• Food

17 Times Wine Changed the World and Altered History

We all know that wines can liven up a dinner party, and that a little wine can be the perfect end to a long day. But did you know that when you sip wine you're taking a sip of history? That's right, wine has been the catalyst for many historical events and trends. So, now you know there's history in wine, and also wine in history.

It's not just the French and the Italians that have seen wine change history, either. The Russians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, and even the Turks have all seen their history books change due to a glass or bottle of wine at some point. Of course, the effects of wine on our global timeline aren't always exactly pleasant. What can we say? Wine may be perfection, but people are flawed, especially when they're tipsy. 

We may forever argue over who first invented wine, or who makes it best, but one thing is certain: the world would not be the way it is today without wine. Take a look at our list on how wine changed the world, and you'll see that we should be toasting wine, rather than just toasting with it. 
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  • Wine Led to Glass and Glass Led to Basically Everything Else

    Photo: Lig Ynnek / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
    Somewhere in all this Greek and Roman winemaking, people started to think that it was high time we found a new way to store wine. We were already using glass to make beads, cups, and little bits of jewelry, but the full range of its use wasn't really explored until the Romans started making glass containers for wine around 100 BC. From there, uses for glass began to pop up everywhere in art and science - and it all began with wanting to store wine better. 
  • Cleopatra Used Wine to Win a Bet (But She Probably Cheated)

    Photo: dvdbramhall / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Wine was always one of this fabled beauty's ploys for greatness. She used drinking to get to know Julius Caesar, and she allegedly had wild drunken parties with her guests. But her most notable use of alcohol was to win over Marc Antony and form one of the most famous romances in history.

    The story goes like this: Cleopatra made a bet with Antony over whether she could spend a small fortune in a single meal. She was determined to impress him and so at dinner time, she brought forth one of the largest pearls then known. She dropped it into a glass of wine, then drank the concoction down. He was, needless to say, impressed. The catch is that she might have made the cocktail using red wine vinegar, in order to dissolve the pearl, instead of plain wine.
  • Wine Kept Roman Troops Happy and Healthy as They Conquered Most of Europe

    Photo: Paul Cooper / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0
    Wine keeps people happy, right? Well, the Romans certainly thought so. In 200 BC, they began to dictate that all soldiers should drink 2-3 liters of wine for their health and morale. It might sound crazy but this wine, called posca, did in fact have medicinal propertiesIt's full of antioxidants and vitamin C, and because it's very acidic, it kills all the bacteria in the water, keeping the soldiers on their feet! Around this time, with the help of posca, Rome managed to defeat Carthage, who had a pretty solid stranglehold over the Mediterranean, thus strengthening their empire. 
  • "The Blood of Christ" Became a Religious Staple, Even in Prohibition

    Photo: Waiting For The Word / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    Whether or not you believe Jesus existed, it's hard to deny what his existence in religious lore has meant to the world. According to the Bible, he was also quite fond of wine, as shown by his water into wine miracle. It was also written that, at the Last Supper, he gave his disciples wine and told them it was his blood, shed for them. The moment those words were penned, they became a part of religious ceremonies still used today. When Prohibition in the United States came around, the only wineries that stayed open were those that claimed to make sacramental wine, so we can thank the Lord for that too!