Did you ever wonder about the origin of the word “wine”? Why do we call this delectable drink a four letter word? Researchers have found that the word “wine” originated with the Pelasgian people who actually lived in the area of the Aegean Sea even before the Greeks did. The first time it appeared in written form was as the Greek word “oinos.” It is believed that the Greek word can be traced back to Dionysus, the god who first revealed the secret of wine to an ancient group of Greeks called Cretans. The use of wine itself dates back to about 8000 BC in an area of the world known as Georgia, Armenia, and Iran. It was known to be consumed in Europe for the first time around 4500 BC in the area of the Balkans.
Later, the Romans translated “oinos” into “vinum.” The Roman god Bacchus represented wine. Roman culture established the foundation for vineyard after vineyard in fortified towns, such as Bordeaux, Colchester, and Trier. By the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church had firmly integrated wine as a permanent part of the Eucharist celebration. As a matter of fact, monks produced wine and aged it in caves near their monasteries. Wine has a rich history in Judaism, particularly in the Kiddush. This is a blessing said over wine or grape juice to sanctify a Jewish holiday or the Shabbat. The blessing is translated as: “Praised be the Lord, our God, King of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.” On Passover during the Seder, women and men must drink four cups of wine, as required by a Rabbinic obligation.
A root louse caused the destruction of many European vineyards in the late 19th century. Only those in the driest regions of Southern Europe survived. Since North American grapes are resistant to this louse, many European vines have been grafted onto North American roots. Grafting is done in nearly every part of the world that has been exposed to this terrible insect. The only exceptions are Chile, the Canary Islands, and Argentina.
Whatever! It’s all Greek to me! Perhaps it would be best to raise a glass of wine and say, “A toast to your health” in German: “Ein Toast auf die Gesundheit,” and in Italian: “Un brindisi alla vostra salute.” That will make both my parents and their ancestors proud as they look down upon my work from above. God bless them, as well as all of my readers.Salute! oregon wine tours