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Wine History Timeline

Chardonnay Grapes at Harvest

Today wine is exported all around the world, and there are more wine lovers spread across the planet than ever before. And with this increase of wine exportation and wine lovers, wine tourism has risen to become a significant part of many local economies. Here is a look how wine tourism has changed and grown throughout the years.

4100 BC
4100 BC

THE OLDEST WINERY IS FOUNDED IN ANCIENT ARMENIA

The oldest known winery was established in Ancient Armenia. UCLA researchers discovered the site in 2007. A team of Armenian and Irish archaeologists uncovered the Areni-1 winery in the Areni-1 cave complex in the village of Areni in the Armenian province of Vayots Dzor. The Gfoeller Foundation (USA) and University College Cork supported the excavations, …

The Oldest Winery Is Founded In Ancient ArmeniaRead More »

3100 B.C
3100 B.C

THE EGYPTIAN PHARAOHS ROSE TO POWER

Egypt’s pharaohs are now ruling the new civilization. Red wine is very important to the pharaohs and is used in rituals because of its resemblance to blood. The wine was grown and produced by the Phoenicians, who had also begun to export their wine around this time.  

1700 B.C
1700 B.C

IN NORTHERN ISRAEL, WINE WAS CONSUMED AT LEAST 3,700 YEARS AGO

American and Israeli archaeologists have discovered a wine cellar in Northern Israel containing jars from 1,700 B.C. According to CBS News, a group of American and Israeli archaeologists found the wine cellar of Tel Kabri Palace, an ancient monument in November 2013. This is perhaps the oldest wine cellar of this kind to have been …

In Northern Israel, Wine Was Consumed at Least 3,700 Years AgoRead More »

1200 B.C. — 539 B.C
1200 B.C. — 539 B.C
Rapid Eye | Getty Images

THE PHOENICIANS START TRANS-MEDITERRANEAN TRADE

The Phoenicians start trading across the Mediterranean, including the Middle East (modern-day Israel). They brought grapevines and wine, both of which were delivered in pottery jugs, during their trading. They were some of the first people to spread wine and grapes to Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal. They also introduced wine to the Jewish people, who began integrating it into their traditions and rituals.

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1200 B.C. — 539 B.C
1200 B.C. — 539 B.C

GREECE’S RISE AND THE HELLENISTIC CONQUEST

The Greeks begin producing their own wine after the Phoenicians introduce wine and grapes to them. Wine becomes a representation of commerce, religion, and wellness. As the Greek city-states gain strength, they begin occupying neighboring lands in the Mediterranean and transport wine along with their soldiers. Greek colonists would move into a newly conquered territory and plant grapevines and establish a wine industry. Some of the oldest colonies were established in Sicily and Southern Italy.

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146 B.C.
146 B.C.

ROME CONQUERS GREECE AND ESTABLISHES ITS EMPIRE.

Just as the Greeks had taken wine from the Phoenicians, the Romans adopt wine from the Greeks. The Romans establish their own god of wine in the form of Bacchus, and make wine an integral part of their society. They enhance and formalize Greek farming practices to the point where terroir is acknowledged and renowned vintages (121 BC being the most well-known) are savored for decades. Romans cultivate grapevines in modern-day France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, as well as a number of Central European nations as the Empire and its forces spread over Europe.

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43 AD
43 AD

FIRST VINES IN BORDEAUX

As the Roman Empire spread, grapevines and wine were spread throughout Europe. In 43 AD Romans brought the first grapevines to Bordeaux. However, it wasn’t until 71 AD that Pliny the Elder recorded the first vines growing in Bordeaux. The region’s location along the Gironde Estuary would later provide a convenient commerce route to the British Isles.

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380 A.D.
380 A.D.

CHRISTIANITY IS ACCEPTED BY THE ROMAN EMPIRE

Wine becomes a significant component of the sacrament as the Catholic Church and Christianity are adopted by the Roman Empire. The Catholic Church places a strong emphasis on wine production and cultivation because of the significance of wine to Catholicism and Mass. Winemaking technique is improved, and monks start working as vintners in Italy and France. Wine increases in popularity as the Catholic Church expands across Europe.

