Wine & Archaeology – An obvious love affair?
Does wines history effect our enjoyment today?
Wine and heritage are inseparable. When we enjoy an older vintage we are essentially drinking a relic of the past. The fact that different eras can create different characters in wine can help us to understand viticulture in a much wider context.
Through the excavation of the physical remains of wine production, such as ancient wine presses and vintner’s billhooks, or the study of the organic residue (vine pollen in soil samples or fossilised grape skins) we can create a link to our ancestor’s social history.
Developing an understanding of how we grew, produced and enjoyed wine in the past can be both fascinating in its own right, but also useful to the future of wine production. For instance, the detailed study of a grape’s past can lead to a resurgence in growth within the vine’s indigenous regions or even in a recreation of ‘traditional’ manufacture methods. As well as creating ancient pedigrees for vintners to, quite rightly, extol in their labelling.
Over a series of blogs I hope to enforce this idea of wine being a remarkable cultural marker across the Old World from the earliest plantings around 8,000 BC, into the ancient world, across the Roman Empire, its survival and resurgence in the Middle Ages and the continuing progression to our modern industrialised production.
As well as offering some insight into the archaeological methods from which we derive our knowledge and the implications this all can have for our own enjoyment of wine!