• 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. 
  • The Need to Store Wine Pushed People to Create Some of the First Storage Devices

    Photo: Baynham Goredema / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    One of the unfortunate things about wine is that if you don't store it right, it doesn't age well and it goes bad. This means that early wine makers either had to drink up awfully fast, or they had to figure out a means of preserving and keeping the wine. In China, dating all the way back to around 7,000 BC, people began making fermented fruit and honey wine, and storing it in earthenware jars. These jars then became pots, amphoras, and eventually the bottles we see today. This storage method could also be used for various foods, meaning people could keep food fresh longer, too.
  • Wine Determined Whether or Not the Greeks Thought You Were Civilized

    Photo: digitalcosmonaut / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
    If the ancient Greeks thought you were cool, chances are, you really were. And the best way to get those Greeks to like you? Why, give them wine, of course! You see, the ancient Greeks believed that creating wine was a fine art, so much so that they had a god that was focused on drinking it. If you could create wine, the Greeks would consider you civilized rather than backwards and barbarous, at least according to Thucydides, and many alliances were formed when the Greeks respected other "civilized" societies. In short, the ancient world looked the way it did because the Greeks respected other winemakers. 
  • The Pharaohs Used Wine to Seem Like Crazy Powerful Gods

    Photo: Wally Gobetz / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
    If you were rich and lived in Egypt back around 1,500 BC, then you drank wine. If you weren't, you didn't. It's as simple as that. Pharaohs drank wine and offered it to the gods, and even had wine buried with them from multiple wineries (yes, they had multiple wineries). Given that Egypt was a slave-loving country, the use of wine as a means of status kept the rich on top and the poor on the bottom, where they only drank beer
  • Wine Encouraged Cross-Continental Trading

    Photo: Peter Roan / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0
    By around 900 BC, the Romans really had this whole wine thing down to a science. They were growing grapes, making different varieties of wine, and storing it in amphora. The obvious next step was to start trading it. Some of the very first cross-continent trading was with wine, and that trade developed and grew until it became the booming industry we see today. From there blossomed political alliances, the trading of information and techniques, and of course, even more varieties of wine.