Prehistory by Amber Howells


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  • 1. “It was said in the eight chapter of Genesis that Noah’s Ark came to rest upon the Caucasus Mountains in Turkey.” (Amerine & Singleton, 1977)
  • The State Museum of Georgia has on display a cup of high-carat gold set with gems. It was a family affair. They used clay vessels and buried them underground for fermentation and to keep at a good temperature.
  • 1. This is a small clay tablet used by the Egyptians to record perhaps one of the earliest documented mention of wine. It is a receipt for jugs of wine. (Owen, 2008)
  • 1. There was no doubt that wine contained alcohol by this stage.
  • 1. Some people wouldn’t have even called Prehistory grape growing “early viticulture”.
  • 1. Mesopotania is an area in the middle east that corresponds to modern day Iraq.
  • 1. Photos: (
  • Tops of wine containers were usually covered and often sealed with pitch or grease.
  • To research Prehistory is overwhelming and confusing due to the multitude of different opinions and stories. They are all fascinating however, and depending on how good the writing is; quite compelling. Fact or fiction aside, wine is here now and it had to come from somewhere, so I tip my hat to all the discoverers, creators, and storytellers, because as Hugh Johnson stated in his short documentaries … “wine is a vital joy to life”.
  • Prehistory by Amber Howells

    1. 1. PREHISTORY “Wine is older than history. Humans didn't invent wine. We discovered it.” (Seldon, P.)
    2. 2. CONTENTS  In the Beginning  Neolithic Civilisation  Melting Pot of Wine Discovery  Predynastic Period  The Glory that was Greece  Early Viticulture  Early Winemaking  Primitive Societies  Styles of Wine
    3. 3. IN THE BEGINNING  It was noted in Genesis 9:20-21, “and Noah began to be a husbandman, and he planted a vineyard; and he drank of the wine and was drunken”. (Amerine & Singleton, 1977)  This biblical story was one of the first references to the existence of wine, and its consumption.
    4. 4. NEOLITHIC CIVILISATION  Grape growing was first seen in this time period (6000 to 4000BC), below the Caucasus Mountains, in the region of Georgia. Archaeology has traced the roots of Georgian viticulture back to at least 6000 BC, and there is also “proof in this claim that is seen in many of the unearthed silver, gold and bronze Georgian artefacts that have imprints of the vine, grape clusters and leaves.” (Theroux, 2012)
    5. 5. 
    6. 6. MELTING POT OF WINE DISCOVERY  There are so many claims on the true founders of the vine and its ability to produce wine. Apparently the vine is native to Persia, but then there is also reference to wine in many different languages including the Hittites (the dominant linguistic group in the Middle East), Armenian, Georgian, Hebrew, Latin, Sabaean, Arabic, and Ethiopian. However…
    7. 7. PREDYNASTIC PERIOD …The best records of the early wine industry came from Egypt. They documented the process of wine making, descriptions of harvesting grapes and drinking wine on clay tablets, which have been discovered within the burial chambers of Egyptian royalty. Image: ( the-classic-ritual-drink)
    8. 8. (
    9. 9. THE GLORY THAT WAS GREECE  “The wine industry reached a much higher degree of perfection, with the detailed wine descriptions written by the famous Greek bard, Homer.” (Amerine & Singleton, 1977)  The wine industry also reached a much higher degree of sensuality with the rise of Dionysus’ cult, in the 17th century, where wine- induced celebrations of an orgiastic character were in full swing.
    10. 10. EARLY VITICULTURE  The cultivation of the grape is a very ancient industry. Remnants of grape seeds have been found in Georgian villages dating back several thousand years B.C. where the grapes grew wild. (Amerine & Singleton, 1977). Grapes were casually harvested. It was quite unlike the viticulture that is seen today, where vines are now manipulated and trained.
    11. 11. EARLY WINEMAKING  Winemaking dates from at least 4000BC. Since yeasts are everywhere, fermentation would have been no problem. So the elixir of joyful times, wine, probably came about by accident one day.  Archaeological evidence suggests that grape cultivation and wine making began in Mesopotamia and areas surrounding the Caspian Sea sometime between 6000 and 4000 BC. (Owen, 2008)
    12. 12. PRIMITIVE SOCIETIES  In the Egyptian times wine was expensive and was only really enjoyed “by priests and royalty, while commoners drank beer, mead, and ale”. (Owen, 2008). Where wine was common, it was taxed.
    13. 13. STYLES OF WINE.. OR LACK OF  The first wines would have been of very poor quality, but it was apparent very early on that people knew of the effects that air had on wine. The practise of adding herbs or other materials suggests the intention of covering up undesirable odours associated with wine spoilage. Greeks liked to have their wine with a meal, and more often than not they diluted it with water.
    15. 15. REFERENCES  Amerine, M.A., & Singleton, V.L. (1977). Wine (2nd ed.). USA: University of California Press.  Johnson, H. (1974). Wine (1st ed.). London: Thomas Nelson Limited.  Owen, D. (2008). Song of the Vine. Cornell University. Retrieved from  Owen, J. (2011). Earliest Known Winery Found in Armenian Cave. National Geographic Society. Retrieved from press- making-winery-armenia-science-ucla/  Seldon, P. (n.d). Notable Quotes. Wine Quotes. Retrieved from http://www.notable-  The Georgian Wine Society. (2013). About Georgian Wines. The Georgian Wine Society. Retrieved from  Theroux, M. (2012). Discovering Wine in Georgia. Lonely Planet Traveller. Retrieved from