Wine- Whether you enjoy it socially as a pastime or it’s something you would like to learn more about, you’re a part of a rich heritage. While local winemaking has experienced a recent surge in popularity, production and enjoyment are ancient traditions.
Wine: The early years
Humanity has enjoyed wine since at least 8000 BC. Thanks to archaeological findings, historians have discovered evidence of grape domestication in ancient Egypt.
Following 8000 BC, Chinese wine production emerged around 7000-6600 BC. Archaeologists discovered pottery from this time that likely contained fermented beverages that included rice, honey, and fruit — possibly grapes.
From there, its likely wineries sprung up. Armenia is home to the world’s oldest known winery, found in a cave dating back 6,100 years. Admittedly, it looked much different than the wineries we know and enjoy today, but can you imagine what a trip to a winery would have looked like in those times?
Wine production in Europe continued and grew through the 1870s, when a significant outbreak of phylloxera occurred and wiped out most of the grapevines in Europe, wreaking destruction and putting the production process on hold. It turns out beetles were the cause of the devastating outbreak.
Makes its way to America
Ultimately, it made its way to the United States, in a format like what we enjoy today. While the continent already had native grape vines, most of what we drink in modern times has progressed from grapes brought here by Spanish conquistadors. Combined with native grapes, we have the full spectrum of vino that is known and loved today.
However, its production halted during the days of prohibition. So, most modern wines in America have been cultivated in the last 90 years or so. Sixty percent of purchases in the United States come from California, 30% from other countries, and 9% from other states. Wine production continues to rise every year, with more and more novice winemakers emerging. Just looking at the U.S., there are over 8,700 wineries.
Of course, today, people across the world enjoy wine. Here in America, the average adult consumed 2.95 gallons of wine in 2018[i].
[i] The Wine Institute, https://www.wineinstitute.org/resources/statistics/article86