Wine's Link With Religion
Wine Gods
The First Vineyard
Wine Regions Of The Ancient Mediterranean

The most significant thing that happened in the early history of wine was that the classical Greeks, and later the Romans, made it an important part of their lives. Because of this, and especially because of the part it played in religions and rituals, wine became a major theme in Western culture, rather than a minor detail. China had wine at the same time as ancient Greece, but made little fuss about it. The cultivated grapevine came and went in the cities of Persia and India without leaving much trace. America never discovered it at all, despite the wild vines that flourish there and the sophisticated cultures that existed before Columbus.

From Greek and Roman ritual one can trace a direct line to Christian practice and belief. The use of wine in the Sacrament has direct links with Jewish ritual, but the strongest similarities are with the Greek worship of Dionysus, god of wine, and his Roman equivalent, Bacchus. It was Dionysus who, in legend, brought the vine to Greece -from Asia Minor, today's Turkey. Dionysus, the son of Zeus, was born twice (the myth is confused, to our ears at least), the second time in a virgin birth to a mortal woman. He was the vine; his blood was wine.

Rome, growing in power as Greece declined, took over Greek gods along with much else. Dionysus was identical to Bacchus - the latter name was used in the Greek cities of Lydia, in Asia Minor. Bacchus evolved from wine god into saviour. His cult became popular among women, slaves and the urban poor -and emperors tried to ban it without much success. Christianity, the growth of which became inextricably linked with the expansion of the Roman Empire, took over many Bacchic symbols and rites, and at first attracted the same groups of people. The meaning of the Eucharist is a more complex subject than can be dealt with here; it is sufficient to note that wine became vital, in a real sense, to Christian observance. A source of wine for the Sacrament was as necessary to a Christian church as a priest, perhaps more so. It was this fact that was to carry wine through the Dark Ages that followed the decline of Rome, when Europe was engulfed in barbarism.

Wine regions of the world.

History of wine
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Wine and Food
Making of Wine
Maturing Wine
Wine Terminology
Creating A Cellar
Facts And Fallacies
Wine Glossary
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