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Religious Figures and Wine

Robert Mondavi winery

Religious Figures And Wine

Did you know that both religious figures and wine played an important role in the establishment of early civilizations? Find out about the history behind these two things that are so closely connected on this list of interesting facts about religious figures and wine!

Different Religions And Their Approach To Alcohol

While alcohol consumption is widely accepted in many western cultures, it’s frowned upon by certain religions. On one hand, many Christian leaders—including Catholic Pope Francis—emphasize moderation, keeping in mind that alcohol is a drug and has the potential to be abused. Islam bans all intoxicating substances entirely, which means followers of Islam are not allowed to drink at all. In India, where Hinduism is practiced by almost 80% of its citizens, it’s customary for members of the clergy to consume wine during religious ceremonies or rituals such as weddings.

The Connection Between Religious Figures And Wine

Throughout history, some religious figures have viewed wine in a positive light. Take Martin Luther for example, who reportedly drank around six liters of wine a day. Some historians speculate that since much of Northern Europe was largely devoid of grapevines until well into Roman times, Luther’s excessive drinking was simply an act to combat wine-deficiency disorder. Others believe his love for wine comes from religious beliefs – namely, he believed it to be one of God’s gifts to man.

Did You Know: Throughout history many ancient civilizations viewed alcohol as sacred and a gift from their god or gods.

Throughout ancient times people believed that wine was a gift from god. Christianity simply supplanted the old lords of wine, brew, grapes, and grain, with new nonentities. Even, you might be surprised to know that there are many ancient cultures that used to show respect to those figures who are associated with the drink.

The Ancient Greeks specifically connecting their deities to wine. They used wine as an offering to their gods and the gods were said to enjoy drinking. There are even stories where detailing accounts of divine beings teaching men the secret recipes of fermentation.

Here are a few religious figures who are inextricably associated with wine.

Green Man

Not actually a divine being, but rather positively otherworldly, the Green Man is an enigmatic, typical and frightening figure in Europe, in spite of the fact that there is a hypothesis that his fantasy started in the Far East.

He is generally portrayed as only a head surrounded by leaves. Berries and grapes frequently dangle from his facial hair. He is an image of re-birth, recharging, and the approaching spring. As such he is frequently considered an indication of best of luck.

Mbaba Mwana Waresa

This goddess is a symbol of fertility, beer, agriculture, and rain. She is broadly venerated in the Southern part of Africa. As per the story, she took a human spouse when she was unable to track down a reasonable man among the divine beings.


Yi-ti is a Chinese God who was credited with making rice wine for the first time. Tragically, there is close to nothing to be found on Yi-ti, besides an ambiguous anecdote regarding how he made his invention for an incredible emperor.

During the Bronze Age, people used to trade Chinese drinks. In 1995, during archeological dig by a Sino-American group, proof of wine and beer production was discovered. It clearly showed that people 4,600 years ago knew how to produce wine and beer.

In addition to this, we must say that wine was produced using rice and grapes. However, wine made using grapes is remembered to have dropped out of prominence for some time, and drinks made using millet, sorghum and lychees were more common.


Sucellus was particularly worshipped in Gaul and Lusitania. He was a god of beer, agriculture, and the forest. He is generally shown carrying a large beer barrel joined to a libation cup or pole. Talking about the etymological definition, the meaning of his name is ‘good striker’. The suffix ‘su’ means ‘to strike’. He occasionally is depicted with his better half, Nantosuelta, and together they represent conjugal delight.


Tezcatzontecatl is the god of pulque which is a kind of fermented sap made using the maguey plant. This drink was viewed as a sacred beverage by the Mesoamericans.

The drink gained in popularity after the arrival of Christianity and the Spanish. The beverage was generally consumed at the celebrations of Mayahuel, who is considered the goddess of Maguey Plant, and Mixcoatl who is considered the lord of the hunt. The pulque would be downed by the priest to help his association with the divinities.


This Sumerian goddess was the brewer of the divine beings. At that time, beer was offered in various events and religious offerings.

Also read: The fall of the American Wine Industry and Rise of Illegal Winemaking

Religion and Our Relationship With Alcohol Today

Today more than ever before there are many people who are choosing not to drink at all, but we also have seen a rise in alternatives like non-alcoholic wines. While wine and religion are not as closely intertwined as they have been in the past, there are still many religions today that use wine as part of their rituals and celebrations.

Want to read more? Try these books!

Winemakers of the Willamette Valley-- Pioneering Vintners from Oregon's Wine Country (American Palate) Champagne- How the World's Most Glamorous Wine Triumphed Over War and Hard Times

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