One path of wine history could follow the developments and science of grape growing and wine production; another might separately trace the spread of wine commerce through civilization, but there would be many crossovers and detours between them. However the time line is followed, clearly wine and history have greatly influenced one another.
Fossil vines, million-years-old, are the earliest scientific evidence of grapes. The earliest written account of viniculture is in the Old Testament of the Bible which tells us that Noah planted a vineyard and made wine. As cultivated fermentable crops, honey and grain are older than grapes, although neither mead nor beer has had anywhere near the social impact of wine over recorded time. This Princess, having lost favor with the King, attempted to poison herself by eating some table grapes that had "spoiled" in a jar.
She became intoxicated and giddy and fell asleep. When she awoke, she found the stresses that had made her life intolerable had dispersed. Returning to the source of her relief, her subsequent conduct changed so remarkably that she regained the King's favor. He shared his daughter's discovery with his court and decreed an increase in the production of "spoiled" grapes The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology has a web site covering the Origins and Ancient History of Wine with several very interesting and user-friendly articles about the discovery and science of wine's social origin and development.
Certainly wine, as a natural phase of grape spoilage, was "discovered" by accident, unlike beer and bread, which are human inventions. It is established that wine drinking had started by about BC and possibly as early as BC. The first efforts at grape cultivation can be traced to the area that forms the "Fertile Crescent", around the Caspian Sea and in Mesopotamia, including portions of present-day Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkey.
Excavations from tombs in ancient Egypt prove that wine was in use there by BC.
Priests and royalty enjoyed wine, while beer was drunk by the workers. The Egyptians recognized differences in wine quality and developed the first arbors and pruning methods. Archeologists have uncovered many sites with sunken jars, so the effects of temperature on stored wine were probably known.
Homer's Odyssey and Iliad both contain excellent and detailed descriptions of wine. Wine was an important article of Greek commerce and Greek doctors, including Hippocrates, were among the first to prescribe it.
The Greeks also learned to add herbs and spices to mask spoilage. The foundation and strength of viniculture in Western Europe are primarily due, however, to the influence of the Romans. Starting about BC, the Romans made major contributions in classifying grape varieties and colors, observing and charting ripening characteristics, identifying diseases and recognizing soil-type preferences.
They became skilled at pruning and increasing yields through irrigation and fertilization techniques. The bottle dates from approximately A. The greenish-yellow glass amphora has handles formed in the shape of dolphins.
One of several bottles discovered, it is the only one with the contents still preserved. The ancient liquid has much silty sediment.
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About two-thirds of the contents are a thicker, hazy mixture. This is most probably olive oil, which the Romans commonly used to "float" atop wine to preserve it from oxidation. Cork closures, although known to exist at the time, were quite uncommon.
Their oil method of preservation was apparently effective enough to keep the wine from evaporation up to modern day. The bottle is on permanent display, along with other wine antiquities, at the Historisches Museum der Pfalz History Museum of the Pfalzworth a visit if traveling near the area of Speyer, Germany. The Romans also adapted wooden cooperage, an invention they acquired with the spoils of conquering Germanic tribes, to wine storage and transportation.
This was a great advance for operations previously accomplished in skins or clay jars amphora.
They may also have been the first to use glass bottles, as glassblowing became more common during this era. Beginning about BC, Roman exploits were as significant as Roman experiments as the armies of Rome planted wine vines in the wake of their conquests, all over the land mass now known as Europe. It wasn't long before these regions began developing their own vineyards and the Roman Emperor forbid the import of French wines to eliminate competition with the local wines. Over the next few centuries, France would become dominant on the world wine market.
Monastic wineries were responsible for establishing vineyards in Burgundy, Champagne and the Rhine Valley. Sacramental usage preserved wine industry methods and traditions through the dark ages. The end of the Hundred Years War in left the city of Calais as the only French territory still under British control and trade between England and France nearly cut off.
Political conflicts between England and France ultimately benefitted competition in the export wine market.
From untiltariffs restricted French wine imports and encouraged those from Portugal, so the English "discovered" and developed a great love of Port. Exploration, conquest and settlement brought wine to Mexico, Argentina and South Africa in the s and s. Although there were many attempts during this period to plant European wine vines along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of North America and in the Mississippi River basin valleys, none were successful.
Each vineyard planted would die off within two or three seasons. No one apparently sought to determine why, even though little difficulty was encountered in Mexico or California vineyards. In the late s, one answer to this mystery would ultimately prove fatal for nearly all the vineyards of Europe. The success was such that the King of Spain forbid new plantings or vineyard replacements in Mexico afterfearing his colony would become self-sufficient in wine.
This edict was enforced for years, effectively preventing a commercial wine industry from forming. As in Europe, however, vineyards survived under the auspices of the church and the care of the missions.
Father Serra continued to establish eight more missions and vineyards until his death in and has been called the "Father of California Wine".
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The variety he planted, presumably descended from the original Mexican plantings, became known as the Mission grape and dominated California wine production until about In the s and '60s, the colorful Agoston Harazsthy, a Hungarian soldier, merchant and promoter, made several trips to import cuttings from of the greatest European vineyards to California. Some of this endeavor was at his personal expense and some through grants from the state.