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1453
1453
Rapid Eye | Getty Images

THE RESTORATION OF FRENCH RULE IN GASCONY IMPROVED THE BORDEAUX-ENGLISH WINE INDUSTRY

The Bordeaux-English wine trade was at its height of success in the 14th century, but the Hundred Years’ War put an end to it when Gascony reverted to French control in 1453. Following the eviction of the English, Dutch wine traders expanded their influence in Bordeaux. The Dutch were enthusiastic traders who bought wine from all over Europe, especially the Mediterranean countries, for trade with Hanseatic republics. They were eager to capitalize on the promise of the French wine industry. Throughout the majority of the 16th and 17th centuries, the Dutch traders would have a substantial influence on the prosperity …

The Restoration of French Rule in Gascony Improved The Bordeaux-English Wine IndustryRead More »

1492
1492

WINE WAS INTRODUCED TO THE NEW WORLD

Today the term “New World” refers to wines made in nations such as Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States, which have not been producing wine for nearly as long as Europe. The conquistadors were the first to bring wine to the New World, starting with Mexico and South America.

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1531
1531

THE PROCESS OF TURNING STILL WINE INTO SPARKLING WINE WAS DISCOVERED

In 1531, a monk in the Languedoc city of Limoux learned how to turn still wine into sparkling wine. The Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon made a number of important contributions to the advancement of French wine even though it is incorrect that he “invented” Champagne.

1531
1531

PORTUGUESE JESUITS ARRIVED IN JAPAN

In the 1540s, Francis Xavier and the Jesuits brought Christian missionaries to the region. During this brief period, approximately 100,000 people converted to Christianity, including numerous daimys in Kyushu. Six years later, Saint Francis Xavier brought wine as a gift for the feudal lords. They also brought imported European wine to the populace at the same time. Christianity was outlawed when Toyotomi Hideyoshi restored Japan’s unity in 1587. Around 300 years later, during the Meiji restoration, when the country embraced Western culture, grapevines were eventually planted.

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1554
1554

SPANISH MISSIONARIES STARTED SPREADING ACROSS THE AMERICAS

After Columbus’ first expedition, Spain began sending conquistadors to the Americas. These conquistadors began spreading Spanish culture and religion throughout the New World. As Spain began spreading throughout the Americas, grapevines were planted and wine was also spread. Spanish missionaries were responsible for most of the grape planting and winemaking.

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1600-1650
1600-1650
Savoring the Art of Time: Wine Oak Aging Unlocks Nature's Richness

TRADE IN WINE AND BRANDY INCREASED BETWEEN FRANCE AND THE NETHERLANDS.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Dutch (particularly those from Holland and Zeeland) had a considerable influence on the development of French wine. They were able to rule Northern Europe thanks to their trading relations with countries like the Baltic and Hanseatic republics and their sizable merchant fleet. As political tensions between the French and the English arose, the Dutch filled the gap and continued to serve as a conduit for the Bordeaux and La Rochelle wines into England. The town of Middelburg gained a reputation as a crossroads for the distribution of French wine in Europe. Read More: …

Trade in wine and brandy increased between France and the Netherlands.Read More »

1562 — 1564
1562 — 1564
Closeup of unrecognizable adult woman holding a glass of red wine and smelling it before tasting. She's standing outdoors on summer afternoon. Blurry gras and red flowers in background. Toned image.

WINE WAS BRIEFLY INTRODUCED TO THE U.S. IN FLORIDA

Wine was produced for the first time by French Huguenots in Jacksonville, FL. The Huguenots did not bring European grapes with them, but instead used native grapes they discovered growing in the area. The wine made was not pleasant to the Huguenots, and they ceased wine production shortly after they began.

 

1652
1652
Freshly Cut Grapes after being Harvested at sunrise in crates between the vineyards Stellenbosch South Africa

THE DUTCH EAST INDIA COMPANY COLONIZED SOUTH AFRICA

The Dutch were the first colonial power to settle in South Africa. The Dutch intensified their activity in colonial areas and created the foundations of a port city in Cape Town on South Africa’s southwest coast by creating The Dutch East India Company in 1652. The Dutch were the first to introduce grapevines and wine to the area.

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May 13, 1787
May 13, 1787

THE FIRST FLEET SET SAIL FROM PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND TO AUSTRALIA

The “First Fleet” of Australia consisted of 11 ships and roughly 1,400 people, who founded the first European settlements in Sydney and Botany Bay. The First Fleet made a stop in South Africa en route to Australia, where the penal colony was to be established. When the flotilla stopped, it collected grape cuttings that would later be planted in Australia.

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1779
1779

VINEYARDS WERE PLANTED BY A TEAM OF MISSIONARIES UNDER THE DIRECTION OF FATHER JUNIPERO SERRA

Father Junipero Serra led a group of missionaries in the planting of vineyards in modern day California for the nine missions he founded. The wine produced by the missions was for religious purposes, and wine wasn’t grown commercially until many years later, under the administration of Abraham Lincoln.

