How have I missed this all my adult life until now? I say any day is a good day for a glass of Wine, but today, it’s official. And I thought you might appreciate a little history on this ancient and venerable beverage to consume along with your breakfast Port Wine Jelly Croissant…
Let’s all take a moment today to celebrate the Fruit of the Vine…
In the beginning
Wikipedia offers a concise summary of Wine’s beginnings:
“The earliest archaeological evidence of wine produced from grapes has been found at sites in China (c. 7000 BC), Georgia (c. 6000 BC), Lebanon (c. 5000 BC), Iran (c. 5000 BC), Greece (c. 4500 BC), and Sicily (c. 4000 BC). The oldest extant evidence of wine production has been found in Armenia (c. 4100 BC).
“The altered consciousness produced by wine has been considered religious since its origin. The ancient Greeks worshiped Dionysus or Bacchus and the Ancient Romans carried on his cult. Consumption of ritual wine was part of Jewish practice since Biblical times and, as part of the eucharist commemorating Jesus’s Last Supper, became even more essential to the Christian Church. Although Islam nominally forbade the production or consumption of wine, during its Golden Age, alchemists such as Geber pioneered wine’s distillation for medicinal and industrial purposes such as the production of perfume.
“Wine production and consumption increased, burgeoning from the 15th century onwards as part of European expansion. Despite the devastating 1887 phylloxera louse infestation, modern science and technology adapted and industrial wine production and wine consumption now occur throughout the world.”
Now the good part
Wine has become so popular that it is made today in virtually every country where Grapes will grow (and alcohol consumption is not forbidden by religious fiat). There are literally hundreds of well-established Wine Grape varieties and every country or region known for its Wines has its own favourites.
Varietal Wines are made from one single Grape type and bear the name of their Grape on their labels. That’s how you’ll find Wines labelled in most of the world. In Europe, fine Wines are most often named for the regions or blending styles they represent, rather than by Grape variety. That’s because some of the most famous are really blends: Burgundy, Bordeaux, Mosel, Tokaj and so on. One major exception is the king of French Red Wines, Cabernet Sauvignoin, which has been exported to, and is now grown in Wine regions around the world. Slightly less famous, yet equally embraced by global Wine lovers, are the Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Merlot and Riesling Grape, among others.
There are so many Wines, with so many blends and styles, that even Wikipedia doesn’t have a single, central post that even pretends to list them all! There is said to be a Wine – somewhere – to complement any food. I believe it.
Some Wine Quotes…
…To toss around while sharing Wine with a friend, or a crowd, today:
“In vino veritas.“
~ “In wine, truth”; Ancient Roman Proverb
“When men drink, then they are rich and successful and win lawsuits and are happy and help their friends. Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.”
~ Aristophanes c. 450 – 385 B.C.
“Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favours what you do.”
~ Ecclesiastes 9:7.
“Drink no longer water but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake, and thine often infirmities.”
~ 1 Timothy 5:23.
“A book of verses underneath a bough,
A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and Thou
Beside me, singing in the wilderness”
~ Omar Kayham, The Rubyat of Omar Kayham.
“John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
Of noble enterprise,
For if you do but taste his blood,
‘Twill make your courage rise,
‘Twill make a man forget his wo;
‘Twill heighten all his joy.”
~ Robert Burns, John Barleycorn, Stanza 13.
“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!”
~ Winston Churchill; during the Great War.
“Once… In the wilds of Afghanistan, I lost my corkscrew, and we were forced to live on nothing but food and water for days.”
~ W. C. Fields, My Little Chickadee.
“My dear girl, there are some things that just aren’t done, such as drinking Dom Perignon ’53 above the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s just as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs!”
~ Goldfinger (1964); Sean Connery as James Bond.
“Jeremiah was a bull frog
Was a good friend of mine
I never understood a single word he said
But I helped him a-drink his wine
And he always had some mighty fine wine.”
~ Hoyt Axton, in Joy to the World (1971).
And there you have it!
Just add a bottle or two of your favourite Wine and enjoy National Drink Wine Day. Even if it is Tuesday.
~ Maggie J.