The evolvement of grape yards and wine

It is not possible to make absolute chronological separation of different ages because very often cultural periods evolve and coexist all together. For example the Middle Ages coexist with the Byzantine period. Nevertheless, a breakdown has been attempted based on major historical periods .

Ancient Greece

It is believed that it was Ancient Greeks who led the wine and winemaking technology to its peak.The analysis that follows uses elements originated to Ancient Greece as mentioned in mythology and the history of the 3rd millennium BC until the 1st century BC


The ancient Greeks considered wine an integral part of their lives. This is confirmed by a series of deities invented by central figure Dionysus.Dionysus was the god of fertility, wine and theater. His father was Zeus and his mother Semele, daughter of Cadmus, king of Thebes. Hera, however, with trick caused her death.The hatred of Hera was not extinguished with the death of Semele, but he turned to the child. Dionysus to escape from the fury of Hera forced to leave permanently and hidden in mountains and forests. Permanent companions in this endless escape the Silenus, the Maenads and Diapers. One day Dionysus visited Aitolia where he was welcomed by king Eneas. Considering the friendly welcome he was, Dionysus made a gift to Eneas, earned him a branch and gave the first instructions on how to cultivate it.In Athens spread myth that when Dionysus came to Greece, went to Ikaria (which was located on the slopes of Mount Pendeli) to King Icarus. To thank him for the hospitality they showed him, Dionysus donated a sack of wine and advised him to hide his gift well. But the shepherds found the sack, drank the unknown and wondrous drink, got drunk and drunk as he was killed Icarus. Since then, he says the legend, the Athenians are afraid to drink pure wine. Dionysus got married with Ariandi and had two kids together, Stafylos and Oenopion. According to another version, the grape was one of the shepherds of Eneas. As herding flocks, Stafylos observed that a goat eating a plant fruits became more lively. Stafylos then took his wrist and showed the king Eneas who tasted the juice. So wrist gave the name of the shepherd and his own juice.Dionysus, the wine managed to reconcile Hephaestus with Hera and reconciled, and he with her. These reflect the belief of the ancient Greeks that wine acts as a catalyst in helping people, so even reconciles gods.

Around Dionysus were various forms that accompanied him, the Satyrs and Silenus . The origin of these deities ( with hooves, long ears , horns , etc . ) Is placed somewhere in the Aegean islands . A friend of Dionysus helped him every time the god was drunk . Called Vine . The Vines died young and after solicitation of Dionysus , Zeus transformed them in the homonym plant.

Importance of wine.

Wine, other than using it for the pleasure of men, was used since ancient times as a drug: medical diets, production of medicines, wound wash were some of its uses. It’s used also in libations. An altar, a jug to fill with wine bottle in which the wine poured on the altar, are iconographic elements of a libation, as depicted in many vessels. Wine was offered and the warrior when he departed for war. Preserved angiography the wine offer from Andromache to favorite Hector.The tremendous economic importance of wine resulted legal protection. He even invented by the ancient Greeks for the first time the concept of designation of origin. So we have seen documents describing various local wine : the wine of Chios ( other excellent wines) , the Lesbian wine ( the efpnoun ) the Mendisio wine ( the white and rigorous ) , the Thassian wine ( the fragrant ) .The first historical appellation of origin which has been discovered is Greek, from Ikaria is the so-called Pramnios Wine. The name derives from the locality “Pramnos stone” of the settlement Oinoi (today community Evdilos) of Ikaria. Today’s inhabitants call the site “Bra” in absolute sonic correlation with the ancient name Pramnos. Until today in Ikaria call pramnio wine red the dry wine, which some buried in clay pots into the soil, as the ancient Greeks up to the 1980s.The museum of Thassos there is a law engraved on white marble. It is the 5th century and is considered the first wine law survives. It consists of provisions governing matters vintage and wine sale. This law clearly states that the wine is only sold in jars sealed by the auditors of the market. Defined even that no ship carrying wine can not reach the port of Thassos, nor the wider sea area. The sentence was the confiscation of the ship. It was both measures ensuring the authenticity of the wine of Thassos.The earliest written evidence for transporting wine by sea is given by Homer. In the ninth rhapsody of the Iliad ( verse. 71-72 ) , Nestor remind Agamemnon that the cellars are full of wine , carrying every day from Thrace ships of the Achaeans , crossing the sea. From these verses and many others see the existence of an intensive wine trade in the 8th century BC between Thrace , Lemnos and Troy. Grape growers and winemakers Thrace, Thassos and other islands benefiting from this commercial activity promote the production and trade of wine. It is noteworthy that while the wine trade was conducted and trade vines. Indeed, the classical era, the North Aegean monopoly of the luxury wine in the ancient world. Wrecks discovered in the Mediterranean or in Porticello southern Italy, with amphorae from Mende, either in the Balearic with amphorae from Chios, Thassos and Samos, testify to export wines to the West.


