The development of wine parallels that of western civilization. Evidence of its production has been found dating back to before the Bronze Age (between 3,500 and 2,900 BC). Vines were cultivated widely in Egypt around 3,000 BC, and there is ample evidence that not only was wine consumed in its region of origin, it was used as trade goods and shipped to foreign destinations.
Wine has, through the ages, affected our political and religious beliefs. Some civilizations formed religious cults devoted to its promotion and in others it is still used as a key element of religious ceremony. For centuries wine has been used as a way of establishing its owner's social status, as a key social beverage, as part of the economy (both through its production and sale and because of viticulture's impact on communities and regions), and as a trade commodity.
From its start in Mesopotamia winemaking has spread across the globe. From Italy to Australia wine production has undergone a massive boom over the past few decades. As a result, there are an increasing number of varieties to enjoy. The primary grape species behind this boom is Vitis vinifera (and of the thousands of cultivars only about 30 are cultivated regularly, and of these only 12 or so are considered premium).
Wines are crafted from a single grape variety, or blends of two or more grape varieties (as in a Cabernet/Shiraz blend). They can be red, white, sparkling (and Champagne), or rosé. Each is enjoyed with different menus and for different occasions.
Each of the world's major wine producing regions has a different story to tell about the development of its individual wines, and these involve as much politics as agriculture and geography. The sun, the soil and the seasons mix with the stories of immigrants plying century old skills in a new land, of taxation, and of the complexities of international trade to create the history and romance behind a great wine's label. Our suppliers' stories bear this out.