The Fascinating History of Wine in Brief

Here’s a quick question for you- where did wine come from? We bet you’re thinking of France, or maybe Italy, but the answer is a lot more surprising than you may think! The wine experts from Louisvale Wines have compiled a quick cheat-sheet to the history of wine for you today- and we’ll bet you will be surprised by what it reveals, too!

The Birth of Wine

Let’s be honest- humans like to relax and unwind. Almost as soon as we learned how to farm produce, mankind found ways to ferment it into a variety of tasty drinks perfect to celebrate and relax with. From potato-based vodka to the ‘small beer’ of historic England, if it can be drunk, it was. Alcoholic drinks and humans have a long history together!

But there’s nothing quite like the beauty of wine- and where you want to make wine, you need great soil for growing vines. The origins of wine can be traced back to truly ancient times, and it’s believed to have been first produced around 6,000 years ago in what is now modern-day Georgia and Iran- the area known today as the Fertile Crescent. However, there is evidence to suggest that wine production may have begun even earlier, perhaps as far back as 8,000 years ago!

The very first vintners in the world were likely the Shulaveri-Shomu people, and you’d be surprised at how little the basics of winecrafting have changed since their day. Some of their techniques are still found today in the Georgia area. From storage/fermentation jars to the remains of ancient wineries, humans have been enjoying wine for literal millenia.

The Spread of Wine

But wine didn’t remain isolated to the Fertile Crescent for long. The ancient Greeks and Romans were known for their love of wine, and they played a significant role in spreading wine culture throughout Europe. As the Roman Empire, in particular, expanded, they couldn’t resist taking their grapes and cultivars with them, seeing wine as one of the hallmarks of civilised society. Wine was also an important part of religious ceremonies in ancient civilizations, including those of the Egyptians and Jews.

Wine-making techniques continued to evolve throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance period, with many of the world’s most famous wine regions being established during this time. Sadly, we also lost many of the most unique grape varieties along the way. Sometimes it was the inevitable result of disease and blight. At other times, simple human foolishness, with many ‘heritage’ strains being pulled out to make way for popular, easy-to-grow vines. Today 70% of wines are made using only 50 cultivars!

The Rebirth of Boutique Wines

Luckily, there’s been a turn in modern wine trends to resurrect and preserve some of the more unique wine cultivars, some of which may be found in only one small vineyard. There’s even been some re-exploration of the ancient techniques that let wine be fermented in clay, not oak!

If you’d like to further the history and preservation of wine, one of the best things you can do is explore new wines- we’re sure that won’t be a chore! When you try local wines (like our famous Cape Chardonnay), you’re helping to support the local industries that birth them, raising their prominence on the international market and sometimes preserving a heritage that dates back for thousands of years.

We’re sure you’ll join us and raise a glass to that! The next time you’re enjoying your favourites from the Louisvale Wines cellar, take a moment or two to remember the ancient history that comes with it. You could well be sharing that bottle with a feisty Spanish pirate, an Ancient Roman centurion, or even one of the Stone Age Shulaveri-Shomu people- and that’s something special indeed!