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Wines: History, Tastings Guide, And How To Enjoy The Drink



History of WIne

A bottle of great wine and celebration go hand in hand. Any achievement or occasion in life -- whether it is an anniversary, a birthday, a promotion, wedding, graduation or just a simple get together -- a glass of one’s favorite wine is always present to be a grand witness as one celebrates with their loved ones on a special day.

But before wine became a popular drink of choice on momentous occasions (and other social gatherings for that matter), this well-loved beverage has quite a history to tell.

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History of Wine

Wine has been with us for a very long time. The history of wine and its usage even dates back before the great civilizations of antiquity.

The earliest archaeological proof of winemaking has been found in places like China (c. 7000 BC), Georgia (c. 6000 BC), Iran (c. 5000 BC), Greece (c. 4500 BC), and Sicily (c. 4000 BC). Recently, it has been confirmed that the oldest signs of wine production have been spotted in Armenia (c. 4100 BC).

The beginnings of wine predate written documents, and archaeologists are still baffled as they do not hold conclusive evidence as to how ancient people cultivated wild grapevines to make wine. The accepted theory today is that early humans picked and collected berries because of its pleasant sugary flavor. After a few days of having them in their containers, the juice at the bottom of their canisters produced a low-alcohol wine due to fermentation. But with the transition from a Nomadic lifestyle into a Sedentic one, it also led to the rise of agriculture, as well as, wine domestication.

Over the span of time, humans started to get better and better when it comes to viniculture and wine. As wine increased, the demand for it also increased. Since its discovery, many began to develop a love relationship with wine as they found many uses for it.


Wine for Food and Festivities

Earliest civilizations incorporated wine in their diet. The ancient Roman and Greek, as well as, nomadic Hebrew households used wine both for cooking and for a refreshing beverage. For Persians, a feast or a party is never complete when wine is not present.

Wine is also considered to be a fitting gift for Kings and Emperors for some cultures. Persians, for example, would offer wine and horses among others as a tribute to their leader (as seen in the photo below). Persians are famous in the ancient world for their love of wine, as well as for overindulgence of material wealth.




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Wine for Religious Uses

Apart from wine incorporated in food and revelry, ancient people also used wine for religious purposes.

Wine is a symbol of immortality, divinity, and fertility for the ancient Greeks. Dubbed by them as the drink of the gods, they considered drunkenness as an altered consciousness. No wonder the ancient Greeks worshipped the wine god Dionysus. The ancient Romans also carried on this practice. Known as the festival of Bacchanalia, ancient Romans raise their wine glass to their wine god, Bacchus.


Wine for Medicinal Purposes



The ancients also used wine for its medicinal properties. Historically used for a variety of illnesses such as curing a loss of appetite. Even the Bible agrees to this as Paul instructed Timothy, his son-in-the-faith, to drink wine to help him settle his stomach. If you want to appreciate wine in a biblical sense, read this article.

Wine for Industrial Process

Wine was used in the past for industrial purposes. The Article of Wikipedia’s History of Wine states that during the Golden Age, Muslim alchemists, such as Geber, pioneered wine's distillation for industrial intention such as the production of perfume (although Islam nominally forbade the consumption or production of wine).

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Years Later...

As more and more people produced and consumed wine, wine spread out all over the globe as a part of European expansion in the 15th century and onwards. Despite devastating events that attempted to stop wine domestication and growth such as the 1887 phylloxera louse infestation, man still found ways to make the delicious beverage. Now, modern science and technology has adapted new vinification ideas which gave birth to various wine varieties and flavors that many love and enjoy. See an educational timeline on how wine took over the world here.

Now, back to present time.

Just as wine colonized the world, it has also colonized our hearts. Our love for wine and its taste has reached down deep in our souls, where each glass or sip of wine helps make an enjoyable day. But how do we really taste wine and enjoy it?


How to Taste Wine

First, it is good to note there is no correct or incorrect way to taste wine. But, there is a method to taste wine that will help disclose your wine’s full potential, taste wise and flavorwise.

Here are 5 simple steps that will help you uncover the full taste of your wine, courtesy of your friends here at Social Scene. Just think of the 5 S’s: See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip, and Settle.

 1. See

The sense of sight involves the eyes. With the sense of sight, one can do a visual check of the wine under impartial lighting. According to Vinepair, you can tell a lot about the wine through its color. Its color can tell you how long the grapes have been in contact with their skin after they have been juiced. The longer the grapes have been in contact with their skins, the more it will influence the color of the wine.

Apart from color, through sight, you can also see the wine’s opacity and viscosity (or what we call wine legs). Through sight, you can see the wine bottle and get information such as its alcohol by volume, vintage and more.

Social Scene Tip: When looking at wine, it is best to hold it over a white or light surface so you can see the depth of color from the rim to the center of the glass. A white plate, a napkin or a white wall will suffice.

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 2. Swirl

How to taste wine

Now that the first step is out of the way, it is time to swirl the wine. Swirling the wine decants it, separating wine from its sediments (for older wine). As oxygen enters the wine through swirling, it opens up the wine to its full aroma and notes, softening up the stiff drink. However, don’t let the glass of wine sit for too long (6 hours or more), oxygen will oxidize the wine, thus ruining it. Here is a short video on how to swirl wine.

