The word wine probably comes from the indoeuropean Vin (life) which has the same root of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty.
The first evidence of wine was found in Ararat, Turkey. This is also confirmed by the Bible when Noah planted a vineyard after the famous great flood.
In Italy wine appeared with the Etruscans in central Italy and the Greeks in south Italy, in the area they called Magnagrecia. The Etruscans loved wine as it is attested by the frescoes of the tombs of Tarquinia (the necropolis of Tarquinia belongs to the Unesco list). In Greece the wine was used during banquets and during the Symposium
In south Italy many grapes still bring name of Greek origin as for example Greco and Aglianico (comes from Ellenic). The Greeks used to plant the grapes directly on the ground, the Romans on the contrary used wood structures called Falangi. From the name falangi we have another grape variety common in south Italy called Falanghina. The Romans found a lot of fertility in the area of the Naples bay because of the volcanic soil, in fact they called the region Campania Felix, which means happy land, happy stands for fertility.
When the Romans conquered Greece, they brought many grapes to Italy and to all the countries they conquered such as Spain, Germany and France. Even if there is a big rivality between Italy and France, the French people agrees that the romans brought the grape to France. To be thanksful the French people gave to the Italians the Barrique and Tonneaux barrels, containers used in Italy and around the world to age the wine.
The wine in Ancient Rome was consumed every day during the daily life whereas before the wine was just the beverage of the kings and the pharaos.
The Romans were the first to classify the wines, in fact they divided the wines from the area where they were produced for example the wine from Rieti, the wine from Sabina or the Wine from Falerno (the favourite wine of the ancient Romans).
When Cristianity became legal in year 313 AD, wine was also produced because it simbolized the blood of Christ. After the fall of the Roman Empire 476 AD, during the Middle Ages, the wine was produced by monks in monasteries. Don Perignon was probably the most famous monk; he is also connected with the invention of Champagne in France.
After the discovery of America by Colombus the missionaries brought the wine to Chile, South Africa, California, Argentina and the most famous wine regions.
The spreading of the wine grapes all over the world brought also the spreading of a disease called Phillossera in the 19th century, which destroyed almost all the vineyards in Europe. The solution was to innest American roots with European plants, in fact American roots are immune to fillossera. The consequences of the phillossera are basically two: we don’t drink the same wine as they did 200 years ago and the vine plants don’t last so long as they did in the past.
Nowadays in Italy there are about 800 indigenous grapes, that makes the country with the most varieties. About 300 grape varieties are so important that they have their own DOC classification . Italians drink in average 60 liters wine per person per year.
Do you know in which country most wine per person is consumed?
The Vatican State
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