Jeff’s Corner 9-14-18

Buenas Nachos,

Yesterday, in the tasting room before we got busy, Debbie and Eve asked me how wine was “discovered“ by civilization and how long it had been part of our history and culture.

 Well, that’s a pretty loaded question. J. Frank Dobie, the legendary University of Texas folklorist, wrote a great deal about the delicate dance between legend and history. He respected the reality of historical evidence, but his love for the past was based on oral history, folk tradition, and epic mythos.

So, with a nod to history, here’s some “facts” regarding the origin of wine:

8000 BC: Earliest evidence of wine production found in Colchis, now modern day Georgia
* 7000 BC: Residues of fermented honey discovered in China
1500-300 BC: Phoenicians spread Vitas Vinifera grapes throughout the Mediterranean
70 BC-500 AD: Romans spread Vinifera grapes throughout Europe

Now, with a nod to J. Frank Dobie, legend is much more fun. This is one of my favorite wine stories and was actually the tale I told in my very first “Jeff’s Corner” way back around July 2010.

The mysteries of the past are going to take us back thousands of years to ancient Persia. The Persians cultivated grapes to eat, and drank the fresh grape juice, but were not aware that the juice could be fermented into wine.

Enter a young woman in the King’s harem that, for some reason, had fallen out of favor. Her heart was so broken, she decided her only option was to take her life. The dilemma, however, was how to do herself in.

She spied an earthen jar full of grape juice labeled “poison”. It had been left a little too long after the grapes were crushed. It was foamy and bubbled and gave off a terrible smell. So, she drank a bunch of it.

Well, rather than her intended demise, she suddenly started to feel pretty darn good. She somehow convinced the King to try it, and lo and behold, he started to feel pretty darn good too! She quickly became his new favorite (Persian Kings were quite fickle), and we can only imagine what happened next…