By guest blogger, Pasquale Amantea
Around 8,000 years ago, locals discovered that grape juice turned to wine when buried through the winter in a shallow pit. By 4000 BC Georgians were cultivating grapes and producing wine, which they would bury in clay vessels, called kvevri, for up to 50 years to ensure perfect temperature and flavour.
Kvevri have become synonymous with Georgian wine, and their importance has been depicted in pottery from the third and second millennia. In fact, wine became so engrained in Georgian culture that elaborate cups and pitchers featuring gold, silver, and gems have also been found from the second millennium BC.
Medieval Times - Germany
Although German viticulture dates back to Roman times, winemaking in Germany was practiced primarily on the western side of the Rhine before the middle ages. The spread of viticulture to eastern Germany mirrored the spread of Christianity, when monasteries and churches played a vital role in wine production. Indeed, many of Germany’s best known varieties have been traced to the 14th or 15th centuries, with Riesling documented from 1435 and Pinot Noir from 1318.
During the medieval era, it is estimated that German vineyards covered an area four times the area they cover today. The decline of viticulture can be attributed to several factors, including the increasing popularity of beer, the Thirty Years War, and the dissolution of the monasteries.
Present Day – British Columbia’s Okanagan
The Okanagan is a newcomer to international viticulture. Home to roughly one-third of Canada’s wineries, grapes first appeared in the region when Father Charles Pandosy planted vines in the late 1880s.
But it wasn’t until the 1920s that commercial grape growing began in the area. Leading the charge was proprietor J. W. Hughes, who planted 147 acres of grapes in 10 years. Various government policies have since encouraged industry growth, most notably the Premium Wine Policy Industry Strategy, which increased investment in new estate wineries and farm winery models. Expansion in grape acreage has subsequently averaged more than 10 per cent annually and currently stands at more than 7,000 acres.
Pasquale Amantea is an Italian-Canadian who lives in Trail, B.C. A home vintner for decades, he has a keen interest in all things wine and is responsible for importing grapes annually to Trail, where a large community of Italians and Portuguese make wine in their homes each year.
Post author Pasquale Amantea, descended from a long line of winemakers, has a series of wine-related articles he'd like to share with an audience outside his backyard. I am happy to have him do that here. Opinions are his alone and facts are received as already researched.
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