Wine: From Neolithic Times to the 21st Century

Wine: From Neolithic Times to the 21st Century

Wine: From Neolithic Times to the 21st Century

Wine: From Neolithic Times to the 21st Century

Synopsis

The story of wine is the story of religion, medicine, science, war, discovery and dream. This compact, engaging, easy-to-read and well-illustrated text covers the essential historical background and the key developments in the history of wine through the ages, with lists of top vintages.

Excerpt

Wine is one of the foundations of Western civilization. The story of wine is that of religion, medicine, science, war, discovery, and dream. It is foolish to believe that this story can be told in a few pages, or even in several thousands. After all, entire books have been written on short periods of history, specific wine regions, or even single vineyards. Yet I was tempted to try and, once again, found the strength to yield to temptation.

My goal is to give an overview of the history of wine through the ages: from its humble beginnings in Neolithic times through Antiquity and the Middle Ages; then its expansion from Europe to the rest of the world, the major scientific and technical discoveries, the man- and nature-made catastrophes around the turn of the 19 century, and the slow emergence of modern wines after World War II. Of course, many things happened in the past 7,000 years, and this book must remain short, informative, and easy to read. One big challenge is to pick what to include and what to leave out. Forgive me for skipping a few centuries here and there. Another challenge is to select the level of detail. There are longer and more complete books on the subject, in particular Hugh Johnson’s Vintage and Rod Phillips’ A Short History of Wine . Relatively recent archeological finds have shed considerable light on the origin and early history of wine. Patrick McGovern’s Ancient Wine is fascinating for those curious about early wines and winemaking. He also co-edited a book discussing numerous technical issues. I have incorporated information from these and many other sources in my book.

1. H. Johnson, Vintage (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1989).

2. R. Phillips, A Short History of Wine (Harper Collins, New York, 2000).

3. P.E. McGovern, Ancient Wine (Princeton University Press, Princeton 2003).

4. The Origins and Ancient History of Wine, ed. P.E. McGovern, S.J. Fleming, S.H. Katz, (Gordon & Breach, Amsterdam, 2000).

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