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1814
1814
Winter Warmth in a Bottle: Savoring Fine Wine on Frosty Days

AT THE VIENNA CONGRESS, THE EUROPEAN POWERS WERE UNITED BY THEIR LOVE OF CHAMPAGNE.

As they watched Napoleon’s authority decline in 1814, Britain, Prussia, Russia, and Austria—the four major European powers that opposed the French Empire in the Napoleonic Wars—began making plans for the Postwar Age. The Treaty of Chaumont of March 1814 restated decisions that would be upheld by the more momentous Congress of Vienna of 1814–1815. The Congress of Vienna marked the start of the Concert of Europe, a chain of international conferences aimed at establishing a peaceful balance of power in Europe.

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1832
1832

JAMES BUSBY WAS APPOINTED AS THE OFFICIAL BRITISH RESIDENT TO NEW ZEALAND

James Busby was chosen in 1832 to serve as the official British Resident in New Zealand, a position comparable to a consular official. James Busby was one of the first to plant European grapevines in both Australia and New Zealand and is considered the father of Australian winemaking.

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1848 — 1855
1848 — 1855

THE CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH TOOK PLACE

James W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California, on January 24, 1848, sparking the start of the California Gold Rush. About 300,000 people from other parts of the United States and abroad flocked to California after hearing about the discovery of gold. The unexpected growth in population permitted California to become a state in the Compromise of 1850, and the sudden influx of gold into the money supply revived the American economy. Traveling west in search of greater opportunities, Americans brought with them a thirst for wealth and a love of wine. In addition to boosting the …

The California Gold Rush took placeRead More »

1863 — 1962
1863 — 1962

DURING THE GREAT FRENCH WINE BLIGHT, THE WINE THAT FRENCH COLONISTS PLANTED IN ALGERIA FLOURISHED

During their time, the Phoenicians grew grapes here, but Islamic domination finally wiped them out. In 1830, when France seized control of Algeria, they began replanting vineyards. When phylloxera ravaged the French wine industry in the 1860s–70s, wine output skyrocketed. The bulk of the wine was exported during the height of production in the 1930s, especially to French winemakers in the Languedoc for blending. Production suffered a protracted drop when the French handed over control in 1962.

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1863
1863

THE FIRST CASE OF PHYLLOXERA WAS RECORDED IN FRANCE

For several centuries, Europeans had been experimenting with American vines and plants in their soil. Numerous cultivars were imported from America without any limits and neglecting the possibility of pest transfer and related problems. The importation of American vines and plants into Europe greatly increased between around 1858 and 1862, allegedly accidently introducing Phylloxera to Europe around 1860, according to French biologist Jules-Emile Planchon, who made the Phylloxera discovery in the 1860s. According to others, the aphid didn’t reach France until sometime before 1863. Phylloxera would go on to decimate not only France’s vineyards, but much of Europe’s. 

The first case of Phylloxera was recorded in FranceRead More »

17 January 1920 – 5 December 1933
17 January 1920 – 5 December 1933

PROHIBITION TOOK PLACE IN THE USA

A nationwide constitutional law outlawed the manufacturing, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic drinks in the United States from 1920 to 1933. After being restricted by a number of state legislatures, the alcohol industry was finally outlawed statewide on January 16, 1919, when the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was enacted. The Twenty-first Amendment, which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment on December 5, 1933, brought an end to Prohibition.

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1969
1969

THE ‘UNION DE LA SOMMELLERIE FRANÇAISE’ (UDSF, FRENCH SOMMELIER ASSOCIATION) WAS ESTABLISHED

Sommeliers from 21 regional organizations are united by the Union de la Sommellerie Française, which was established in 1969 (1400 members in 2020). Through the sommelier’s expertise, it seeks to highlight French food. For these reasons, the Union de la Sommellerie Française encourages education, makes it simpler to become a sommelier, and strengthens relationships between sommeliers and other trades working in the restaurant industry. And last but not least, it promotes sommeliers by hosting prominent official competitions, such as the Best Sommelier of France contest, the Best Young Sommelier of France contest, and the “Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France,” …

The ‘Union De La Sommellerie Française’ (UDSF, French Sommelier Association) Was EstablishedRead More »

May 24th, 1976
May 24th, 1976

THE FAMOUS “JUDGMENT OF PARIS” TASTING

To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the United States, Englishman Steven Spurrier, owner of a wine shop and school in Paris, planned a tasting of six of the best Chardonnays and Cabernets from California. In order to use them as benchmarks against which to compare the Californians, he also added four Bordeaux and four white Burgundies. To everyone’s amazement, the judges, who were among the top tasters in France, preferred a California wine over French wine for both the red and white wines.

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