firuz in the northwestern Zagros Mountains, ca. 5400 BC. Both archaeological and genetic evidence suggest that the earliest production of wine may slightly predate this, with the earliest wine-making likely having taken place in Trans-Caucasia (including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia), through the region between Eastern Turkey, and Northwest Iran.
The earliest form of grape-based fermented drink was found in northern China, where archaeologists discovered 9000-year-old pottery jars, while the earliest archaeological evidence of wine particles found has been in Georgia, where archaeologists discovered evidence of wine residue inside ceramic jars that were dated back some 8000 years and Iran (c. 5000 BC). The earliest evidence of wine production was discovered in Armenia within the Areni-1 winery in 2007 and is at least 6100 years old, making it the oldest winery in the world. The development of a winery implies wine had started being produced much earlier.
mixed fermented beverages in China in the early years of the seventh millennium BC. Pottery jars from the Neolithic site of Jiahu, Henan, contained traces of tartaric acid and other organic compounds commonly found in wine. However, other fruits indigenous to the region, such as hawthorn, cannot be ruled out. If these beverages, which seem to be the precursors of rice wine, included grapes rather than other fruits, they would have been any of the several dozen indigenous wild species in China, rather than Vitis vinifera, which was introduced there 6000 years later.
The spread of wine culture westwards was most probably due to the Phoenicians who spread outward from a base of city-states along the Lebanese, Syrian and Israeli coasts. The wines of Byblos were exported to Egypt during the Old Kingdom and then throughout the Mediterranean. Evidence includes two Phoenician shipwrecks from 750 BC discovered by Robert Ballard, whose cargo of wine was still intact. As the first great traders in wine (cherem), the Phoenicians seem to have protected it from oxidation with a layer of olive oil, followed by a seal of pinewood and resin, similar to retsina.
The earliest remains of Apadana Palace in Persepolis dating back to 515 BC include carvings demonstrating soldiers from Achaemenid Empire subject nations bringing gifts to the Achaemenid king, among them Armenians bringing their famous wine.
Literary references to wine are abundant in Homer (8th century BC, but possibly relating earlier compositions), Alkman (7th century BC), and others. In ancient Egypt, six of 36 wine amphoras were found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun bearing the name "Kha'y", a royal chief vintner. Five of these amphoras were designated as originating from the king's personal estate, with the sixth from the estate of the royal house of Aten. Traces of wine have also been found in central AsianXinjiang in modern-day China, dating from the second and first millennia BC.
The first known mention of grape-based wines in India is from the late 4th-century BC writings of Chanakya, the chief minister of Emperor Chandragupta Maurya. In his writings, Chanakya condemns the use of alcohol while chronicling the emperor and his court's frequent indulgence of a style of wine known as madhu.
The ancient Romans planted vineyards near garrison towns so wine could be produced locally rather than shipped over long distances. Some of these areas are now world-renowned for wine production. The Romans discovered that burning sulfur candles inside empty wine vessels kept them fresh and free from a vinegar smell. Inmedieval Europe, the Roman Catholic Church supported wine because the clergy required it for the Mass. Monks in France made wine for years, aging it in caves. An old English recipe that survived in various forms until the 19th century calls for refining white wine from bastard—bad or tainted bastardo wine.