Wine history dates way back than archeological or written sources of mankind history. Fermentation of berries was a natural process. The earliest archaeological evidence of wine produced from grapes, has been found in China (c. 7000 BC), Georgia (c. 6000 BC), Iran (c. 5000 BC), Greece (c. 4500 BC), and Sicily (c. 4000 BC). The oldest evidence of wine production plant has been found in Armenia (c. 4100 BC).
Ancient Greek and Roman mythology also speaks about the wine – Greek wine god was Dionysus, roman – Bacchus. Jewish consumed ritual wine as part of the religious practice since Biblical times. Roman empire had very big impact on viniculture too. Wine was an integral part of the Roman diet and winemaking became a precise business. At around 3rd century oak barrels, invented by Gauls, were already used by Romans. After the fall of Roman Empire in the 5th century Europe entered a period of invasions and social turndown. Roman Catholic Church was practically the only stable social structure that continued grape growing and practiced winemaking techniques.
Together with geographical explorations in 15th century, European grapes and winemaking were brought to the New World. Spanish conquistadors planted first vitis vinifera grapes in current Mexico territory, South America and Japan. At 16th century grapes were planted in the North America, latest this was done in Australia and New Zealand – 18th century.
During 18th-20th centuries modern winemaking studies were done with the main purpose of increasing grapes’ and wine quality. Yeast, pasteurization and bacteria were invented, alcoholic fermentation process and malolactic fermentation were fully understood and explored. The first wine classification was created in Bordo, France in 1855 which was the main index for investment wine.
19th century was marked by the biggest catastrophe for winemaking – Phylloxera epidemic – which started in 1863. Phylloxera is microscopic, pale yellow sap-sucking insects, which feeds on the roots and leaves of grapevines vitis vinifera (European grape vine). Because phylloxera is native to North America, the native grape species are at least partially resistant. Best acceptable solution to this disaster was the use of a resistant rootstock, involved grafting a vitis vinifera scion onto the roots of a resistant vitis aestivalis or other American native species. This is still the preferred method today, because the rootstock does not interfere with the development and taste of the wine grapes.
Industrial revolution of modern ages brought technological change that created conditions for a large scale winemaking. Both World Wars gave additional impact on technological development, which resulted in mechanical grape picking, vine trees pruning and watering. Wine classification systems were also created during late 20th century, more attention was given to quality of the wine, wine culture, ecological and even biodynamic wine making.