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Vinum ( Wine ) making in Ancient Rome is one of the most famous  Roman inventions that impacted the ancient world and the modern world. The Roman Empire, its culture, inventions, creations, emperors, and the whole Roman era had been known to impact the ancient world in one way or the other. 

Their invention of Wine proved to be the most famous as it had its role both in celebration times and in grief. However, wine production and consumption were recognized before the 2nd Century BC in the ancient world, mainly in Italy.

Winemaking (according to archaeological data from the University of PA)can be traced back to around 3500 BC in Mesopotamia. The evidence is based on analyzing the DNA of grape residue found in clay vessels.

For Romans, it became one of the main productions only during the 2nd Century after defeating Carthage and expanding the territory of the Roman Empire. Southern Italy, which was under the control of the Greeks, came under the control of Rome during 270 BC and along came the wine-making culture.

The Romans learned winemaking from previous cultures. But what is so vital about the Romans is that they took vines with them as they marched through North Africa and Europe and parts east.

The wine produced was made of a particular fruit, wild grape, cultivated in the Mediterranean region. With the expansion of the Roman territory, they grew wild grapes by establishing massive vineyards in Italy.

The vineyards were looked after and taken care of by the slaves of the Roman Empire. They were responsible for the efficient and healthy growth of the wild grapes.

Along with the expansion of the cultivation, the trade also took its hike due to the high demand for Roman wine. The import of foreign wine began to decrease, decreasing the price of wine produced locally.

However, the wine market took over other products leading to the shortage of primary food, crops, and vegetable cultivation. Dissatisfied with the deficit, Emperor Domitian destroyed the vineyards around 92 AD and announced the ban on the cultivation of new vines.

When was Wine first produced in Ancient Rome?

The first evidence of wine production in Ancient Rome was in 312 AD, during the visit of Emperor Constantine to the Roman city. The archaeological evidence of Gallo-Roman vineyards in the chalk hillsides, Sancerre proved Roman’s propensity for planting and cultivating vineyards on hillsides.

According to Pliny the Elder, an Ancient Roman author,  the center of the wine production was the city of Pompeii. The Pompeians produced wine to honor and offer their god of wine, Bacchus. They would consume wine while worshipping their god and also during festivals.

The Pompeians’ impact on winemaking has touched the modern period as well, and the scientists are following the procedure used by them to produce similar quality wine.

They are trying to cultivate the grapes and replant the correct plants used in making wine. They are also using tools used by the Romans, brooms, and canes to fasten the vines.

 How did the Romans make wine?

The production of wine in ancient Rome was a crucial process that used barrels and a unique way of cultivation. They used specific steps and procedures to produce wine from the wild grapes cultivated in their vineyards.

The first step was to collect the riped grapes after harvesting and stomp with the foot to produce maximum juice from the ripped grapes. The juice collected would then be placed in large terracotta pots, large enough to fit a man.

They would then leave the pots open during fermentation and then sealed with resin or clay. The wine produced this way did not taste pleasant if drank directly without mixing anything else to it.

The wine had to be mixed with seawater, warm water, medicinal herbs, or spices, as per the consumer’s taste.

What were the Medical Uses of Wine in Ancient Rome?

The wine for Romans acted as a medicine to heal and control mental disorders. People suffering from depression, grief, bloating, gout, constipation, urinary problem, and memory loss were recommended to consume wine to be cured.

The Wine mixed with manure, hellebore, ashes cured better than plain wine itself. Galen, the Greco-Roman physician, also came up with numerous details about wine’s use in the medical field.

He was in charge of the gladiator’s diet and nutrition plan and offered wine to them during practices. It served as the antiseptic for wounds and was also used in surgeries.

However, they were aware of the adverse effects of consuming wine as it led to madness, losing control, unconsciousness, anger, quarreling, and also magnified psychological defects.

One of the most famous legends related to the adverse effects of wine is when Mark Antony drank an excessive amount of wine, ending up vomiting in the Senate.

What were the Different Types of Wine in Ancient Rome?

Roman produced two types of wine, red wine, and white wine. However, they were subdivided into dry red wine, sweet red wine, dry white wine, and sweet white wine.

The red wine was considered better than the white wine and was offered only to upper-class people. At the same time, red wine was made available for lower-class people, including slaves.

Posca and Lora were two kinds of wines made available for the middle and lower-class Roman population. They were made from wasted wine or stale wine and costs lower prices comparatively.

While the most famous Falerno Wine made in the Campania region was for the upper-class, the other wines produced included Caecuban, Rhaeticum, Hadrianum, and Alban wine.

The pricing of the wine was done according to the age of the wine. The older the wine, the higher its price would be regardless of its quality.

However, the wine industry had to face a massive loss after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius as it destroyed the vineyards, and also the cost of wine had to rise, and only the wealthy could afford it.

What were different occasions for the Romans to consume wine?

Wine was one of the vital ingredients for the Romans. It was a must both in religious celebration and funerary practices. The wine was most consumed during the worship of their wine god, Bacchus, where everyone took at least a sip of the wine, including young children.

The wine was a daily necessity for the Romans, and it was made available to everyone, including slaves, peasants, aristocrats, and women. The average consumption of wine in Ancient Rome reached up to 250 liters per year.

Conclusion:

Romans were the earliest influencers of viticulture or wine cultivation. The wine making influenced Spain, France, Germany, Portugal, Italy, and the modern world.

The wines available in the market today have been influenced by the process and steps applied by the Romans. Also, the types of wine found today have some influence on ancient Roman wines.