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When and Where did Humans Start Cultivating Wine? Hot

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Where and when did wine originate? I doubt that we'll ever learn the precise origins of wine creation, but we can trace some of the earliest developments of wine culture — i.e. special traditions, practices, industry, trade, and art surrounding wine that are not associated with other food and drink. It is in fact very significant that cultural practices developed around wine but not around other drinks like milk, juice, or even to the same extent around other alcoholic drinks like beer.

Vines can potentially be grown through most of the Mediterranean, but their introduction into different regions by Greeks, Phoenicians and Romans can be roughly charted from the eighth century BCE, when Greek wine containers first appear in Italy, to the first two centuries CE, when Spain and Gaul began to export their own wine back to Rome as well as consuming Italian products....

McGovern (2003) claims, on the basis of the latest DNA evidence available, that the cultivated grape appears to have originated in communities in Eastern Turkey before 5000 BC. The present state of evidence and knowledge seems to indicate the diffusion of the plant from there to Mesopotamia and Europe. ...

Many of the rituals of drinking and dining post-date Homer. We have seen that reclining rather than sitting at the table was one such major development. Archaeological evidence indicates much acquaintance with wine in the Minoan and Mycenaean Bronze Age, in the form of drinking cups, amphorae for transport, and chemical residues. These show use both of resinated wines and of wine flavoured with plants such as bay and rue. McGovern (2003) has evidence for resinated wines in the Near East some millennia earlier. Such flavouring is found also in the historical period.

In the Homeric poems, there is no formal symposium as such, as far as can be gleaned. But there are many features of drinking which relate to the later form of the symposium. Heroes in Homer who arrive at the home of a host are normally given food and drink on arrival (in Odyssey 4, for example). There is normally no great differentiation between eating and drinking. Rather, Homer uses the formulaic phrase, ‘when they had put away from them the desire for food and drink . . .’. The eating and drinking are bundled up together. The mealtime is then complete, and it is time to turn to other activities, such as sleep, negotiation, story telling, singing and dancing, accompanied by wine mixed in a bowl or crater.

Source: Food in the Ancient World, by John M. Wilkins and Shaun Hill

Just to cite a few points of comparison, researchers believe that it was around 8000 BCE that agriculture began in Near East as people started using "digging sticks" to plant the seeds of wild grasses which would eventually become the domesticated wheat we know today. Pigs were domesticated in modern Iraq around 6750 BCE and the wheel was invented by Sumerians who lived in the Tigris-Euphrates river basin by 6300 BCE.

All of this was going on in primitive human settlements, though, and it wasn't until around 5000 BCE — in other words, not long after origin of wine production — that the earliest known cities were founded as increasing numbers of people began to gather in ever larger villages scattered around the Fertile Crescent. It would be going too far to even suggest that wine production had anything to do with the development of early cities.

However, people wouldn't have gathered into larger settlements without some feelings of cultural unity and that, in turn, was likely helped along by the development of a common wine culture. So, indirectly at least, the cultivation of both grapes for wine and of a culture around wine may have made the creation of larger urban areas at least a little bit easier.

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