History and tradition in a bottle

Posted on: 3rd November, 2014

Category: The Wine Buff

Contributor: Tony Eklof

Tony Eklof, originally from New England, has settled in Clonakilty after a career as a librarian at University College Dublin. His knowledge and passion for wine has been inspired by frequent visits to the wine growing regions of the continent, particularly Italy and France. westcorkwinebuff@gmail.com

Some appreciation of the long history and tradition associated with wine and wine making might help to enhance the enjoyment of your evening glass of wine. There is archaeological evidence of wine making in Georgia in the Caucasus and in ancient Persia as far back as 5000 BC. Evidence of a winery, complete with wine press, vats and jars has been uncovered in Armenia, dating from 4,100 BC. Myths and stories involving wine abound in the Bible, in Greek mythology, and in Persian legends. Wine culture thrived in Greece and there was even a God of wine, Dionysus, later known in Rome as Bacchus. Did you know that the modern names Dion, Dionne, and the Russian Deniska are all derived from Dionysus as is the popular Cork name Dennis!

The ancient Phoenecians with their impressive trade routes played a major role in spreading wine technology throughout the entire Mediterranean area.

It was during the Roman Empire that the great wine producing areas of Italy and the former Roman provinces were established.

Wine became a common part of the Roman diet, (for men, but not for women!)

During the Middle Ages a split between north and south developed whereby in the south wine drinking became widespread as the cultivation of grapes increased, while in the north the drink of the common man was more likely to be beer or ale. It was during this time that many religious orders, such as the Benedictines, the Carthusians and the Templars became important producers of wine.

Not surprisingly the old world wine producing countries pay more heed to tradition than their new world counterparts. I was fortunate enough to find myself in Saint Emilion one Autumn and witnessed the impressive official opening of the harvest by colourfully robed ‘Jurats’ who gather at the top of a castle each year for the ‘Harvest Proclamation’, a tradition dating back to 1199.

So after considering all this, a Bordeaux wine dating back to the glorious vintage of 1995 doesn’t seem so old after all. However, I wouldn’t recommend anything from the 4,100 BC vintage — it is bound to have gone off.


Recommendations: Villa Sparina Gavi di Gavi, 2012 — Delicious dry Italian white in an attractive, distinctive bottle. €12 on special in SuperValu, Clonakilty. Mayne de Beauregard, Bergerac, 2013. — Young, very drinkable red Bordeaux type wine from one of my personal favourite regions. On offer in Marks and Spencer, Cork, around €10.

Latest News Articles:

Global Shares to create 80 new jobs
Ford 100 Fest on Ford family farm to mark 100 years of Ford in Ireland
A Taste of West Cork Food Festival launches delectable programme
Healing with a harp
Plan the perfect wedding day at the Fota Island Resort Wedding Forum
Clutching at straws for Coalition
Lee’s and Nils: West Cork clubs in the city
The walk of a lifetime
West Cork farmers take gold at National Farmer of the Year Awards
Shining success for Union Hall Centra store at 2017 Quality Awards

Join us on Facebook

This year Wild Atlantic Tag sponsored by Marine Harvest will take place in Adrigole on Saturday August 5th. All are welcome, whether you are a team entry or an individual looking to join a team. The teams will be divided into two sections, Social & Seriously Social! Please contact Sean (0879568363) or Joey (0879865827) to register. It promises to be great craic with plenty of refreshments available pre and post-match! Fantastic local musician Eoghan McEllhenny will entertain the rugby masses from 4.30pm followed by Peadar O’Callaghan and renowned Natural Gas will round off the night from 9.30pm! ... See MoreSee Less

14th July, 2017  ·  

A woodland walk will take place on the 22nd June at 7pm in Glengarriff Nature Reserve. This is a great opportunity to learn about woodlands, their plants and wildlife and is an opportunity not to be missed. Glengarriff Nature Reserve was designated as a Nature reserve in 1991, and covers over 300 acres in size. It is a beautiful and unique woodlands containing many different habitats and is owned and managed by NPWS primarily for conservation and amenity purposes. The event is led by National Parks Ranger Clare Heardman and has been organised by Cork Nature Network For further information please contact events@corknaturenetwork.ie ... See MoreSee Less

19th June, 2017  ·  

Union Hall lifeboat Station are looking for a volunteer lifeboat training coordinator. See poster for details. ... See MoreSee Less

13th June, 2017  ·  

Jump to: