Wine is as much a legend as a fact in the ancient world. Several stories persist of how wine was first developed, and its significance to these cultures is immediately apparent. Wine played an important role in daily life, but also played a sacred role in ceremonial life. Winemaking is detailed extensively in Egyptian tombs as an offering to the afterlife, and even at this early stage, wine was considered an integral part of the local diet.
Grape wine was initially limited to mountain grapes in China, but new varietals were introduced through contact with the kingdoms of the present-day Middle East. Grape wine was reserved for the most venerated nobles for several thousands of years, while others in the region consumed the more popular rice wine. Grape wine gained prominence among the lower tiers of the upper class around the Song Dynasty.
Beer was the drink of choice throughout Europe, but exports were consumed by those who could afford them. However, wine was a requirement for the Catholics, which led many orders for monks to begin producing their own wine. It was through Catholic explorers that winemaking reached the Americas, while Australia joined the wine trade only in the past few centuries. Regardless of wine’s origins or its prominence, it’s clear that the drink remains a staple throughout the world today.