What Was Wine Like in Ancient Times?

Wine is one of the oldest and most beloved alcoholic beverages in the world. It has been a part of human culture for thousands of years, with evidence of wine production dating back to ancient times.

But what was wine like in those days? Let’s take a journey through history and explore the origins of this beloved drink.

The Origins of Wine

The earliest evidence of wine production dates back to around 6000 BC in what is now Georgia. The process involved fermenting grapes in large clay pots known as qvevri. Over time, wine production spread throughout the Mediterranean region, with the ancient Greeks and Romans becoming major producers.

Ancient Greek Wine

In ancient Greece, wine was an integral part of everyday life. It was consumed at meals as well as during religious ceremonies and social gatherings. Greek wine was often mixed with water and spices to create a variety of different flavors.

One famous Greek wine was retsina, which had a distinctive pine resin flavor due to being stored in resin-lined barrels. Another popular variety was Chian wine, which was made on the island of Chios and known for its sweet taste.

Ancient Roman Wine

The ancient Romans were perhaps the most famous producers and consumers of wine in the ancient world. They believed that wine was essential to good health and drank it daily as a tonic.

Roman wines were often named after the region where they were produced, such as Falernian from Campania or Massic from Latium. They were also known for their love of sweet wines, which were made by adding honey or boiled-down grape must to the fermenting grapes.

The Role of Wine in Ancient Society

Wine played an important role in ancient society beyond just being a drink. It was used in religious ceremonies as an offering to the gods, and it was often given as a gift to important guests or used as payment for services rendered.

Wine also played a role in medicine, with ancient physicians prescribing it for a variety of ailments including indigestion and fever. And of course, it was a fixture at social gatherings, where it was consumed in large quantities and often accompanied by food and music.


While the specifics of ancient wines may be lost to time, we can be sure that they were an important part of daily life for people in the ancient world. From the earliest days of wine production in the Caucasus region to the height of Roman civilization, wine has been enjoyed and celebrated by people across cultures and throughout history.