Did Native Americans Invent Wine?

While there is some evidence of Native American alcohol consumption before European settlement, it seems to have been based on non-grape beverages- much of which were used solely in ceremonial context.

The earliest traces of winemaking culture have been found in two places- The eastern European country of Georgia around 6000 BC, and in China, around 1000 years before that.

The Chinese beverage seems to have been grape and rice-based, while Georgian wine was grape-based. 

It was the Greeks and Romans, though, who really started the ball rolling with winemaking as a larger-scale enterprise with regular production and quality goals. The Romans in particular spread their wine culture throughout the Empire as new lands were conquered, and Roman legions needed locally-sourced food and drink.

Any of the wine mentioned so far would have been very different from what we drink now. Varying methods of production, storage and transport gave wine of the time a distinctively funky or resinous character.

Customs of the time would often have wine mixed with other liquids, herbs and spices. Later in history, it would become common to pour a glass of full-strength wine, drink half and refill the glass with water repeatedly- creating an almost clear beverage by the end of the meal.

How far we have come.

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