- May 25, 2018
- / Charlotte Gordon
- / Featured
Wine has a rich history dating back to around 6000 BC and is thought to have originated in areas now within the borders of Israel, Georgia and Iran. Wine probably appeared in Europe at about 4500 BC in what is now Bulgaria and Greece, and was very common in ancient Greece, Thrace and Rome. In medieval Europe, the Roman Catholic Church was a staunch supporter of wine since it was necessary for the celebration of Mass. In places such as Germany, beer was banned and considered pagan and barbaric, while wine consumption was viewed as civilized and a sign of conversion to Christianity. Monks in France made wine for years, storing it underground in caves to age.
Wine is usually made from one or more varieties of the European species Vitis vinifera, such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, or Merlot. When one of these varieties is used as the predominant grape (usually defined by law as a minimum of 75% or 85%), the result is a varietal, as opposed to a blended, wine. Blended wines are not considered inferior to varietal wines; in fact, some of the world's most valued and expensive wines, from regions like Bordeaux and the Rhone Valley, are blended from different grape varieties of the same vintage.
At the highest end, rare, super-premium wines are the most expensive of all food, and outstanding vintages from the best vineyards may sell for thousands of dollars per bottle. Such wines are considered by some to be Veblen goods—that is, goods for which demand increases instead of decreases as its price rises. The most common wines purchased for investment include those from Bordeaux, cult wines from California, and Vintage port.