It has been suggested that - along with climate change - wine was the primary agent for the development of Western civilization and the emergence of human creativity.
“Beside the sea she lives, the woman of the vine, the maker of wine; Siduri sits in the garden at the edge of the sea with the golden bowl and the golden vats that the gods gave her…”
- Gilgamesh Epic - II m BC
A birds-eye view of art in Western Civilization through the history of the grapevine
The remarkable history of wine spans millennia with a hardy grapevine called vitis sylvestrii. It was quickly recognized beyond its medicinal properties and once mankind learned to fire clay, circa 8000 BC, it was discovered to be the perfect solution to preserve the fermented grapes.
The first serious cultivation started circa 5000 BC in Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, parts of Eastern Europe and on the island of Crete.
Domesticated the vine is called vitis vinifera, where ninety percent of our world wine today originates.
Grapes were not the only fruit to make wine, but none other inspired the imagination in such a way.
Initially reserved for kings, priests and visiting dignitaries, the Mesopotamians believed grapes came from the blood of fallen soldiers while the early Europeans believed they came from the blood of goddesses.
For the Jewish culture wine is a blessing, and in Catholicism it undergoes a mysterious alteration into the blood of Christ - who could turn water into wine.
"Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic and the serious smile."
- Homer 8th century BC