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History of Wine Timeline

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If you’re not a history buff it’s a fact that there’s something special about understanding the history behind the food, drinks and wear including . It’s an opportunity to stimulate your imagination and help put things in perspective by thinking about the history behind. The connection between the first wine grapes that was discovered and the bottle you are currently drinking wine provides the wine with more depth, and lets you appreciate the wine with greater appreciation.
With that in mind, join us as we tour through the history of wine, including where it originated (hint that It’s not France) and the different cultures have produced and utilized throughout the centuries.

What year and where began winemaking?

It’s obvious that Spain, Italy, France and France are all associated with winemaking. But arguably it’s France which has the claim to the most renowned wine appellations (a.k.a. wine regions) including Bordeaux which is known as the “wine capital of the world.” France also has the best wines and varietals on the planet, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot Chardonnay and Chardonnay, Champagne and Pinot Noir.

The history of wine did not begin with French wine, nor Italian or Spanish wine. Archaeological records indicate that wine was made in China at around 7000 B.C., followed by Armenia and Georgia between 6100 and 6100 B.C., respectively.

In fact, researchers discovered the oldest winery in the world (and world’s oldest shoe!) in Armenia. Evidence of winemaking from the Middle East of the past, Egypt, Israel and Greece is also available. Clearly, there’s much more to wine than you think.
Ancient World Wine vs. Old World Wine vs. New World Wine

When discussing the history of wine, it’s beneficial to know a few terms which include “Ancient World” wines, “Old World” wines, and “New World” wines. These terms are more about geography rather than anything else.

Ancient World Wine

As previously mentioned, the current most well-known wine regions not where wine originated. The wine regions of the past- China, Armenia and Iran along with Egypt were the places where the first winemakers in the world devised methods for fermenting grape juice to alcohol.

Old World Wine

Old World wine comes from traditional wine regions across Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, which is where viniculture (wine growing) truly took off and developed. The Old World wine production uses the common grapevine, also commonly referred to as Vitis vinifera. This grape is native to the Mediterranean region.

New World Wine

New World wines can be made from any area that isn’t old or dated. For instance, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, and Canada are New World wine regions. Additionally, there is the United States. The most well-known wine-producing states are Washington, Oregon, California.

The Vitis vinifera grape is also utilized for Old World wine making, however different adaptations are being made to ensure it thrives in these diverse climates.

Timeline of the History of Wine

Whether it was thousands of years ago or just few days ago, the story of of wine starts when the grapes are harvested to be pressed, fermented, and then fermented. The process of fermentation is the most vital component, since it is what transforms the pressed grapes (or the juice of a grape) into wine.

We can’t possibly detail every discovery and development of wine’s long and rich history. We can share the best wines that have been a hit. Here’s a quick overview of wine’s global travels and how different cultures have produced wine and consumed it over the centuries.

7000 B.C.

Dr. Patrick McGovern is a leading wine scientist and anthropologist. He believes that the first chemically validated alcohol-based beverage, which included wine, was discovered in Jiahu, in the Henan Province in China.

Clay jars from the Early Neolithic Period were used for storage and creation of a fermented drink made of wild grapes (including Vitis amurensis and Vitis thunbergii grape varieties) as well as honey, rice and hawthorns. McGovern and his coworkers discovered that fruit with sugar and yeast on their skins were fermented through keeping them in these jars.

It isn’t known if the grapes were consumed by themselves or in conjunction. Evidence suggests that these alcoholic drinks were consumed during burial and religious ceremonies.

6100 B.C.

In 2016, a team of researchers uncovered the oldest winery in the world in an underground cave in the mountains of Armenia. The many discoveries made in this cave was a cup, an a drink vessel, a press for grapes as well as fermentation vessels. The cave also revealed that the grapes used to make wine were Vitis vinifera. It is the same variety used in most wine today. So, it is expected that the final product would likely be similar to unfiltered red wine that tastes like Merlot.

While wine drinking was first introduced in China This discovery is the beginning of wine production. It is believed that Armenian wines were used in burial ceremonies because of its historical significance as burial grounds.

3100 B.C.

An earlier version of wine made of red grapes was first produced in the early years of Egypt. Amphoras were clay jars that had a narrow neck and two handles. This was the method by which the wine of the past was stored.

Although today’s Egypt has a very low level of wine production, the history of Egypt is deeply rooted in the art of winemaking (and wine drinking). The scenes etched into tomb walls depict people picking grapes from the vine, squashing them, and then putting them into amphoras for fermentation.

Red wine was related to blood. Ancient Egyptians believed that it was connected to Osiris, the god who breathed life, as well as other beliefs. The archaeological evidence suggests that the ancient wine was used in various rituals (including burials) and also for medicinal purposes.

Although red wine was by far the most commonly used kind of wine that was produced in the region, amphoras discovered in the tomb of Tutankhamun provide the first proof of white wine being produced in Egypt.

1200 B.C.-539 B.C.

The Phoenicians were the ones responsible for the creation of the trade in wine and the transportation of this ever sought-after drink (and grapevines) across the Mediterranean.