The strong export activity of the Greeks , as regards the wine , then demonstrated by the findings of shipwrecks in the Mediterranean are full of jars , vases and amphorae . But the Greeks are particularly active . Of the Sicilian colonists begin winemaking in Italy and the settlers of Marseille in France and throughout Europe.One can easily imagine the risks and hardships of all these merchants ships traveled to sell their wine. Wine and ship are two concepts very closely tied , as shown in the goblet of Exekias kept in the museum of Munich. The goblet is , considered one of the masterpieces of angiographic art, represents the god Dionysus lying in a boat that travels with open sails . The god is surrounded by vines and many grapes, while around him playing dolphins.The booming for Greece Wine trade began encountering problems during the 2nd century BC , when the prices dropped low, viticulture became unprofitable and gradually decreased exports . Those who traded only wine had to deal with trade in other species to survive. Nevertheless the good reputation of Greek wine continued to exist even under these conditions.In the Hellenistic period the wine production centers have multiplied and expanded trade. Although the wines of the North Sea still renowned for their quality, can not match the new wines, although inferior, coming out on the market, as the Dodecanese. Amphorae Kos, but mainly of Rhodes, have been found in hundreds of archaeological sites around the Danube, the Black Sea, across the Mediterranean, even to India. The last two centuries of the Hellenistic period, the Italian wine occupied an important position in trade throughout the Mediterranean. The presence and the Greek area was particularly marked in Athens.It is appropriate here to mention the influence of the vine in coinage. The first coins with oenological performances shown in the 6th century in various regions: Sicily, Thrace, Thessaly, Aegean. Since then constantly encountered as the 1st century. Vineyard – wine-making issues that adorn the facades of these coins are divided into three main complex and several subtypes. The three main types are: trusses, Dionysus and vessels associated with the use of wine, particularly beetle and the volute crater.

Wine Pots.

The production and storage of wine and other liquid products, imposed the construction of containers and utensils. The fact that wine and oil, the main sources of wealth of the Athenians, exported in clay pots, owes its importance was in Athens art potter, pottery.1. Amphora. The amphora is usually a clay vase and metal (copper, brass, silver or gold). The amphora has a known shape, expanded at the waist, with a narrow neck and two handles on either side. The amphorae in their cheeks brought performances and geometric shapes.The amphorae used for wine, usually had acid bottom to easily plunging into the earthen floors of underground storage and remain upright. Amphorae used not only for storage but also for the transport of wine. The shape of amphorae varies at times and places. So from amphorae found in excavations can draw conclusions about the origin of their contents. But there were also cases of counterfeiting. A typical example is Cyprus which in the Hellenistic period had adopted the characteristic type of amphorae of Rhodes, in trying to sell its wine as Rhodian.2. Crater . the crater was large vessel usually made ​​of stone or bronze. Craters were used for mixing wine with water during ceremonies and banquets . Craters , at least the younger , had a bell-shaped mouth wider belly and protruding lips. The handles fall on the lower abdomen .3. Cilix . The kylix was circular with a relatively large diameter compared with its depth . Manufactured from a variety of materials and was used for drinking wine .4. cantharos . The cantharos was shaped like current teacups but with two diametrically located handles. The beetle is the characteristic glass of Dionysus and displayed in many shows.5. Kotyli . The acetabulum serves as a wine glass and a clerical receptacle . Acetabulum even called the vessel was used to measure the wine trade .6. cups . The kyathos was small vase that served at banquets in the transport of wine from the crater in the glasses . Brought long handle to reach the depth of the crater .7. Oinochoe . He seemed very in shape and had a similar use with today jug.8. Pithos . The jars were large jars , at the height of man, with narrow base , which replace the existing barrels. The jars were used to store wine and other liquid products. Aleivontan externally and internally with resin or pitch, because their great resources allow leaks . Maybe by then started the love of the Greeks for retsina . The caps were made ​​of slate or asthestolitho and closed tightly .9. pitcher . Clay container for storage of wine .10. Bottle . The bottles were mainly earthen vases of various shapes and bore inscriptions and decorations. They serve as glasses .11. Pitcher . The urn was usually clay pot , bulging in the middle but with spout and large diameter base that did not result in a narrow neck or narrow base . Although the urn was intended to bring water, often used it for storing wine .Banquets and celebrations around the vine and wine .The most common social events in ancient Greece were the symposia. Symposium was the celebration that took place on the occasion of an event such as a family celebration, success, victory in a match, return a loved one, etc.. The symposia were of the most enjoyable moments in the life of the ancient Greeks and always follow a certain process. At first they drank a cup of flavored wine, propoma, something like that with the current aperitif. Followed dinner during which they drank several drinks, but mostly wine.For each symposium was defined and a toast master . The toast master was responsible for the dilution of the wine but also had the responsibility for the general climate of the symposium . The ceremonies also stated how much wine you drink each , imposed sentences etc .. During the wine tasting , the symposium . Ie . They continued to eat fruit , nuts and other accompaniments. Notably, many were those who came after eating , especially that for the banquet .


