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Off the Vine

A brief history in wine
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From the mountains of Iran at 5400 B.C. to winning awards in France
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Around 6000 BC The first wines are produced in Caucasia and Mespotamia. Archaeologists claimed they had made a major step forward in understanding Neolithic winemaking when they found a yellowish residue inside a jar excavated at the site of Hajji Firuz Tepe in the northern Zagros Mountains of Iran. The jar, with a volume of about 9 liters was found with five similar jars embedded in the earthen floor along one wall of a "kitchen" of a Neolithic mudbrick building, dated to ca. 5400-5000 B.C

3000 B.C. Egypt and Phoenicia start wine production. The wild grape doesn't grow in Egypt, but is likely bought through trade with Palestine.

Between 1000-950 BCAncient Greeks cultivate vineyards throughout Spain, Italy and the Greek Islands

During 50 BC - AD 500 Wine production grows to include most of Western Europe, Southern Russia and parts of Britain. After the fall of the Roman empire, wine was produced by Europe's monasteries

Mid 8th Century Emperor Charlemagne advances the art of wine. He orders that crushing of wine grapes no longer be done with the feet, but that a mechanical screw press be used. Wine is no longer to be stored in skins, but in wooden kegs instead. Viticulture becomes so successful during Charlemagne's reign that there is an excess of wine. Thus, "banvin" has to be imposed, which means none of the tenants could sell their wine until the lord had sold his own. 1200 Wine production is halted in Spain during Moorish rule, and is not started again until the 14th century

1224 King of France organizes the 'battle of wines'

Between 14th and 16th centuries Europe has no supply of clean drinking water, wine becomes a staple in the daily diet

17th century Champagne is invented. Improved glass-making makes wine more transportable and more easily stored.

Late 1800s Tragedy strikes European wine makers with the spread of phylloxera. The insect is a serious pest of commercial grapevines worldwide, forming galls on leaves and roots of grapevines. It is believed that this insect originated in the Eastern United States, where damage is now most prevalent on leaves of French-American hybrid grapevines. High populations of foliar phylloxera can result in premature defoliation, reduced shoot growth, and reduced yield and quality of the crop

19th and 20th centuries New world vineyards in California, Australia, South America and Canada gain international acclaim. Many of the vineyards are started by imported or hybrid grapes related to those in Europe.

sources: University of Pennsylvannia and Louis-Jadot's History of wine


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