Wine, Women, and Song-- The Ancient Three
Having the god of wine inside you really did take away your cares!
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Wine News Feed
Civilizing  Influence
Early History
Other Ancient Intoxicants
Moslem prohibtion
Moderate Drinkers  live longer 
More about Wine at The French Paradox

Click on the bull to see's Dionysian revelries.


 This jar, called an amphora, held a mixture of wine and water that was served to guests at an all-male drinking party called a symposium. [click pic for better view of satyrs making wine]
Wine gives courage and makes men more apt for passion.

Ovid Ars Amatoria

“No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, ‘The old is better.’” --- Luke 5:39
"Forsake not an old friend; for the new is not comparable to him: a new friend is as new wine; when it is old, thou shalt drink it with pleasure." --- Apocrypha, Ecclesiasticus 9:10
Wine brings to light the hidden secrets of the soul, gives being to our hopes, bids the coward flight, drives dull care away, and teaches new means for the accomplishment of our wishes." --- Horace
How much better is thy love than wine!
The Song of Solomon, 4:10

Like the best wine . . . that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.
The Song of Solomon, 7:9
Wine is life." --- Petronius, Roman writer
Wine that maketh glad the heart of man.
The Book of Psalms, 104:15
Wine is a peep-hole on a man.
Alcaeus c. 625 - c. 575 B.C.
Fragment 104
I am falser than vows made in wine.
William Shakespeare 1564 - 1616
As You Like It [1599 - 1600], act III, sc. v, l. 73
There's nothing serious in mortality.
All is but toys; renown and grace is dead,
The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees
Is left this vault to brag of.
William Shakespeare
Macbeth, II. iii. (100)
"wine expands, unites, and says Yes: it brings the votary from the chill periphery of things to the radiant core: it makes him for the moment one with truth.' [William James]
Marques Del Merito Art Print by Lluis Ribas
He who loves not wine, women and song remains a fool his whole life long.
Martin Luther, 1777
"Wine cheers the sad, revives the old, inspires the young, makes weariness forget his toil."
Lord Byron
Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter,
Sermons and soda-water the day after.
Lord Byron
Don Juan
Give me women, wine and snuff
Until I cry out 'hold, enough!'
You may do so san objection
Till the day of resurrection;
For bless my beard then aye shall be
My beloved Trinity.
John Keats
Women, Wine and Snuff
Wino Forever
Johnny Depp
(The tattoo once read 'Winona Forever'!)
Bacchus we thank who gave us wine
Which warms the blood within our veins;
That nectar is itself divine.
The man who drinks not, yet attains
By godly grace to human rank
Would be an angel if he drank.
Pierre Motin
French drinking song
Days of wine and roses laugh and run away,
Like a child at play.
Johnny Mercer (1909-1976)
Days of Wine and Roses
Souls of poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?
Have ye tippled drink more fine
Than mine host's Canary wine?
John Keats (1795–1821)
Lines on the Mermaid Tavern
The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Wine rejoices the heart of man and joy is the mother of all virtues.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1771
I like best the wine drunk at the cost of others.
Diogenes the Cynic
There is a devil in every berry of the grape.
The Koran
The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
William Butler Yeats 1865 - 1939
The Green Helmet and Other Poems [1910], A Drinking Song


 The wines that one best remembers are not necessarily the finest tasted or highest quality produced but rather those drunk in a more favorable atmosphere surrounded by delightful company.
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Vanguard of Civilization
Around 2500 B.C. Egyptian trade with the isle of Crete passed along the secret  of wine making.

Prior to this fateful expansion in Mediterranean trade, the art of wine making belonged to the Egyptians. Making due with a poor growing climate, Egyptian wine was frail and could not be made in large enough quantities for the masses. It was a delicacy of the Pharaoh, and the Gods.
“The peoples of the Mediterranean began to emerge from barbarism when they learnt to cultivate the olive and the vine.”
--- Thucydides, Greek Historian, 5th century BCE.

Everything changed for wine when it landed in the hands of the Greeks. This single event in the evolution of wine, more than any other, would define its role on Earth for the next four thousand years. It was in Greece - and by extension Rome, that wine would become a drink of the people and begin a spontaneous and rapid expansion throughout the world.

Amphorae were invented by the ancient Greeks and adopted by the Romans as the principal means for transporting and storing wine, oil, olives, grain, fish, and other commodities. They were produced on an industrial scale from Greek times and used around the Mediterranean until about the 16th century.

Dionysus promises an expression of the sensual joys of life unrestrained by the state and untrammeled by the patriarchal family.
When people were drunk, acting or in a state of religious ecstasy they were believed to be in the realm of Dionysus.  