For the symposium there was also the analogue service staff. The sommelier belonged to the upper servants and took care to always be wine in the cups of the guests. The preachers, under the guidance of Master of ceremonies, were responsible for the dilution of the wine and finally the waiters were responsible for serving the food. During the symposium, and depending on the composition, discussions or there were various events including music, dance and theater. Teasing, jokes and games between symposiasts not but never missing.While the celebrations were many, the Ancient Greeks drank in moderation. Drunk , according to the criteria of the time, people were not considered capable of large projects.The legislator Lokridas (Zalefkos) was banned by law citizens to drink wine aneroto. Offenders even the law imposed the death penalty. They excluded those who had prescription and allowed for health reasons to drink wine aneroto. Wine always drunk with water. This ‘krasis’ (combination) of the wine with water, from which the word ‘wine’, was usually in the ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part wine. As noted by Plutarch ‘removes the gar krasis wine the wronged th synairousa useful’. The krasis wine was a large bronze vessel, the crater.It is known that the ancient Greeks honored Dionysus and wine festivals , at every opportunity. Each rural work done in groups, accompanied by great celebrations . A classic example of the harvest .In October, in honor of Dionysus celebrated Oschoforia . The celebration included races and dances by young dancers who brought grapes and vine branches.In February, the Flower Festival celebrated and lasted three days. The first day was called Pythoigia and dedicated to the opening of jars, the second day, libations, was dedicated to wine drinking, feasting and dancing and finally, the third day, kettle, was dedicated to the dead and the dying.The orgies of Dionysus was celebrated every two years in early December on Mount Parnassus, orgies not by demeaning importance today the word. Orgies means nothing less than works of sacred, religious ceremonies. Only women, organized in troupes, took part in them.

