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WINE (Lat. vinum, Gr. oivos)

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Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 717 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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WINE (Lat. vinum, Gr. oivos), a term which when used in its modern sense without qualification designates the fermented product of grape juice. The fermented juices of other fruits or plants, such as the date, ginger, plum, &c., are also termed wine, but the material from which the wine is derived is in such cases also added in qualification. The present article deals solely with wine derived from the grape (see VINE). Historical.—The art of viticulture or wine-making is a very ancient one. In the East it dates back almost as far as we have historical records of any kind. In Egypt and in Greece the introduction of wine was ascribed to gods; in Greece to Dionysus; in Egypt to Osiris. The Hebrews ascribed the art of wine-making to Noah. It is probable that the discovery that an intoxicating and pleasant beverage could be made from grape juice was purely accidental, and that it arose from observations made in connexion with crushed or bruised wild grapes, much as the manufacture of beer, or in its earliest form, mead, may be traced back to the accidental fermentation of wild honey. In ancient times the cultivation of the vine indicated a relatively settled and stable form of civilization, inasmuch as the vine requires a considerable maturation period. It is probable, therefore, that viticulture was introduced subsequent to the raising of cereal crops. The Nabataeans were forbidden to cultivate the vine, the object being to prevent any departure from their traditional nomadic habits. The earliest examples of specific wines of which we have any record are the Chalybou wine, produced near Damascus, in which the Phoenicians traded in the time of Ezekiel (xxvii. 18), and which at a later date was much appreciated by the Persian kings; and the wines from the Greek islands (Chios, Lesbos, Cos). With regard to the introduction of the vine into other parts of Europe, it appears that it was brought to Spain by the Phoenicians, and to Italy and southern Gaul from Greece. In the earliest Roman times the vine was very little cultivated in Italy, but gradually Rome and Italy generally became a great wine country. At a later date the republic sought to stimulate its home industry by prohibiting the importation of wine, and by restricting its cultivation in the colonies, thus preserving the latter as a useful market for Italian wines. According to Pliny, Spanish, Gallic and Greek wines were all consumed in Rome during the 1st century of the Christian era, but in Gaul the production of wine appears to have been limited to certain districts on the Rhone and Gironde. The cultivation of the vine in more northern parts (i.e. on the Seine and Moselle) was not commenced until after the death of Probus. Owing no doubt to the difficulties of transportation, wine was, in the middle ages, made in the south of England, and in parts of Germany, where it is now no longer produced (cf. Hehn, Culturpflanzen, &c., and Monlmsen, ROmische Geschichte, v. 98 et seq.). We know very little of the ancient methods of cultivating the vine, but the Romans—no doubt owing to the luxuriant ease with which the vine grows in Italy—appear to have trained it on trees, trellis work, palisades, &c. The dwarf form of cultivation now common in northern Europe does not appear to have obtained to any extent. It seems likely that the quality of the wine produced in ancient times was scarcely comparable to that of the modern product, inasmuch as the addition of resin, salts and spices to wine was a common practice. With regard to the actual making of the wine, this does not appear to have differed very much in principle from the methods obtaining at the present day. Plastering appears to have been known at an early date, and when the juice of the grapes was too thin for the production of a good wine, it was occasionally boiled down with a view to concentration. The first wine receptacles were made of skins or hides, treated with oil or resin to make them impervious. Later, earthenware vessels were employed, but the wooden cask —not to mention the glass bottle—was not generally known until a much later period. Production.—The total wine production of the world, which, of course, fluctuates considerably from year to year, amounts to roughly 3000 million gallons. France and Italy are the chief wine-producing countries, the former generally producing rather more than the latter. During the phylloxera period Italy in some years had the greater output (e.g. 1886-1888 and 18go-1892). The average production of the chief wine-producing countries will be gathered from the following table: Wine Production. Average Annual Production in Millions of Gallons for Quinquennial Periods. Period. Country. 1891–1895. 1896–1900. 1901–1905. France 770 988 1126 Italy 674 689 84o Spain 521 412 390 Portugal 74 123 105 Austria-Hungary I13 12o 178 Germany 49 64 74 The United States produces roughly 50, Bulgaria and Rumania each 40 and Servia 10 million gallons. The United Kingdom produces no wine, but the Cape and the Australian Common-wealth each produce some 5 million gallons. The variation from year to year in the quantity of wine produced in individual countries is, of course, far greater than that observed in the case of beer or spirits. Thus, owing to purely climatic vagaries, the quantity of wine produced in Germany in 1891 was only 16 million gallons, whereas in 1896 it amounted to III millions. Similarly the French production, which was 587 million gallons in 1895, amounted to no less than 1482 millions in 1900. In the same way the Italian production has varied between 583 million gallons (1895) and 793 millions (1901), and the Spanish between 331 million gallons in 1896 and 656 millions in 1892. Consumption.—It is only natural that the consumption of wine should be greatest in the countries where it is produced on the largest scale, but the discrepancy between the consumption ofdifferent countries is little short of astonishing. Thus, at the present time, the consumption per head in France is practically a hundred times that of the United Kingdom and twenty times that of Germany--the latter, it must be remembered, being itself an important wine-producing area. The following table will give some idea of the relative consumption of wine in different countries: Average Consumption of Wine per Head of Population. Period. Country. 1891-1895. 1896-1900. 1901-1905. France Gallons. Gallons. Gallons. 23.0 28.8 30.8 Italy 20.6 20.0 25.1 Spain 21.1 16.4 18.5 Portugal 11 .o 20.3 17. I Austria-Hungary 2.9 3.2 3.9 Germany . . 1.19 1.38 1.45 United States . 0.30 0'32 0.43 British Empire 0.37 0.40 0.32 United Kingdom Australia I•09 I•I2 1.30 Caper . . 1 Has varied between I.9 and 3.7. The whole of the wine consumed in the United Kingdom is imported. On the average somewhat more than one-third of the wine imported is derived from France, and about a quarter from Spain and Portugal respectively. Wines imported into the United Kingdom in rpo6. From Nature of Wines. Quantity. Value. France . . . Claret, burgundy, (Gallons). £ champagne, &c. 4,105,302 2,221,423 Portugal . . Chiefly port . 3,707 3771 1,099,727 Spain . . . Sherry,tarra- gona, &c. . . 2,808,751 397,840 Germany 2 Hock, 1,268,662 729,002 Italy Netherlands , Moselle . 243,247 42,513 Total for foreign .. countries .. 12,356,425 4,094,672 Australia .. 622,836 I oo,161 Total British possessions . .. 777,689 123,891 1 The quantity of port received was exceptionally large. The average quantity is rather under 3 million gallons and the value about £85o,000. 2 A consider=ble proportion of the German wines come to the United Kingdom via the Netherlands. Of the wines imported from France, about one-quarter was Champagne and Saumur, the remainder consisting almost entirely of still wines, such as claret and burgundy.
End of Article: WINE (Lat. vinum, Gr. oivos)
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