Roman Wine

Wine, Glass, White, Grapes, Drinks

The Romans understood terroir and were very cautious about where they planted vines. It appears that there was an abundance of these in the Mediterranean region.

Roman wine production was heavily influenced by both the Etruscans and the early Greeks.

After harvesting the grapes, individuals would trample on them This might not have been hygienic, but it was the best way the Romans knew to press wine. After the trampling, the wine was transported to be pressed in a torculum or wine media. The grape juice was strained to eliminate the grape seeds and skins.

The next stage in the manufacturing process was to transfer the liquid to the enormous jars or amphorae in which it might ferment. Occasionally these vessels were buried in sand, soil, or water. Sometimes these juices were boiled before storing them in these vessels.

If the end result was to make a top quality vintage wine, the wine would stay in the vessels for between 10 and 25 years.

But, wine was usually left for between 9 days and a couple of months. This was Roman plonk!

Pliny the Elder wrote about the Roman way of producing growing and wine vines in his job,’Historia Naturalis’ interpreted as Natural History. He wrote that Italian wine has been the best in the world, or at least in the known world.

However, the Romans and their compatriots cornered the wine market, disallowing other competitors from other countries outside of what is now called Italy. So other nations like France, Spain and Portugal were not permitted, officially, to produce wine.

However, because the Roman Empire grew, the export value of wine would diminish, as grapes were cultivated in different parts of the empire, especially in what is now France and the Iberian peninsula.

The Romans drank wine at any time of day and night, but it was diluted with water as it had been more powerful than wines of today.

The Roman wine industry fell into decline along with the empire. Wine production continued, but it fell out of favour until the Renaissance, when there was a revival of interest in classical culture.

So wine from the Roman Empire had its ups and downs, but fortunately, the art of wine-making survived.


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