[Cover photo: Santo Winery in Santorini, Greece]
WINE, VINO, VIN, WEIN, MADIRA
Whatever you call it, it’s been around for centuries, starting in China circa 7000 BC and quickly spreading westward. It played an important role in Mesopotamia, Israel and Egypt and was an essential part of Phoenician, Greek and Roman civilizations.
The Greeks and Romans worshipped Dionysus, aka Bacchus, God of “Wine, Merry Making, Theatre and Ecstasy”
While touring the museum at Ancient Olympia, our guide told us a wine-related story:
The ancient Greeks were smart and mixed their wine with water, in order to enjoy it without getting drunk. A famous battle in Greek Mythology was fought between the Lapiths (a Greek tribe) and the Centaurs (half man, half horse). The Centaurs, all extremely drunk, were summarily defeated and banished by the sober Lapiths.
The western pediment from the Temple of Apollo at Olympia depicts that battle:
Historically, wine has been an important part of certain religious rituals, particularly in Christianity, (especially Catholicism), and Judaism. Many monasteries make their own wine.
In modern times, wine is made just about everywhere. My favourites are dry wines from Italy, France and Spain, but was pleasantly surprised by the wines we encountered in Germany last fall. German wine, once notoriously sweet, has changed for the better. Some wines from California, U.S.A. and British Columbia, Canada are also very good. They even make wine right here in Ontario that many people enjoy, but I have to be honest – they don’t appeal to me. Ontario is famous for making Ice Wine, which is very expensive and considered a delicacy. It dates back to Roman times, but the Germans re-invented it in the 18th century. Again, too sweet for me, but not bad if you cut it with brandy.
Do you enjoy wine? What’s your favourite?
Looking forward to your comments!