It has been suggested that - along with climate change - wine was a 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
The story spans millennia with a hardy grapevine called vitis sylvestrii. Fermented, the grapes were quickly recognized beyond their medicinal properties.
The solution to store and transport wine came with fired pottery, and the first serious cultivation of grapes appeared in East Europe, Asia Minor, and on the island of Crete around 4,500 BC.
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 inhabitants of Latium 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."
Part One begins with the earliest signs of winemaking, its economic, artistic and religious impact on civilizations. Part Two covers the regions and appellations.
The name Sylvestrii is to honor Filippo Silvestri, an Italian entomologist monk born in 1873.
Domesticated, the vine is called vitis vinifera, where ninety percent of our world wine originates.