The History of Wine

history of wine

“Birthplace’s of wine” – the Country of Georgia.

The origins of wine predate written records, and modern archaeology is still uncertain about the details of the first cultivation of wild grapevines. Wild grapes grow in Georgia, the northern Levant, coastal and southeastern Turkey, northern Iran, and Armenia. The fermenting of strains of this wild Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris (the ancestor of the modern wine grape, V. vinifera) would have become easier following the development of pottery during the later Neolithic, c. 11,000 BC. However, the earliest evidence so far discovered dates from millennia afterwards.

Patrick McGovern argued that the domestication of the wine grape and winemaking may have originated in what is now Georgia in the Caucasus and spread south from there. The earliest archaeological evidence of wine production yet found has been at sites in Georgia (c. 6000 BC)[7][8][9] and Iran (c. 5000 BC). The Iranian jars contained a form of retsina, using turpentine pine resin to more effectively seal and preserve the wine. Production spread to other sites in Greater Iran and Grecian Macedonia by c. 4500 BC. The Greek site is notable for the recovery at the site of the remnants of crushed grapes.

The oldest-known winery was discovered in the “Areni-1″ cave in Vayots Dzor, Armenia. Dated to c. 4100 BC, the site contained a wine press, fermentation vats, jars, and cups. Archaeologists also found V. vinifera seeds and vines. Commenting on the importance of the find, McGovern said, “The fact that winemaking was already so well developed in 4000 BC suggests that the technology probably goes back much earlier.”

Domesticated grapes were abundant in the Near East from the beginning of the early Bronze Age, starting in 3200 BC. There is also increasingly abundant evidence for winemaking in Sumer and Egypt in the 3rd millennium BC.
Legends of discovery
Wine (mey) has been a theme of Persian poetry for millennia.

There are many etiological myths told about the first cultivation of the grapevine and fermentation of wine.

Why is wine so interwoven with our own humanity?
This global adventure reveal’s the special connection we have always had with wine.
And how the crossroads were constructed between wine and art, religion, politics, love, and war.
In this first installment, we take you to one of the “Birthplace’s of wine” – the Country of Georgia.

 

The Biblical Book of Genesis first mentions the production of wine following the Great Flood, when Noah drunkenly exposes himself to his sons. The resulting Curse of Ham was originally intended as a justification for the Hebrew conquest of Canaan but was later adapted to explain black skin and African slavery.

Greek mythology placed the childhood of Dionysus and his discovery of viticulture at the fictional and variably located Mount Nysa but had him teach the practice to the peoples of central Anatolia. Because of this, he was rewarded to become a god of wine.

In Persian legend, King Jamshid banished a lady of his harem, causing her to become despondent and contemplate suicide. Going to the king’s warehouse, the woman sought out a jar marked “poison” containing the remnants of the grapes that had spoiled and were now deemed undrinkable. After drinking the fermented wine, she found her spirits lifted. She took her discovery to the king, who became so enamored of his new drink that he not only accepted the woman back but also decreed that all grapes grown in Persepolis would be devoted to winemaking

read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_wine

Wine Bottle Ideas – 4 Wine Bottling Tips

So you’ve decided to invest in the world-wide trend of home wine making.

And why not?

Owning your own micro-winery equipment is cost effective and the actual hobby is fun and allows for lots of experimentation.  That, and it’s an opportunity to produce one of the world’s oldest and most beloved beverages.

Below are some tips for wine bottling that will help you take what you’ve produced and turn it into a full-on finished product.

1)      What type of bottle should you use?

There are a surprising number of different wine bottles to choose from, and you need to keep in mind what will be the best style and size for your wine. You should also consider whether or not your wine will be fermented before being placed into the bottle or afterward. Having said that, bottles can range in shape and size from narrow and tall (for Mosel and Alsace wines), to tall with sloping shoulders (usually used for Bugundies and Rhone varieties of wine), to thick-walled with sloping shoulders (most commonly used for sparkling wines and champagne). Most wine bottles come in brown (Rhine or Alsace), clear (used for sweet wines and white wines), dark green (red wines), and light green (dry white wines). There are no strict rules to bottling your wine – in fact many wineries experiment with color, shape and style to make their wines stand out- but, as stated earlier, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to bottling wine so make sure to research thoroughly before deciding on what type of bottle to use.

2)      Cork vs. Crown-cap

Deciding on whether or not to use a cork or a crown-cap depends mostly on two things; the style you’re going for, and what kind of impression you want to make. Wine corks can be made of either a single piece of cork, or composed of particles, as in champagne corks. The study “Analysis of the life cycle of Cork, Aluminum and Plastic Wine Closures,” commissioned by cork manufacturer Amorim and made public in December 2008, concluded that cork is the most environmentally responsible stopper.

However, a 2005 closure study showed that 45% of corks did not prevent gas leakage during pressure testing both from the sides of the cork as well as through the cork body itself. The majority of non-sparkling wine production now uses these caps as a cork alternative as it’s much cheaper. So, again, it all comes down to opinion. Whether you want to go with a more environmentally friendly cork that’s got that old-fashioned, traditional style to it, or the more practical crown-cap that’s slightly more reliable but less safe for the earth, well, it’s up to you. It’s the wine inside the bottle, not the cork plugging it, that counts.

3)      Labels and hang tags?

