Where Did Wine Come From? Exploring Its Roots

We all enjoy a drink from time to time right? One of the most popular choices when it comes to an alcoholic beverage is wine. 

Where Did Wine Come From? Exploring Its Roots

Wine has a unique taste and texture, and many wines are different from each other. However, wine is not just an amazing drink with lots of complex features – but it’s also a drink rich with history. 

This amazing drink though did not originate from Italy or France as some people may believe. Wine actually came from West Asia – if the modern evidence is to be believed. 

But what exactly happened and what do we know about the roots of wine? This guide explores the roots of wine. Where it came from and how we got here. 

So, if you’re looking to know more about this historically important drink, read on for more. 

Wine’s True Origin 

If you ask most people where they think wine came from, they would likely answer Italy or France.

This makes perfect sense when you consider that these two countries are massively famous for their wines and have lots of history with it. 

Indeed, both nations export millions of wines around the world and have some of the most unique and highly rated vineyards in the world. 

But wine did not originate from these European countries if we take into account more recent evidence. The evidence suggests that wine came from West Asia. 

The origins of wine seemingly come from the areas of the mountainous regions which incorporate the modern day countries of Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Eastern Turkey and Northern Iran. 

The evidence of production of ancient wine goes as far back as 6000 BC and there’s signs that this came from an ancient winery site in Armenia, spanning to some other evidence of wine production in Turkey and Georgia. 

Whilst the exact origin or wine is still unclear, researchers are quite convinced that wine originated from the Shulaveri-Shomu people during the neolithic period, who not only participated in basic farming, but also growing grapes. 

Compounds for an organic substance that we know as wine were found in ancient Georgian pottery and this method of pottery is still found in the modern day country. 

Armenia And Ancient Wine 

As far as researchers can tell, the oldest known winery in existence dates back for around 4100 BC and can be found just outside of a set of caves in an Armenian village known as Areni. 

Amazingly, this small village is still producing wine to this day using their local grapes which share the same name as the village.

The Influence Of Wine 

Seemingly, the influence of wine from these areas of Asia travelled vastly, especially among large civilizations that mastered sea travel.

The ancient Greeks and Phoenicians likely were the reason that wine production and consumption spread throughout Europe. 

As grapes likely were not used to the new European climates, researchers believe that the grapes mutated and became used to the new temperatures and weathers. 

Where Did Wine Come From? Exploring Its Roots

It also explains why grapes fare much better in the climate of southern France and southern Italy, along with Spain, South Africa and hot states of the United States. 

In terms of wine production in the modern era though, throughout thousands of years of migration and evolution, the grapes were susceptible to pests and early demise due to disease. 

Nowadays, grapes fare much better off with a diverse group of grapes around them.

Unfortunately though, specific grape varieties are in demand all around the world, which leads to a shortage of grape diversity.

Prior to this, when grapes were solitary, it is likely they developed natural protection against the elements and other agricultural pests.

Origin Of Wine Cultivation 

We’ve seen where wine likely originated from, but what about the cultivation process itself?

Well, according to the evidence, researchers state that there is a region in Turkey that shows signs of ancient grape cultivation through cut vines.

Looking at the area where there is clear evidence of cultivated vines and vines that grew wild, the evidence would suggest that this was one of the earliest signs of allocated vineyard cultivation.

Therefore, this is likely the area of the origins of winemaking. 

The China Controversy 

Researchers are still debating the evidence that arose which suggests that even earlier wine evidence was discovered in China. Seemingly, the evidence points to a Chinese neolithic area of Jiahu. 

Within a jar, there were remnants of a drink made from honey, rice and fruit. However, whilst researchers were able to determine the date back to the Zhou Dynasty, around 1046–221 BC, there was a problem. 

Experts could not specifically determine the species of grape – which causes significant problems if you’re trying to state that China is the origin of wine. 

This is because this civilization was very sophisticated and could easily have transported the drink from another country or area. 

Additionally, it could not be conclusively stated that this beverage was a grape wine. Resultedly, it is impossible to say that China is where wine originated from.

However, research persists and the debate will continue until further research and evidence is found.

The Roman Influence In Europe And Beyond

By the Roman period, wine was around Europe and enjoyed by many – but the Romans made it into a very valued commodity. 

As the Roman Empire expanded, the sales and production of wine grew, spreading to areas like Great Britain, Scandinavia and Africa.

Centuries later, the Europeans travelled around the world – and onto the New World of the now modern day United States. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, wine came along with them – including the knowledge of wine cultivation and production. 

The Bottom Line 

Whilst it is not conclusively proven, wine likely originated in China – but grape wine production likely originated in West Asia, like the modern day countries of Armenia and Georgia. 

Hi, my name is Christina Day, and I am a self-proclaimed wine connoisseur. It is my favorite alcoholic drink, and I enjoy nothing better than kicking back on the sofa after a long week of work to enjoy a glass of wine… or two!

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