History of Wine Timelines

People have used wine since long before recorded history. Much about the earliest history of wine is hidden in the darkness of time. But archaeology and chemistry have shed light on some of the origins of wine.

   This is Part of a Series

        1. Beginnings of Wine
        2. Wine in Early Christianity
        3. Renaissance Wine Developments
        4. Wine in the 18th Century
        5. 19th Century Wine Developments
        6. Wine in the 20th Century

The story of wine goes back at least 12,000 years. But we know many of the functions it has served.

Wine provided safe hydration in a world of generally polluted water. Ancient writers rarely wrote about water. Except to warn against drinking it.1

Wine has provided needed nutrition and energy. Vitamins increase during fermentation.2 It’s natural nutritional enrichment.3

Wine has long served as a pain killer. It was also a cleanser of wounds. And it’s been a medication for many conditions.

Wine has been a medium of exchange.

Religious ceremonies have long included wine.

People have enjoyed wine as a refreshment and source of relaxation. And as a promoter of conviviality, mood lifter, and much more.

Historians Emphasize Problems

history of wine Chroniclers tend to note problems rather than normalcy. They often write about any problems caused by alcohol abuse. They rarely write about the non-events of its typical drinking. Or about its benefits to health and long life when consumed in moderation. But that’s an important part of the history of wine.

The founding head of the NIAAA analyzed the impact of alcohol. He wrote this. “[A]lcohol has existed longer than all human memory. It has outlived generations, nations, epochs and ages. It is a part of us, and that is fortunate indeed. For although alcohol will always be the master of some, for most of us it will continue to be the servant of mankind.4

That’s an important message about the history of wine.


1. Ghaliounqui, P.. Fermented Beverages. In: Gastineau, C., et al. (Eds.) Fermented Food in Nutrition, pp. 3-19.
2. ________, pp. 8-9.
3. Steinkraus, K. Nutrition of Fermented Foods. Food Res Inter, 27(3), 259-267.
4. Chafetz, M. Liquor: The Servant of Man, p. 223.