Overall, he introduced about different grape varieties, although some were lost prior to testing, due to difficulties in preserving and handling. Considered the Founder of the California Wine Industry, Harazsthy contributed his enthusiasm and optimism for the future of wine, along with considerable personal effort and risk.
He founded Buena Vista winery and promoted vine planting over much of Northern California. He dug extensive caves for cellaring, promoted hillside planting, fostered the idea of non-irrigated vineyards and suggested Redwood for casks when oak supplies ran low.
French chemist Louis Pasteur, among many discoveries relating to his germ theory of diseases, first proposed and proved, inthat wine is made by microscopic organisms, yeasts.
This led to the discovery and development of different yeast types and properties and ultimately to better hygiene, less spoilage, and greater efficiency in wine production. Chauvet vineyard and winery, circa Joshua Chauvet planted his own vineyard in Agoston Harazsthy had employed him at one time.
Chauvet also started the first brickyard, the first lumber mill.
Hotel Chauvet in tiny Glen Ellen still exists today. Photo courtesy of Fleet Irvine Photomurals InDr Jules Guyot, another Frenchman, published the first of three treatises describing regional traditional vinicultural and viticultural practices as well as his own observations and arguments on the economy of grape growing. Before these documents, viniculture was a practice that had been apprenticed from generation to generation for over years, with very few written records and no formal instruction.
These cuttings carried a species of root louse called phylloxera vastatrix which attacks and feeds on the vine roots and leaves. Phylloxera is indigenous to the Mississippi River Valley and was unknown outside North America at the time. Powdery mildew, a fungal disease, also indigenous to North America, had previously migrated to Europe and caused problems in some areas. No one, however, had any idea of the wide-reaching destructive potential of Phylloxera.
Native American varieties developed resistance to phylloxera by evolving a thick and tough root bark, so that they were relatively immune to damage. The vinifera vines had no such evolutionary protection and phylloxera ate away at their roots, causing them to rot and the plant to die and driving the pests to seek other nearby live hosts, spreading inexorably through entire vineyards and on to others.
Byphylloxera had spread to vines in Provence. Over the next 20 years, it inhabited and decimated nearly all the vineyards of Europe. Many methods were attempted to eradicate phylloxera: Finally Thomas Munson, a horticulturist from Dennison, Texas, realized that native American vines were resistant and suggested grafting the vinifera vines onto riparia hybrid rootstocks. So, there began a long, laborious process of grafting every wine vine in Europe over to American rootstocks.
It was only in this manner that the European wine industry could be retrieved from extinction. Downy mildew, another fungal disease in American grapevines, unfortunately probably migrated to Europe on some of the rootstocks imported for grafting. One tragic consequence of the Phylloxera devastation is that many of the native species indigenous to Europe, since they were of negligible commercial value, were not perpetuated by grafting and became extinct.
There was some debate generated by this replanting that the quality declined in "post-phylloxera" wines. Whether this was indeed the case and whether this was due to the rootstocks themselves or to the relatively sudden and nearly universal youth of the vines, or to changes in vinification techniques, or to some other concurrent factor or variable, is unknown.
History[ edit ] At the time of European encounter, the indigenous inhabitants of the area that became Fredericksburg were a Siouan -speaking tribe called the Manahoac. English colonists recorded the name of the Manahoac village there as Mahaskahod.
The Tidewater areas of the coastal plain had primarily Algonquian -speaking tribes making up the Powhatan Confederacy. Colonial[ edit ] Located on the Rappahannock River near the head of navigation at the fall lineFredericksburg developed as the frontier of colonial Virginia shifted west from the coastal plain into the Piedmont. The land on which the city was founded was part of a tract patented in The Virginia General Assembly established a fort on the Rappahannock injust downriver of the present-day city.
Alexander Spotswood sponsored a German settlement called Germanna on the Rapidan Rivera tributary of the Rappahannock upstream from the future site of the city. Inhe led an exploratory expedition westward over the Blue Ridge Mountains. As interest in the frontier grew, the colonial assembly responded by forming a new county named Spotsylvania after Alexander Spotswood, the governor at the time in and establishing Fredericksburg in as a port for the county, of which it was then a part.
Named for Frederick, Prince of Wales son of King George IIthe colonial town named its streets after the members of the royal family. The county court was moved to Fredericksburg inand the town served as county seat until The court was then moved closer to the county center in Spotsylvania County.
InFredericksburg was incorporated as a townwith its own court, council, and mayor. It received its charter as an independent city inand under Virginia law was separated from Spotsylvania County.
The city has close associations with George Washingtonwhose family in moved to Ferry Farm in Stafford County near the Rappahannock River opposite Fredericksburg. Washington's mother Mary later moved to the city, and his sister Betty lived at Kenmorea plantation house then outside the city.
View from across the Rappahannock River. To the right is the steeple of Fredericksburg Baptist Churchand toward the center is the tower of St. To the left of center are two mill buildings of the manufacturing district.
There were mills for grinding flour, processing and weaving cotton, and other manufacturing. Fredericksburg sought to maintain its sphere of trade, but with limited success. It promoted the development of a canal on the Rappahannock and construction of a turnpike and plank road to bind the interior country to the market town.