By Danny Ashton
Wine has become an inevitable part of the European life, culture and diet since we learned how to produce it, during the expansion of the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean. At the time, many of the major wine producing regions we know today already existed and, even then, wine production was composed of several specific techniques that fostered the development of different grape varieties and cultivation methods.
So it’s not all about the drinking, is it?
Yep, wine is delicious for the people that like it, but you must face it as part of the European life once you set foot on the territory of the major producers like Italy or France. You can have wine with fish, cheese, meat, dessert… Pretty much anything you like!
– Oh, here’s some lasagna, let’s wash it down with a Chianti Classico.
– No, wait a minute, I want strawberries. It’s okay, because you can have them with this fine and fresh Moscato d’Asti.
If you like wine, you can surely thank the people that were here even before the Romans: in ancient Greece, wine was a privilege of the upper classes, usually praised by poets, historians and artists like Homer and Aesop. Apparently, the Greeks have been making wine for more than 4,000 years.
However, with time, the art of wine making spread to France, Spain, Germany and other countries like Portugal and England. Wine started to be a part of the daily diet and people wanted to try stronger and heavier wines, leading to the mix of different grapes and styles of production. During the Dark Ages, drinking water was so unreliable that people preferred wine to accompany their meals. Those were the golden days for the rich merchants and noble classes, who had wine with every meal and maintained well-stocked cellars, like the one we have to show you.