Wine is one of the earliest inventions known to man, and one of the most well-known and universally consumed alcoholic beverages today. It is uncertain exactly when and how humans discovered the euphoric effects of fermented grape juice, although scholars speculate that the history of wine-making started sometime around the sixth or seventh millennium B.C. in the Middle East, an area very much conducive to grape cultivation. The practice spread to the Mediterranean, as well as eastward to Far Eastern cultures.
Wine has always had a universal appeal, reaching across cultures, civilizations, religions and geographical regions, and equally enjoyable for Greeks, Egyptians, Persians, Chinese, Romans, and many other different cultures of antiquity. The Greeks and Romans in Europe loved wine, as evidenced by their worship of Dionysus (or his Roman equivalent, Bacchus), the god of wine and drunken celebration. The connection between the history of wine and the history of religion is most evident in the Christian Eucharist (also known as Holy Communion, or the Lord’s Supper), in which wine is transformed into the Blood of Christ. No wonder, then, that one of the greatest defenders of viticulture (grape cultivation) and innovators in wine-making during the Middle Ages in Europe was the Catholic Church. Wine is also often used in ritual meals in Judaism. However, Islam bans alcoholic drinks of any kind, and Muslims can only use wine for legitimate medicinal purposes.
If you are curious about some of the intricacies of grape cultivation, the history of alcohol in general and the history of wine-making in particular, different grape types, types of wine, the health benefits of various wines, and other aspects of this very rich and exciting field, please feel free to browse through the additional pages linked above.
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