Ancient History of Wine
Wine’s Ancient History
There is evidence that Vitis vinifera vines were cultivated in Mesopotamia and Egypt at least 6,000 years ago. “Vinifera” is Latin for, “to bear or carry wine,” and “Vitis” refers to the genus that all vine-like plants are classified in. Vitis vinifera varietals quickly spread to different regions because it yielded economical production and the grapes were relatively easily moved and traded. As populations shifted and conquered westward, vines were introduced to Greece, Italy and North Africa. This played a major role in the ancient history of wine.
The Ancient Greeks sung the praises of the grapevine and the wines they produced. Later, the Romans were as methodical in wine production as they were in civil governance and the structure of their military. As the Roman Legions conquered much of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, they took grapevines with them.
As Vitis vinifera varietals were planted in different regions and climates, they began to evolve and mutate based on their surroundings. Varietals were crossed, some died out completely and new ones emerged. As Europeans moved into different regions in the world, they often took Vitis vinifera cuttings with them. The ancient history of wine has played a major role in the development of the modern wine industry.
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