The Origins and Ancient History of Wine

By Patrick E. McGovern; Stuart J. Fleming et al. | Go to book overview

Foreword

Patrick E. McGovern

Since the publication of this book four years ago, several major advances have been made in our understanding of the origins of winemaking and viticulture.

It is now known that resinated wine was being produced on a fairly large scale in the Neolithic period (ca. 5400-5000 B.C.) at the site of Hajji Firuz Tepe in the northern Zagros Mountains of Iran. ( 1)

It had already been proposed at the Mondavi conference that many centuries of experimentation would have been needed to reach the expertise revealed at Godin Tepe, farther south in the Zagros at the end of the 4th millennium B.C. (see chapters 4 and 5). Indeed, if winemaking is best understood as an intentional human activity rather than a seasonal happenstance, then the Neolithic period, from about 8500 to 4000 B.C., is the first time in human prehistory when the necessary preconditions for this momentous innovation came together. In the numerous villages that first appeared during this time in upland regions of the Near East, where the wild Eurasian grapevine (Vitis vinifera sylvestris) still grows today, other plants (in particular, wheat and barley) provided year-round food reserves and the invention of pottery made available a range of processing, serving and storage vessels.

It is to be expected that some enterprising individuals of the time would have segregated out the hermaphroditic plant, with its greater productivity and other desirable traits, from the dioecious plant, thus beginning the process toward the full domestication of the Eurasian grapevine (Vitis vinifera vinifera). The addition of a tree resin to wine is not as surprising as it sounds, since humans were probably already putting their anti-microbial properties to good use in treating external injuries and disease generally, and it might thus be inferred that tree resins would also protect the wine from turning to vinegar. The many steps along the way to true viniculture and its ultimate origins will probably never be known. However, archaeological, chemical, and DNA research now in progress on wine-related artifacts and grape remains from Neolithic sites in the Caucasus Mountains, predating the Hajji Firuz wine by more than a 1000 years, promises to shed further light on the earliest developments. ( 2) Neolithic settlements in the Taurus Mountains of eastern Turkey, where the origins of three of the eight Near Eastern 'founder crops' (viz., chickpea, better vetch, and einkorn wheat) have been located according to DNA analysis, remain to be investigated.

Another 'discovery' that the Eurasian grapevine can be propagated ('cloned') by transplanting cuttings from one region to another led to the expansion of winemaking and viticulture to other parts of the Near East. In the lowland region of the Jordan Valley, where the wild vine probably never grew, domesticated grapevines had been planted there by at least the Chalcolithic period (ca. 4000-3000 B.C.). These vineyards eventually supported a thriving winemaking industry, extending east and west to the upland regions of Jordan and Palestine, that produced wine for export. One of the earliest rulers of Egypt, Scorpion I of Dynasty 0, was buried with some 700 jars of resinated wine in a tomb at Abydos, hundreds of miles up the Nile River, around 3150 B.C. ( 3) These jars, containing as much as 4500 liters of wine for the king's afterlife, were made in the same regions of the Levant where the wine was produced, and had been laboriously

-ix-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Origins and Ancient History of Wine
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 409

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.