Social Scene Tip: Glasses for swirling wine differ for red and white varieties. Red wines are best swirled in a glass that is taller and has a wider mouth. This permits the aroma and flavors to emerge, as oxygen is introduced in the swirling. White wines, on the other hand, are best swirled in glasses with smaller and narrower mouths as one has to actually reduce how much oxygen gets into it, in order for one to get its best flavor.


3. Sniff

Best Ways To Taste Wine

After looking and swirling the wine, it is time to sniff it. By smelling the wine, you get to evaluate its aroma. Stick your nose in the glass and breathe in to pick up the aroma. Are there fruit, floral, or herb notes? How about nut husks or cheese rinds? Are there oak, vanilla, or roasted nuts? Smelling the wine helps you prepare what are you going to expect from tasting the wine.

Social Scene Tip: Alternately breathe in the wine in small, short sniffs at first. Then, allow yourself to smell the wine in slow, long sniffs. In this way, you won’t easily be overcome by the smell of the wine.

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4. Sip

Sipping includes our olfactory and gustatory perception when tasting wine. At this stage, people who observe wine with their tongues let the wine sit on their mouth for a bit. Some of them swish the wine around their mouths. The logic behind gargling wine like a mouthwash is to let the wine stay in your mouth and pick up any taste or smell from it.

From sipping we can detect whether the wine has a sweet, salty, sour, or bitter taste. Also by sipping, we can feel the wine’s texture, whether it is rich, drying, or the like. One can also taste the length or lingering effect of the wine -- whether there is a beginning, mid-palate, and/or finish.

 Social Scene Tip: Another good technique to remember is to take a larger sip of wine followed by several smaller sips. This method is helpful in segregating and spotting out the flavors.


5. Settle your opinion

Now that you get to see, swirl, smell, and sip the wine. It's time to evaluate or settle your opinion. Is the wine a yay or nay for you? Balance-wise, was the wine too tannic or too alcoholic? What made it stand out and impress you? In this step, you get to conclude how you enjoyed the wine.

Social Scene Tip: Once your opinion is settled and the wine profiled, it's time to go to the next wine and do the same steps all over again!

 Once you get into wine tasting, you might want to begin exploring and tasting other wine brands and their different varieties as well. If this is something you are interested in, then embark in a good wine tasting event. Not sure if you need an awesome wine tasting affair now? Then you be sure to read this.

If you want to go to a wine tasting event, here are some important elements that you need to know to spot a good one.


Elements of a Good Wine Tasting Event

Good Wine Tasting Events

Your friends at Social Scene has gathered the top 5 components that constitutes a great wine tasting event. Here they are:


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1. Preparation

For any event to be awesome, it takes a lot of preparation, and a wine tasting event is no exception.

When you are participating in a wine tasting event, if you see a great line up of different wines to try, then it means the host is prepared to have the event. Of course, with great wine, comes with great number of glasses. :-)

Not only wines and glasses, but the event has to have food that is paired best with the wine served. Suggested food to pair with wine are an assortment of cheese, as well as, bread and crackers. The atmosphere and how the place is organized is also a tell tale sign of a well-prepared wine tasting event.


2. Service

According to Kelly Meeker of Meeker’s Vineyard, a pourer to 15 attendees is a good number for a good wine tasting event. While the pourers pour, others can focus on sharing information and answering questions.


3. Information


Best Wine Tastings

Another part of a good wine tasting event is the information shared about the wine. An example of great info would be the details about the wine, how it’s grown, and what makes it unique compared to other wines of the same kind.


4. Environment

The ambiance makes a great contributor to a great wine tasting event. Ambiance transports guests to the wonderful world of wine. Couple that with music and you are set to have a great time at that event.

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5. R.G.

No, this doesn’t mean romantic gesture. This means responsible and generous. Hosts should be gracious and generous enough so that the guests don’t feel hanging, unfulfilled, and shortchanged for what they’ve spent after the event. The host should also be responsible enough to firmly prohibit intoxicated guests to have more drink, and, also to make sure all guests have a safe ride home.


6. YOU!

You’ve heard it right, YOU! The guests are the most important chunk to make any event successful. No matter how prepared the event is, if the guests don’t come, it is a flop! To make a wine tasting event a wonderful experience, one has to keep an open mind and share their views about that particular wine.

As guests, it would be nice to keep track with your favorite wine through a tasting card. Or if you are electronically savvy, vote for your favorite wine via host’s social media’s hashtag or page.

Cheers to Attending More Tastings!

Cheers To Wine Tastings

To engage the senses with wine, why not start a wine tasting group with some of your closest friends? Or maybe check in with your local wineries? They may have wine tours and tastings offered. Even better, why not check out and attend any of the series of Social Scene’s Chicago Sparkling Wine and Rose in 2019? It might be true that tasting is subjective, it's always great to examine and compare observations with fellow tasters to help you gather new insights and widen the horizon of your understanding when it comes to wines, plus it's a New Year affair!


Photo Resources:

Free Photos from Pixabay and Unsplash.comhttps://www.livemint.com/rf/Image-621x414/LiveMint/Period2/2017/04/22/Photos/Processed/Smell-k00H--621x414@LiveMint.jpg

By Phillip Maiwald (Nikopol) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8703131

By anonymous, italian, Manoscritto Casanatense 4182 14th-century - book scan, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2521517









Isis Macaraeg

Professional Content Writer

Social Scene



Topics: wine, wine tastings, wine festival, History of wine, wine events, How to taste wine, Elements of a good wine tasting event, wine content, Beer Wine Spirits Content