The roman period

The Romans, warlike people, for a long time since I came to the forefront of history, not only have to show remarkable intellectual creations, but at a very low level of civilization. After they came into contact with their Greek imitated very lifestyle.In 146 BC Greece was conquered by the Romans. It was of course the end of the Greek sovereignty in the wine world. The Greek trade centers fell into decline and their place was taken Roman. Although the trade of wine was extinguished, the technique and knowledge of the Greeks ampelourgon- winemakers started by the Romans, disseminated and applied in other countries.The Romans were also those wine lovers and experienced viticulture from the Etruscans . Various grape varieties cultivated during the 2nd century circulate in Rome many types of wines. The Greek wines but remained the most famous and for competitive reasons , but the most rare and expensive. Reported that Caesar to delight many times officials of Rome, offered them Greek wines.The Romans pressed their grapes in specially designed spaces. The wort is drained to the input of the grapes in the pressure space, called today prorogo bottled him immediately in amphorae, because they knew it was the best quality. Then the grapes are usually pressed in presses beam, which was Greek invention, which have improved the Romans. Engineers had devised ways to provide in these presses continuous and controlled pressure. Thus, the edge of the beam only loaded stones but also geared elktires or screws to allow continuous adjustment of the pressure.Sometimes also used spikes directed through the boards presses the mass of grapes to achieve greater pressure. Often become a second pressure by adding a little water. Note that the screw is Greek invention since Archimedes (300 BC).The Romans following the example of the Greeks, always in the vessels containing wine writing with ink or paint in the year of harvest, the color of wine, his name ended (‘bottled’) the vessel and the name of what had cellars which go wine. This was done to facilitate taxation but for competitive reasons.Slowly the Roman wine ranked first in the European market and Romans winemakers became rich and powerful. Many of them won and titles of nobility . The winery was considered among the most profitable trades .The Romans dominated the wine for 2-3 centuries about . The fall of the Roman Empire and the entrance in Europe of various armies Vikings , Asians and Muslims led to the disappearance of vast areas under vines and eventually to ‘ regress ‘ viticulture . Byzantine times .In the Byzantine Empire, as is known, state and Christianity were in line in a common and glorious path. It is logical, then, that the production of the imperial wine was assigned to monks.From the first concerns of the founders of the monastery was the organization vineyards in order to meet the relevant needs of the monks. The wine, in addition to major participation in the sacrament of Holy Communion, consumed in large enough quantities of the monks during meals. It refers, in fact, that there was a special place nun who was responsible for the wine of the monastery and the monasteries of women.The vineyards were one of the main crops the Byzantine era. Although farmers generally were in poor economic situation, it seems that almost every household had a vineyard, sometimes small, sometimes larger. The properties were generally small and dispersed and came from the market, legacy or dowry. Many times the vine came ‘on stature’ that had planted the owner.The wine is an everyday, cheap food, acclaimed by folk physiology, medicine era and religion, a species with the composition completes the necessary calories lunch while consolation.In general, however, farmers are considered by the Byzantines humble and brutal. Merchants despised because they use lies in their transactions, so you will never be able to find the salvation of the soul.Because of the importance and position of agricultural production in Byzantium, which as mentioned was a basic and necessary, lawmakers had arrange an optimal way to protect and ensure the harvest and effort of winegrowers. For example, anyone who put traps inside the vineyard of long fruiting and those falling animals remained unpunished even if they die.Also left unpunished the vineyard owner, if the fences of the fields of grasping oxen or donkeys and died. In the same law, anyone found in the estates of animals that did damage, should the first and second time to return them to their owner, but if the found and then a third time was right to hurt or kill them. If someone was burning dams vineyards, whips, pay double value proxenithisas damage and cut off his right hand. He who cut vineyards for revenge, violent use of force fell victim received thirty threshing and paid twice the value of the damage.Note finally that during the harvest, the vintage allowed to be called in court.In Greece, the way of converting grape into wine has not changed much since the days of Byzantium and simple winemaking techniques used then look very similar to the current spatial winemaking. The musts ferment in earthenware jars or in wooden barrels, which had become known to the Romans from the northern peoples. The Byzantines were placed inside the egg fermenters during fermentation, to see if the boil was smooth. So if the end of the egg sticking, thought that boils well, and if the egg sinking thought that boiling was incomplete.And during the Byzantine period it was known the retinite wine, and Plastering.The Byzantines drank wine unbridled normally and mixed with hot water, which was considered luxury sample. It was often drinking wine mixed with different flavors and sweeteners such as mulse made from sour and old wine and honey, according to two to one, and the pepper made from old wine, honey and grated pepper. Also, they made different wine type drinks from apples, pears, palm nuts, raisins or clams and various liqueurs, sugar, cinnamon, rose and honey, lime, gum or anise.Ottoman rule .During the Turkish occupation the cultivation of vines and wine production fell to very low levels. For the few who continued to make wine , taxation was great . Although the Greeks were busy with major national issues, the wine was part of everyday life and never stopped completely , especially in locations where conditions were more favorable .In the Ottoman Empire appeared a new product