Wine lovers, mark your calendars for National Wine Day — May 25.
Enjoy a glass of your favorite vino or be adventurous and explore a new wine, or a new winery.
Wine has been a favored drink throughout the world for centuries. The earliest evidence of winemaking dates back to around 6000 BC near the boarder of what is now Georgia and Iran. In Europe, the earliest wine production began about 6,500 years ago in northern Greece near Macedonia. In the U.S., wine production began between 1562 and 1564 at a settlement near Jacksonville Florida by the French Huguenot immigrants.
Ancient Greeks and Roman used wine in their religious services calling it the “nectar of the Gods.” Dionysus was the Greek god of wine, revelry and ritual madness. He was worshipped from 1500 – 1100 BC. Dionysus was portrayed as a bearded man holding a staff with a pinecone on the tip. Festivals in honor of him were the driving force that led to the development of the Greek theatre.
Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, reined over the grape harvesting and winemaking. He was honored with frenzied celebrations that occurred after all the harvest work was completed. Bacchus was reviled for his ecstatic dancing. He was portrayed as a bearded man with a staff that was part wand and part weapon, covered in ivy and dripping with honey. It was also believed that Bacchus could communicate with both the living and the dead.
During the Middle Ages wine became the accepted beverage for all social classes. In the home, wine was served with every meal. The vino was crafted from home recipes handed down through the family. But the recipes differed from what we use today. Since it was served with every meal, the wine was diluted with four parts water to one part wine for everyday use.
Oldest wine stats
Here are a few statistics that showcase just how long wine has been enjoyed.
The oldest known winery in the world dates back 6,100 years. It was discovered in 2016 in a cave in the mountains of Armenia.
The oldest winery still operating in the world is the wine estate of Schloss Vollards in Germany’s Rheingau region. The first bottle of wine was sold in 1211. Last year they released their 800th vintage.
The oldest winery in the United States is Brotherhood Winery, founded in 1839 in Washingtonville, New York — and yes, it is still in operation.
The earliest evidence of winemaking from grapes dates back to 5980BC in the Caucasus Mountains near Tblisi, Georgia.
The oldest cultivated grapevine in the U.S. is located in Manteo on Roanoke Island at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Known as the Mother Vine, it has been producing Muscadine grapes since 1584.
The oldest native American grape is Norton, named after Dr. Daniel Norton of Richmond Virginia who developed the grape from crossbreeding between 1818 and 1822.
The oldest bottle of wine to be discovered dates back to AD 325 making it nearly 1,700 years old. The bottle was discovered near the town of Speyer, Germany in 1867.
National Wine Day is the perfect time to celebrate everything wine. Plan a wine-themed dinner and watch a wine movie. A few great choices include Bottle Shock, A Good Year, Somm, and Sideways. Every bottle of wine has a story to tell — so plan to pop a cork or two on May 25 and get your vino vibe on. Cheers!