How Wine Changed the World

Sure, a world without wine, might just trudge on, with nary a wine merchant or fancy wine selections during the special occassions, one could not begrudge this potent potable with nudging the course of history here and there along its course, perhaps changing it in the process. Here are some notable incidences where the spirit of wine has altered the unraveling of history.

Wine and the Taming of the Humans

No less than Thucydides declared that man emerged from barbarism because he learned to cultivate olive and the vine. Indeed, if on takes a closer look at the development of great ancient civilizations such as those in Egypt, Greece and Mesopotamia, wine was integral in rituals, practices, ceremonies and values associated with refinement, royalty, the elite, creative undertakings and culture.

Religion

This list would never be complete without the wine immortalized in the Last Supper, the final meal in Christian belief that transpired before Jesus’ crucifixion. There are those who believe that it must be Passum, a sweet, raisin wine, which maybe the same as the moder Italian passito (see for instance the 1999 Riecine Sangiovese Passito). Together with the bread, Jesus alluded to wine as his blood sacrifice. Eventually, Christianity would consider wine as one of its sacraments. It has been said that the use of wine in the sacraments was the reason why wine consumption spread through France in the first place.

Auld Alliance

In 1295, Auld Alliance was signed between France and Scotland. It was a military alliance between the two nations that – for most part – effectively curtailed the English expansionist ambition in Europe. Unbeknownst to many, wine was critical in sealing the deal. In order to persuade the Scots, the clever French threw in wine in the negotiation knowing fully well the former’s love for the liquor. The Alliance involved a specific condition that allowed the Scots to have the first pick of Bordeaux’s finest wines. Back then it was considered a great honor to do so.  A subplot to this affair was the English grumblings because the offshoot was that they were left with inferior bottles. So the French and the Scots partnered happily after, coming at the English target united if a little intoxicated in the process.

Social Systems

Wine is also responsible for the development of social, political and even economic systems in Europe. During the Carolingian era, for instance, the new system of land development – which had far reaching impact on European society – was considered an outcome of the spread of viticulture.

Way of Life

A study conducted in November 2011 found that the consumption of wine reduces energy usage in households, particularly electricity use and lounge temperatures. The report concluded that wine facilitate small-scale household events that significantly affect energy use behaviors. If this is true, then wine is contributing meaningfully to the world’s reduction of energy footprint, which means less use of fuel that harms the environment. My counterpart wine blogger in the future would probably look back to this day as a pivotal period when wine was recognized as one of those responsible for cleaner and healthier world.

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