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Greek Wine History

The history of Greek wine covers a remarkably long period of time in the annals of History. When it comes to vine cultivation and wine production on an uninterrupted basis, that period is the longest one worldwide. The beginnings of winegrowing in the Greek domain lay behind recorded history and are lost in the mists of time.


Wine grape vines are self-sown in Greece, and evidence of their existence can be traced to times even beyond the Ice Age. Vine growing and wine making in Greece are among the oldest activities of humankind in prehistoric times (4500-1050 AD).

During the Bronze Age, in the 2nd millennium BC which followed the Cycladic civilization that flourished in the Aegean, two of the most important civilizations of prehistoric times developed, where wine played a central role both as a tradable commodity and as a foodstuff. In the first one, Crete’s Minoan civilization, which spread to the Aegean islands around Crete, vine and wine were a main cultivation and chief export, respectively. Since then, winegrowing has continued steadily on the island where archaeological excavations have unearthed the world’s oldest wine press and vessels bearing traces of wine. Then flourished the Mycenaean civilization, based in Mycenae, Peloponnese, which dominated in southern Greece and the Mediterranean in the second half of the 2nd millennium, after the devastating eruption of the volcano of Thera (Santorini). The kings of Mycenae showed their appreciation of wine by enjoying it in specially crafted golden wine cups as those found at Vafio (15th c. BC). Inscriptions written in the deciphered Linear B and found at Pylos, Messinia, contain an ideogram especially reserved for wine where the words “Dionysus”, and “Vinos” are visible -the latter being the source of words pertaining to the word ‘wine’ such as oenos, vinum, vin, vino, wine and wein.It is during this time period (13th century BC) that historians place the Greeks joining forces in their campaign against Troy and Odysseus’ legendary return journey to the home island of Ithaca.


By the Archaic period, in the 7th century BC, winegrowing has spread throughout the Greek realm since both climate and soil favor it. As the cult of Dionysus continued to gain ground, the Dionysian celebrations gave birth to dramatic poetry, theater, and ancient Greek tragedy.


The Golden Age of Athens (5th century BC) is part of the Classical period (480-323 BC). It was an age which has become interwoven with perfection and timelessness; with the birth of democracy and philosophy; with the building of the Parthenon, and with Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine” and so much more; it was the age of great classical writers, tragedists, and philosophers whose works and deeds sang the praises of Greek wine; it was the age of the greatest wines of antiquity; it was a time when, by the standards of that time, international wine commerce experienced its most remarkable growth ever. Transactions were often carried out with “wine” coinage as payment and advanced viticultural and winegrowing means and techniques were being firmly established.

In the 4th century BC, which is also part of the Classical period, with Athens still clashing with Sparta and other Greek city-states, the leadership of the Greek realm would pass to another Greek region, Macedonia, and its king Philip. He and Alexander the Great, his son and successor, were great admirers of Greek wines.

As of the middle of the 2nd century BC, during the Roman period (146 BC-324 AD) Greece was under Roman rule. On encountering Greek culture, the Romans would adopt many a Greek cultural elements out of which the “Graeco-Roman” civilization would emerge. Among those cultural elements were winegrowing and winemaking techniques which constituted the origins of Roman wines.

Eminent Roman poets and distinguished writers of the time would sing the praises of Greek wines in their work. Among them, Horace lauded Homer and his epics by referring to him as Homerus vinosus.

Two important Greek doctors, Dioskourides and, later, Galenos, following in the footsteps of Hippocrates, pointed towards the value wine had as a therapeutic means and favorably commented on the plethora of Greek wines as well as on the wine’s exceptional quality.

Greek wine and culture are two concepts inextricably linked to each other. Today’s wine world owes Greece for its contribution to elevating wine within History to the status of a “work of art” and transfiguring it into a vehicle for culture. Today’s wine world owes Greek wine culture for turning winegrowing into a systematic field encompassing unique vinification techniques and for crafting wines from a diverse background of grape varieties, types, and appellations, among other things: practices which lay the ground for a global wine culture as enjoyed today by contemporary wine lovers.

그리스 와인은 그리스 연대기에서도 찾아 볼 수 있을 만큼 오래된 전통과 역사를 자랑합니다. 포도 경작과 와인 제조에 있어 그리스 와인은 세계에서 가장 오래된 역사를 가지고 있습니다

그리스 와인 제조의 시작은 역사가 기록되기 이전으로 거슬러 올라갑니다. 그리스에서 포도는 빙하기 때부터 자연 경작되었으며 선사기의 사람들이 이것을 포도주로 만들기 시작했습니다. 이후 키클라데스 문명이 발전하면서 그리스인들은 와인을 상품화하여 거래하기 시작했고, 이것이 지중해를 통해 주변 국가로 뻗어나가게 되었습니다.

미케네의 왕은 황금으로 만들어진 컵으로만 와인을 마셨을 만큼 그것을 신성시 했습니다. 메시니아에서 발견된 고대 선형문자에는 포도주의 신 ‘디오니소스’에 대한 이야기가 적혀 있습니다. 그리스인들이 와인을 가리켜 부르던 ‘비노스(Vinos)’는 후에 서구 세계에 문명과 와인이 함께 전파되면서 빈(Vin), 비노(Vino), 봐인(Wein), 와인(Wine)등 다양한 이름으로 불리게 되었습니다.

아테네가 문화적 황금기를 맞았을 때 많은 철학자와 시인들이 그들의 시와 노래에서 와인에 대한 애정을 노래했습니다. 그와 동시에 유럽세계에서 와인 거래가 급속도로 발전하면서 그리스는 와인 제조 방식과 공정을 갖춘 정식 와이너리들을 만들어내기에 이릅니다.

 와인을 사랑했던 마케도니아의 필리프왕과 알렉산더 대왕의 시대를 거쳐, 로마가 그리스를 통치하는 시대가 오게 되었습니다. 그리스의 발전된 문화를 접한 로마인들은 그것에 찬탄하며 그리스의 것을 빠르게 흡수해 그들의 문화에 접목, 발전시켰습니다. 이때 로마인들은 그리스의 와인 재배, 제조 방식 역시 받아들여 로마 와인의 기초를 세웠습니다. 호메로스 서사시 등 로마인들의 시에서 그리스 와인에 대한 이야기를 쉽게 찾아볼 수 있는 것은 바로 이 때문입니다.

 이후 유명한 고고학자들과 히포크라테스, 소크라테스, 아리스토텔레스의 역사를 연구하는 많은 이들에 의해 그리스 와인에 대한 기록, 특히 뛰어난 맛과 향, 품질, 그 효능에 관한 기록들이 발굴 되어지고 있습니다.


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