Fossil vines, 60 million years old, are the earliest
evidence of grapes in the world. The earliest word of
viniculture is in the Old Testament of the Bible which
stated that Noah planted a vineyard and made wine. As
cultivated fermentable crops, honey and grain are older
than grapes, although neither mead nor beer has had
anywhere near the social impact of wine over recorded
time. Wine and history have greatly influenced each
Wine, according to an ancient Persian tale, a natural
phase of grape spoilage, was discovered by accident.
Not an invention of man. It is established that grape
cultivation and wine drinking had started by about 4000
B.C. and possibly as early as 6000 B.C. The first developments
were around the Caspian Sea and in Mesopotamia, near
Iran nowaday. Texts from tombs in ancient Egypt prove
that wine was in use 2700 B.C. to 2500 B.C. The Egyptians
developed the first arbors and pruning methods. Archeological
excavations have uncovered many sites with sunken jars,
so the effects of temperature on stored wine were probably
Wine came to Europe with the spread of the Greek civilization
around 1600 B.C. It was an important article of Greek
commerce and Greek doctors, including Hippocrates, were
among the first to prescribe it. And, Greeks also learned
to add herbs and spices to mask the spoilage.
Due to the influence of the Romans, the foundation and
strength of viniculture in Western Europe were established.
Starting about 1000 B.C., the Romans made major contributions
in classifying grape varieties and colors, observing
and charting ripening characteristics, identifying diseases
and recognizing soil-type preferences. They became skilled
at pruning and increasing yields through irrigation
and fertilization techniques.
The Romans also developed wooden cooperage, a great
advance for wine storage which had previously been done
in skins or jars. They may also have been the first
to use glass bottles, as glassblowing activities became
more common at that time.