The fruit ferments spontaneously. The wine
Therefore, wine occurs naturally whenever airborne yeasts come into contact with fruit juice. The elaboration of wine is nothing but supervision and refinement of this process, and it can be assumed that it has occurred where human beings have lived in the vicinity of vines or wild vines.
A variety of vineyard, Vitis vinifera, It produces almost all the wine that is drunk in the world today, and it is believed that it originated in Transcaucasia (today Georgia and Armenia). The oldest evidence of the cultivation of Vitis vinifera It dates back to the fourth millennium BC, in ancient Mesopotamia (today Egypt and Syria), and an amphora with a wine stain found in Iran has been dated to 3500 BC. Winemaking came to Europe through Egypt, Greece and Spain. .
Wine was of great importance to the Greek and Roman civilizations.
The Greeks introduced vines and produced wine in their southern colonies. Italy, and the Romans later practiced viticulture (the science of growing vines to produce wine) throughout their empire. The beginning of viticulture in France is a controversial topic; the evidence that exists suggests that the Greek colonizers of Massalia (Marseille) were the ones who introduced wine into the country, although there are those who believe that Celtic viticulture (for which there is no record or evidence, apart from wild grape nuggets) was prior to Greek.
During the Roman period, Gaul (France) became such an abundant source of wine that laws were passed to protect Italian production.
After the fall of the Roman Empire and with the domination of the formerly Roman territories by the Germanic tribes, the production of wine decreased. It became, in some cases, an exclusively monastic activity, since, whatever the circumstances, wine was always necessary for the Christian sacraments.
Between the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries, however, wine production became widespread again; It was the main export of France during a good part of this period. During the XNUMXth century the bottle was developed, and the use of cork (forgotten since Roman times) revived; this made possible the storage of the wine.
Many of what are today the best vineyards in Bordeaux began to be developed by their aristocratic owners in the late XNUMXth and early XNUMXth centuries; the sparkling champagne was then produced for the first time; the British simultaneously developed vineyards in the Douro Valley in Portugal.
In the XNUMXth century the Modern Commercialization of Spanish wine: together with the success of the fine Andalusian wine, there was the expansion of high-grade Catalan wines.
Wine production had also started outside Europe: Chilean viticulture dates back to the 1863th century, South African to XNUMXth century, American viticulture to the XNUMXth and Australian viticulture to the XNUMXth. From XNUMX onwards, European viticulture was devastated by phylloxera (originally known as Phylloxera vastatrix, and today like Dactylasphaera vitifoliae), which kills the vines by attacking their roots. The plague had its origin in America, and it was in America where the solution finally emerged: grafting on native American roots, resistant to phylloxera, of European varieties of Vitis vinifera (from 1880 onwards).
During the first half of the XNUMXth century, viticulture and production of wine were affected by political conflicts and wars, and suffered the scourge of adulteration, fraud and overproduction. The French system of appellation contrôlée, Established in the 1930s, it was an effective and much-imitated response to this type of abuse and hardship, although overproduction remains a major problem in the European Union as a whole.
The second half of the XNUMXth century is notable for technical advances, both in the field of viticulture and in winemaking, as well as the increasing globalization of wine production. At no other time in history has so much attractive wine been produced quality.
Research and preparation by Martín A. Cagliani