Because of this divine beverage's power, experience has established that wine, which may provide strength in both mind and body, is a blessing only to those who use it with measure, and that is why Dionysus has been called "health-giver".
The Science of Healthy Drinking at amazon
'To Your Health!'
"Wine is at the head of all medicines; where wine is lacking, drugs are necessary." - Babylonian Talmud: Baba Bathra

Researchers comparing diets in western countries have discovered that although the French tend to eat higher levels of animal fat, surprisingly the incidence of heart disease remains low in France. They named this phenomenon the French Paradox. Many scientists now believe the reason is the greater consumption of red wine in France. Something in the grape helps to lower cholesterol levels in the body and thus slows the build up of deposits in the arteries. Compounds such as resveratrol have been discovered in grapes and these have been positively linked to fighting cancer, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease and other ailments. While only only red wine is fermented with the skins there are health benefits to drinking all wine and alcohol for that matter.
The benefits of moderate daily consumption of alcohol compared to total abstinence are many and widely documented

Yet some say that the god Bacchus himself defined the limits: mixing only 3 bowls of wine: the 1st to Health, the 2nd to Love and pleasure, and the 3rd to Sleep. The 4th bowl, they say, belongs to Violence; the 5th to Uproar, the 6th to Drunken Revel, and the 7th to Black Eyes. The 8th, they proceed, belongs to the Police, the 9th to Biliousness, and the 10th to Madness and hurling the furniture. All this is well known; for wine in reasonable quantities is fine, but too much drinking is followed by mockery, which is followed by filthy insult, which is followed by law-suit, which is followed by verdict, which is followed by chains and a fine, which leads us back to "wine is fine".

"It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one's present or future thirst; the excellence of the wine; or any other reason." -- Latin saying

"Drink wine, and you will sleep well. Sleep, and you will not sin. Avoid sin, and you will be saved. Ergo, drink wine and be saved." -- Medieval German saying

Drunken Dionysus

Mosaic from Antioch on the Orontes. Third century CE. Hatay Archaeological Museum, Antakya.

 According to the Orphics, when the young Dionysos was torn apart by the ferocious Titans, his blood splattered on the ground, and from that spot rose the vine, thick with clusters of red grapes, resembling the drops of blood that had been shed. The grapes, then, contain a part of Dionysos within them, and whenever we crush the grapes, and drink their juice, we are drinking the God. It was Dionysos who taught man the art of fermenting the juice of the vine, and how to pour libations during festivals
---Ovid's Fasti 3.727.

Roman Historian Pliny the Elder rated 121 B.C. as a vintage “of the highest excellence.” 

Odysseus on Dionysus & wine

Polyphemus 2: Who is this Dionysus? Is he worshipped as a god?
Odysseus: Yes, the best source of joy in life for mortals.
[Euripides, Cyclops 521]

"This is the effect of your wine—for wine is a crazy thing. It sets the wisest man singing and giggling like a girl; it lures him on to dance and it makes him blurt out what were better left unsaid."
 [Odysseus to Eumaeus 1. Homer, Odyssey 14.464]

Other intoxicants
It should not be forgotten that wine once more commonly included many other ingredients, herbal, floral and resinous, adding to the quality, flavour and medicinal properties of the drink. The cultivation of all these also originally came under the lore of Dionysos, making it a general vegetation cult and herbal school. Honey and bees wax were also added to early wine..  Greek wines, that would only have been 15% proof, has led some, including Robert Graves, to conclude some of its additives were of an hallucinogenic nature. The suggestion of  "magic potion" associated with the Dionysos rites, may have included poison ivy, "kykeon" (probably ergot ale), and possibly fly agaric mushrooms.  The Greeks also had knowledge of the properties of  datura, henbane and belladona.

The thyrus itself can be seen as a symbol of drug-taking. The fennel stalk, known as a narthex, was what Greek herbalists stored their plants in to keep them fresh. The pine cone came from a tree whose resin fermented, makes a powerful intoxicant and may well have been mixed with the wine.

Ivy, was once thought to negate the effects of drunkenness, and to be the opposite of the grapevine, blooming in winter rather than summer. The berries of ivy can be intoxicating without frementation.

The fig, thought to be a purgative of toxins, and the pine, a wine preservative, taken from the evergreen.

Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.
Ernest Hemingway
Death in the Afternoon

'Pour, Bacchus! the remembering wine;
Retrieve the loss of me and mine!

Vine for vine be antidote,
And the rape requite the lote!
haste to cure the old despair,
Reason in Nature's lotus drenched,
The memory of ages quenched.'