While traveling, the Phoenicians came into contact with Jewish people, who started making use of wine in rituals for religious reasons. In the Bible the first mention of wine occurs in the chapter of Genesis which is the time that Noah consumes it after the Great Flood.
800 B.C.

Due to the Phoenicians The ancient Greeks began drinking wine and using it as a symbol for religion, trade, and health. Ancient Greece loved wine so that they named Dionysus in honor of it. The grapes were initially crushed into wicker baskets prior to being put into pithoi, large earthenware jars that look like Egyptian amphoras. These jars were the place where fermentation occurred.

Wine production increased as the Greek city-states expanded across the Mediterranean. The Greeks as well as the Phoenicians would transport grapevines. They brought the Vitis vinifera wine grape to areas that were not colonized which included Sicily, before eventually making their journey to Rome.

200 B.C.-100 B.C.

The Romans in imitation of the Greeks invented their own god of wine, namely Bacchus. This is how we have the term “bacchanalian” that means drunken celebration.

The Romans developed the Greek viniculture process by using barrels and other methods which allowed them to produce more at a faster pace and with lower cost. Roman wine production employed the torculum (wine pressing) to crush grapes, and then separate the juice from the skins by using the colander device. The juice could be heated before it was fermented in amphoras that were usually buried in sand, dirt or even water.

Drinking wine was a part of everyday life for Romans and, unlike the pharaohs of Egypt and the Egyptian pharaohs, this “drink of gods” was accessible to rich and poor alike. However, the majority of people were drinking a selection of wines of poor quality: mustum (mixed in vinegar), mulsum [sweetened with honey] and lora (“bitter wine made from grape leftovers after pressing) to mention just the few.

The Roman empire grew across Europe They planted grapevines across European nations, which included modern-day France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Portugal.

A.D. 306-380

The Roman Empire’s rule of Constantine, A.D. 306-337, saw the rising of Christianity and the Catholic Church. And with it wine gained the center stage in religious rituals, specifically during the sacrament Eucharist (also known as communion). In Catholic mass, this custom is a way to commemorate the last supper of Jesus Christ and his apostles, with wine symbolizing the blood of Jesus.

Many churches of the Christian tradition still practice drinking wine or the symbolism of it. (Although grape juice is a common substitute.) This is yet another illustration of the lasting influence wine has played on mankind not just for pleasure in social settings, but for spiritual practice.


We’ve all heard of the saying: “In 1492 Columbus sailed on the ocean blue.” Christopher Columbus and his four crew embarked from Spain to discover the Americas during their first expedition. While the “discovery of the New World” was not an unqualified success, it was the beginning of an era of exploration and colonization of North and South America.

The 16th century saw the transatlantic voyages witnessed Spanish conquistadors invading Mexico and Brazil and bringing European grape cultivation. In the 16th century the wine industry spread throughout South America.

Spanish missionaries established Chile’s first winery (not surprising given that wine was an crucial to the Catholic church at the time). The missionaries also traveled to Argentina where they settled in the Mendoza wine region and established the region’s first wine varietals.


In the late 18th century, Spanish missionary Junipero Serra traveled to San Diego, California, where he established the first mission in the state and also the first recognized vineyard. While the friar and his monks created missions across and down the state They continued to cultivate the Mission grape, which is a variety of Vitis vinifera, a grape from Spain.

Four types of wine were distilled from this grape A sweet white wine that fermented the juice , but without the skins the dry and sweet red wine made through the fermentation of juice with the skins still on as well as a sweet wine fortified with sugar.

Spanish colonizers founded Sonoma’s first winery in 1805. The Mission grape was the sole variety that could be grown in California until the 1830s. Then the other European settlers in Los Angeles added several European grape varieties to their vineyards.


James Busby, a Scottish-born, British raised, Australian-based writer and viticulturist, started a new era in winegrowing in Oceania. Through extensive research and travels across continents across Australia, Europe, and Asia, he obtained grapevine cuttings from Europe to establish vineyards in Australia.

Eventually, he took some of these cuttings back from Australia and brought them to New Zealand, and in 1836, he started New Zealand’s first vineyard. Nearly 200 years later his descendants are still flourishing throughout New Zealand and Australia’s vineyards. It’s not surprising that he is considered to be the founder of the Australian wine industry.

1980s to Today

The journey will conclude with wine history in China by going back to the very beginning. China was one of the biggest wine consumers and producers in the world as the Chinese economy began to boom in the late 1980s. Rice wine is still the most popular alcohol drink in the country that harkens back to its ancient roots , the wine grapes have gained popularity and status.

In recent times, however the overall production of Chinese wine has decreased dramatically. While there isn’t a clear explanation for this, experts believe the decline could be the result of unfavorable growing conditions and waning demand for local-produced wines along with the increased importation of wine from more famous wine regions.

No matter how this story goes on, it’s evident that wine will be around for the long haul. Antarctica is the only continent on which there are no vineyards.

Your wine tells an underlying history

Knowing how various cultures have made and utilized wine throughout history will enhance your wine drinking experience. It’s more than just wine made from grapes. Every sip of wine is a lesson from history.