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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. 
  • Wine Made the Scots and the French Best Friends - And Snubbed England

    Photo: Adam Fowler / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
    Around 1295, England was getting a little too big for its britches, and it was making people kind of nervous. In particular, France and Scotland were really focusing on trying to keep England from getting any bigger. So, in order to stop them, the two countries formed a treaty called the Auld Alliance. The Scots, however, got an added benefit of having first pick of all the best French wines, leaving England with a lesser selection. So, in its most basic form, the Scots' love of wine is what kept England from becoming a crazy powerhouse, and kept France strong, too. 
  • The Ottoman Empire Began to Crumble Thanks to a Love of Wine

    Photo: Ashley Van Haeften / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    Süleyman the Magnificent pushed the Ottman Empire to be massive, up to the point where they even had Somalia under their rule. However, his predecessor Selim II preferred getting drunk to expanding his empire, and his favorite drink was wine. In fact, the only time when he tried to really take over anything was when he sought out Cyprus, the maker of his favorite wines. However, Cyprus was having none of that and fought back, killing 90% of his navy and 30,000 sailors. While he was doing all this, the rest of the empire began to call into disrepair, and thus was the beginning of the fall
  • Magellan Chose Wine Over Water (with Dangerous Consequences)

    Photo: Internet Archive Book Images / flickr / No known copyright restrictions

    Magellan may have been a pretty brilliant explorer, but he was also a huge lover of wine and pretty bad at prioritizing. Case in point: When he set out on his voyage, he spent more money on wine than on either weapons or food. In fact, during his travels, he ran out of water before he ran out of wine! This doomed most of his shipmates and led to the eventual destruction of most of his travel party. All but one of his ships were lost, and we're willing to bet the one that came back still had extra wine to spare. Who knows what might have happened if Magellan had been more interested in fresh spring water than fortified wines?

  • Everyone Drank Wine as They Signed the Constitution

    Most Americans know that the Constitution was signed in 1787, but most don't know that the place was overflowing with wine. You see, most of our founding fathers were huge wine lovers, to the point where, during the convention, Franklin had people follow him around to make sure he didn't go into any taverns and get drunk! But when the time came to sign, it went from a mellow affair to a real party. And the wine served? Not surprisingly, Franklin's favorite, Madeira. There's actually still a wine festival every year to celebrate the role wine played in this famous signing.