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Flavius Claudius Julianus, the last Pagan Emperor of Rome, put beer in its proper perspective:

"Can this be Dionysus? How the deuce!
Now, by the very Bacchus, in this guise
We do not recognize
The son of Zeus.
How came this goat-reek? Wine is nectar-scented.
The Celt from barley-tops, so We suppose,
For want of grapes and nose,
This brew invented.
Beer is no scion of the God ethereal,
No son of Semele to the lightning born,
But plain John Barley-corn."
In fact, a Cereal.

Dionysus and Kataragama:

Parallel Mystery Cults 

First noted by Ptolemy of Alexandria in the 2nd century AD

In the dry jungle of remote southeastern Sri Lanka lies Kataragama or Katir-kamam, the (place of) 'light and love-passion', a shrine complex of exceptional antiquity and sanctity that attracts many thousands of Buddhist, Hindu and even Muslim devotees year round, particularly during the fortnight-long Aesala festival in July-August, when a small casket believed to contain the secret of the god's birth—nay, the god himself—is taken out in solemn yet joyful torch lit procession nightly, escorted by his women-votaries and troupes of riotous dancers representing the animal, human, chthonic and heavenly spheres.
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King Tut Special


At the tomb of the boy-king,  Tutankhamun, discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter in Western Thebes, Egypt. The inscription on the jar reads: "Year 5. Wine of the House-of-Tutankhamun Ruler-of-the-Southern-On, l.p.h.[in] the Western River. By the chief vintner Khaa."

Scientists have detected wine in a jar from as far back as 5400 B.C., found at the site of Hajji Firuz Tepe in the northern Zagros Mountains of present-day Iran. But the earliest knowledge about wine cultivation comes from ancient Egypt, where the winemaking process was represented on tomb walls dating to 2600 B.C.

Also in ancient Egypt beer was a more frequent beverage than water, since it was trusted more to be germ-free and not nearly as expensive to produce.

Early History
The earliest scientific evidence of grapes is from 60-million-year-old fossil vines.
7,000 BC Republic of Georgia is regarded to be a homeland of wine . Wine has been made in the fertile valleys of Georgia for more than 7,000 years. However the earliest known evidence of a fermented wine-like drink is from the Chinese village of Jiahu dated from 6000 to 7000 BC.
Ancient pottery jars discovered at Hajji Firuz Tepe in the Zagros Mountains of present-day Iran, near the city of Urmia , indicate that grape wine was produced as far back as 5,500 BC.
The first written record of winemaking comes from a much more recent source, the Bible, which says Noah planted a vineyard after exiting the ark.
“And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard.” --- Genesis 9:20 This is thought to reference the first Cities found in Turkey following the Ice Age which ended about 10,000 BC.Grape presses dating to the late third millennium B.C. have been found at Titris Höyük in southeastern Turkey.
In Egypt a thriving royal winemaking industry had been established in the Nile Delta. The industry was most likely the result of trade between Egypt and Canaan during the Early Bronze Age, commencing from at least the Third Dynasty (2650 – 2575 BC), the beginning of the Old Kingdom period (2650 – 2152 BC).
1000-950 BC Ancient Greeks cultivate vineyards throughout Spain, Italy and the Greek Islands
Benefits of Moderate Drinking
Research extending back as far as 1926 has demonstrated that drinking in moderation is associated with greater longevity than is either abstaining or abusing alcohol. A wide body of studies suggest that moderate levels of alcohol consumption [1-3 drinks/day]can reduce stress; promote conviviality and pleasant and carefree feelings; and decrease tension, anxiety, and self-consciousness. In the elderly, moderate drinking has been reported to stimulate appetite, promote regular bowel function, and improve mood. The reduced risk of heart disease means moderate drinkers live longer than both abstainers and heavy drinkers.

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in a number of countries and in the United States heart disease kills about one million people each year. The Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has written that "numerous well-designed studies have concluded that moderate drinking is associated with improved cardiovascular health," and the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association reports that "the lowest mortality occurs in those who consume one or two drinks per day." The World Health Organization Technical Committee on Cardiovascular Disease asserted that the relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and reduced death from heart disease could no longer be doubted.

Risk of progression to problem drinking is the major health risk of moderate drinking. The main debate for the medical profession is whether the risks of problem drinking outweigh giving the advice to patients to drink moderately!

What to make of the Moslem's world of total prohibition?
The single verse in the Koran on which the prohibition of wine is based  resulted from an after dinner fight where it is not clear that the participants were drunk. The Prophet's favorite wife, Ayesha, quibbled with the injunction: She quoted Mohammed as saying 'you may drink, but do not get drunk'." Mohammed himself, it is said, was a regular moderate drinker of nabidh, a sort of wine made from dates. 
However, the tolerance of Christians and Jews within Moslem countries has always meant that wine was available for a sinner.