From the oldest known primitive winery in Armenia over 6,000 years ago to present day, the history of wine is closely tied to the history and evolution of humankind. From the beginning wine was built into culture largely due to religious sacraments. As people spread across the world, so did wine.
In the time of the Pharaohs in Egypt, wine making became popular and was used during ceremonies. The Egyptians introduced wine to the Phoenicians who took it and ran with it, spreading it around the world as they began trading across the Mediterranean Sea. When wine reached the Greeks, they began to perfect the wine making process and turned it into an important item for trade, religion and good health. They even named their god Dionysus in honor of wine. The Greeks took wine and grapevines on all of their conquests which is how they were first introduced to Sicily and Italy.
Once wine reached Rome, the Romans claimed it as their own and created their own wine god, Bacchus, and wine also became a staple in their culture. The Romans planted grapevines all across Europe—present day France, Germany, Spain, Great Britain and so on. Since most of these civilizations used wine in their religious ceremonies, as religions like Christianity spread across Europe, so did wine.
As European explorers sailed around the world discovering new lands, wine spread further and further. In the 1400’s wine made it to the Americas. As Spain and Portugal set up missionaries throughout the America’s, they planted grapevines and produced wine.
The French were first to bring wine to present day Florida in the mid 1500’s. However, Florida did not provide the best climate for growing grapes suitable for wine. They later settled in Virginia and began cultivating grapes from imported French grapevines and from there they slowly spread up and down the eastern coastline despite the dominating Puritan moral at the time.
Today grapes are grown and wine is produced on every continent except Antarctica. Wine making has become an art form with each country, culture, and geographical region presenting their own styles and using different grapes. It is for this reason that you will hear people talk about the power of wine to take them on trips through time and around the world as each aroma and flavor is unique and special.