Europe

Greek & Roman
Greeks and Romans were the most important in European wine culture.  Around 1000 BC, wine was brought to Greece, by the god of wine in classical mythology, Dionysus.  The Greeks were the first to establish wine trading in Europe and the Mediterranean, from east of the Black Sea to Spain.  Most imports came from India, but their favorite was from Italy, especially from Sicily.  It is no wonder that “Italy” in Greek is translated to “land of wine”.
Julius Caesar viewed that women and wine were the two essential components of a successful military campaign.  Everywhere their army triumphed, vines are planted.  But wines in France were not brought by Romans.  Greeks planted vines near Marseilles around 500 BC.  Greeks were also the first to age their wines.

Medieval Period
During the Medieval Period, the use of sulfur as sterilization in wine was forbidden by law.  Wine storage and wine aging virtually did not exist during this time.  Wine would be drank before it was turned into vinegar, usually less than one year from when it’s made.
During the Middle Ages in Europe, wine in part compensated for the lack of carbohydrates in the diet, as well as a vitamin supplement.  Also in this period of time, the monastic orders maintained the international trade of wine, which was important in the development of different and unique types of wine.

Champagne
In 17th century, a Benedictine monk, Dom Perignon made the discovery of Champagne.  It was known that some wines could undergo a second fermentation once they’re fermented.  But these wines could pop off the lids of the bottles.  They were called vin diable, or devil wine.  Perignon started the process of improving the quality of lids and stronger bottles, making them stronger and preventing the lid from popping.  When he finally succeed in allowing a secondary fermentation inside a bottle, he created the wine that is now known as “Champagne”.

Home | Go back to China & Far East | Go on to America

 

Wine History The Making of Wine The Types of Wine Food and Wine Pairing Tasting Wine