After you’ve chosen your bottle and bottle-stopper, it’s time to start thinking about packaging and labeling. A label is very crucial as it shows the type of wine and date of the wine (two things you’re customer will be interested in knowing). It also can help show your specific winery style.

Wine labels are often very affordable and can come in a variety of shapes and materials including transparent adhesive paper, foil paper, and top grade paper. If you want to avoid hand-labeling every bottle you produce, try going with the simpler, more decorative hang tag.

A wide variety of expertly designed, customizable wine labels and hang tags can be found at Labels on the Fly.

4)      Where will it be stored when you’re done?

Most wines should be stored in a dark area as UV rays can cause wines to become ‘light struck’ and pick up an unpleasant smell. Darker bottles are better protected from this, but not enough to be stored in direct sunlight. If you’ve decided to cork your bottle you should store it on its side, as bottles kept upright for too long will dry out and spoil.

Make sure the temperature in the place of storage is kept constant – it should never go over 75 degrees F (24 degrees C).

Letting the temp drop below 54 degrees F won’t hurt it, mind you – it will just slow down the aging process. It’s also a good idea not to move the wine. Try to keep it isolated and make sure to store for an appropriate amount of time. And remember to adjust the temperature before serving.

There you have it! Bottling wine, while slightly less simple than switching the channel to the evening news, can be a fun way to make your wine more self-styled and personalized.

Good luck on bottling your new batch of home-made wine, and stay tuned for more wine making tips and recipes!

Home Wine Making – 5 Things You Ought to Know

Did you know there are almost 3000 vineyards in the US, with at least one winery in every state? Most US wine production occurs in the west, with the states of California, Washington and Oregon leading the way. In fact, Californian production alone is more than double of the production of the entire country of Australia.

With that having been said it’s easily understandable as to why so many Americans have begun bottling their own homemade wine. Being from upstate NY, one of America’s oldest commercial wine regions, I can safely say that homemade wine making requires hardly any intensive labor. Rather, the ease of home wine making is more or less equivalent to the benefits. It makes you wonder why everybody isn’t doing it.

If you yourself are considering becoming a home wine maker here are several things you ought to know about the process before you get started.

1)      First of all, making wine is ultimately a simple chemical process, using the natural process of fermentation to turn fruit juice into alcohol. Most people are drawn to it as a hobby because it allows you to experiment and be free with recipes.

2)      Home wine making is not at all intrusive. In fact, you can manage quite well even in a small 10 X 10 foot kitchen, and the equipment is easily stored away.

3)      A basic wine making equipment kit will cost approximately $100 to $140, and be used respectively. This means that home wine making is considerably cost effective, especially when you consider the difference between making it and purchasing expensive commercial bottles.

4)      Ingredient kits can cost $60 to $150, putting your cost per bottle in the $2 to $5 range. This means you’ll be able to present customers or friends at weddings, birthday parties or holiday events with high quality, delicious wine that’s personalized and economical.

5)      The  total time you’ll spend from starting a batch to carefully putting the last drop into the bottle will be approximately 4-5 hours, spread over a one month period. So it’s a fun hobby that won’t eat up most of your life but will still result in a fruitful award! Pun very much intended.

There you have it. Wine making can be a very fun, rewarding process that’s totally cost effective and non-time consuming. If you’re thinking about investing in the hobby you might want to begin researching kits and ingredients, as well as branding labels for afterward. In fact, the type of wine label you choose to brand your first batch with can make all the difference. Most professional wine brewers nitpick over their labels for this very reason: the label on the outside reflects the wine inside! So be sure to think about what you want.

A variety of expertly designed, affordable wine bottle labels can be found here at Labels on the Fly.

Good luck on beginning your new, fun hobby and stay tuned for more wine making tips and recipes!

The Right Wine for Any Occasion

different kind of wineIf you’re just getting into home wine making odds are you’re apt to want to start learning about what wine goes best with what type of food, and which wine is right for certain occasions.

While there are really no real rules when choosing the best wine for each occasion, you’ll probably want to take into consideration who’s coming to the event (certain people have certain wine preferences) and, if there’s food at the event, what’s being served (pairing food and wine together can be fairly easy if you have a rough idea of what you’re doing).

Wine is meant to complement certain occasions and dishes.

With that having been said, here are a few ‘soft’ guidelines to help you choose the right wine for the right occasion.

  • White wines are often used for starting off an evening on the right foot, and are also wonderful for toasts and special occasions.
  • Champagne is a regular fixture at weddings and is indispensable at such occasions.
  • Red wines are great for main courses and are typically served during the latter part of any occasion. Their full bodied nature makes them a great complement to hearty meals.
  • Pinot Noir is not as heralded as Merlot or Cabernet, so many people may not recognize its unique blend, but it goes well with creamy sauces.
  • Shiraz is a fiery complement to spicy dishes, and its taste can enhance the flavor in barbecues and roasts.
  • Chianti is the best wine to accompany tomato dishes and poultry.wine for holiday

When choosing what wine you want to bring to a special occasion you should also consider how it will be presented during the occasion.

For example, will you be branding your bottle for the occasion? If so Labels on the Fly offers a wide variety of decorative, customizable holiday, wedding, and birthday themed wine labels and hang tags.

Sometimes the look of the bottle can represent whats inside it.

Above all, though, if your instinct cries out for a special type of wine for a special occasion go with it. Your instinct is usually right, especially if its in an area you’re experienced in.

Good luck on picking your wine, and stay tuned for more wine making tips and recipes!

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