of the vine, raki. The need for storage of pomace fermentation changed the production technology of must, using local, the paravoutas. On the huge paravouta was placed in contact in a line orthogonal beams to form a kind of floor which empties trygimena grapes, which had become a first pressure into the transport container. Thus, the hand must fall straight into paravouta while ‘tread’ completed crushing the grapes with their feet. When the marc were lifted many of the middle beams and pushed to fall in paravouta.A few centimeters above the bottom of paravoutas there is a small opening closed by sfinoumeno ‘pin’. In the inside of the pin put in contact with the side and bottom of paravoutas, a pile of SOUSOURO thyme, which operates as a filter outgoing must. Almost simultaneously with the push and pull the first must, so-called ‘hit -trava’. Opening the pin and by means of a succession of open pipes carved with spindly trunks of trees, grape drained straight into large cask, ie barrels.At the end of the Ottoman Empire things were particularly difficult . There are cases where the local ruler leaves the producer to transport the harvest from the vineyard to the winery if not repay his debts . So large crops destroyed and families who relied on them. Worst of all though is that Turks , as retreating , destroyed uproot and burn the vines they encountered in their path . Modern Greece .Before 1821, about 2/3 of the cultivated land belonged to the Turks and the rest in Greek notables leading Greek farmers work as tenants in estates Turks and Greeks. The population had significantly reduced numbers during the revolution was not sufficient to respond to farming with primitive means available. Ibrahim (1825-1828) in the Peloponnese and Dramalis (1822) and Kioutahis (18250 in Central Greece had deserted the place. Find vines had been uprooted or burned remains, largely unpruned and uncultivated.Some years later , driven by rising prices for all agricultural products, the vine and especially the raisin spread the Greek countryside. Constant companion of the small family farm , participated in the state of plain and expanding market of cheap wine.In 1860 viticulture represented 21.4 % of the cultivated area and thus occupied an important place among the cultures of the newly established Greek state.Especially since the raisin was ‘ auriferous ‘ cultivation because the currants , which then produced by world exclusive only to the free Greece and in three of the Ionian islands of Zakynthos, Kefalonia and Ithaki , was the main export product, with which ensured the necessary foreign currency to import grain.By 1911 the cultivation of the vine seems to be doubled while the raisin to rise by 3.5 times , mainly due to the annexation of new territories in the Greek state.They followed the Balkan Wars , the World War I , the Asia Minor catastrophe and our country for ten years was at war and traumatized by the Schism . All these turbulent years crops were neglected . The situation came to complement the phylloxera , the presence of which was first identified in the portal , east of Thessaloniki to1898 . As it was not possible to take action in those years , the evolution of the disease was rapid and devastating .Phylloxera imposed radical changes in world viticulture : abandonment of traditional planting techniques , uprooting vines and replanting with grafted plants , creating a multitude of technical problems ( finding the appropriate whenever the subject, place of grafting , new diseases , etc.) , but also a huge technical progress and technology.During the last decade of wars, vine growing is steadily increasing almost. After the 1929 increase shows and stafidokalliergeia not only due to the expansion of currants, but mainly thanks to a new variety stafidopoias, sultanas. Despite the increase, however, the proportion of vines has fallen by more than half, 11%, and a target time is the sitarkeia. The Peloponnese was always the largest vineyard region of Greece. On the other grape apartments, Macedonia had lost its interest in the vineyards.Regarding the techniques of viticulture, as applied by growers, the only information available from Ampelakioton testimonies, which are considered experienced growers and winemakers. Pruning is done in January or early February. Often after pruning and below the eyes created in the stem ring Bitumen for protection against insect larvae. Early also followed sulfuration and cleaning of blind shoots. The March was digging vines with Dikella the forks so as to reveal the trunk vine in some depth.This is achieved either with grooves , digging in the space between two rows or ‘ somersaults ‘ ( hills soil were between 4 vines in space (two on one and two of the next row). Then followed 3-4 sulfuration , in whole or in parts of the vineyard . May was the second digging ( leveling ) , the cleaning of the stems and the standard peaks , usually three knots over the second grape. Each tendril carried two grapes.It should be mentioned here that in 1937 established the Institute of Wine and Vine , which was not to start working only after 15 years in 1952 as Wine Institute , as had been withdrawn in the meantime, the competence study and investigation issues having a bearing on the vine as the plant. Its sister institution , the Institute of Vine was founded in 1961 .


The history of wine consists of a chain of events, closely interconnected, which affect one another in chronological direction from past to future.Current techniques used in viticulture and winemaking is almost entirely direct effects of the ancient technical evolution. Rapid technological development today, in all areas, in contrast with the intense superstition and ignorance of earlier cultures, significantly diversified its form of modern Oenology, its basic principles, however well founded sometime in the past.The theoretical science of the last decades, in many cases, simply confirmed the earlier findings, which were exported based solely on observation, comparison and experimentation.Nevertheless, however, emphasized again that it is regrettable that the Greek viticulture and enology, despite its long history, the unique wealth of information, texts, documents, archaeological finds and works of art, despite the fundamental role of wine in life of Hellenism minimum position it holds in the scientific literature, publishing and museological our activity.

Kostas Kissas