Red and white wine 12-2015.jpg
Alcohol by volume5.5–15.5%
16th-century wine press

Wine is an alcoholic drink made from fermented grapes.[1] Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol, carbon dioxide, and heat. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts produce different styles of wine. These variations result from the complex interactions between the biochemical development of the grape, the reactions involved in fermentation, the terroir, and the production process. Many countries enact legal appellations intended to define styles and qualities of wine. These typically restrict the geographical origin and permitted varieties of grapes, as well as other aspects of wine production. Wines not made from grapes include rice wine and fruit wines such as plum, cherry, pomegranate, currant and elderberry.

Wine has been produced for thousands of years. The earliest known traces of wine are from Georgia (c. 6000 BC),[2][3][4][5] Iran (c. 5000 BC),[6][7] and Sicily (c. 4000 BC)[8] although there is evidence of a similar alcoholic drink being consumed earlier in China (c. 7000 BC).[9][10][11] The earliest known winery is the 6,100-year-old Areni-1 winery in Armenia.[12][13] Wine reached the Balkans by 4500 BC and was consumed and celebrated in ancient Greece, Thrace and Rome. Throughout history, wine has been consumed for its intoxicating effects.[14][15][16]

Wine has long played an important role in religion. Red wine was associated with blood by the ancient Egyptians[17] and was used by both the Greek cult of Dionysus and the Romans in their Bacchanalia; Judaism also incorporates it in the Kiddush and Christianity in the Eucharist.


Entrance to the Areni-1 cave in southern Armenia near the town of Areni. The cave is the location of the world's oldest known winery and where the world's oldest known leather shoe has been found.

The earliest archaeological and archaeobotanical evidence for grape wine and viniculture, dating to 6000–5800 BC was found on the territory of modern Georgia.[18][19] Both archaeological and genetic evidence suggest that the earliest production of wine elsewhere was relatively later, likely having taken place in the Southern Caucasus (which encompasses Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan), or the West Asian region between Eastern Turkey, and northern Iran.[20][21]

The earliest evidence of a grape-based fermented drink was found in China (c. 7000 BC),[9][10][11] and the earliest evidence of wine in Georgia from 6000 BC,[22][23][24] Iran from 5000 BC,[6] and Sicily from 4000 BC.[8] The earliest evidence of a wine production facility is the Areni-1 winery in Armenia and is at least 6100 years old.[25][12][13][26]

Detail of a relief of the eastern stairs of the Apadana, Persepolis, depicting Armenians bringing an amphora, probably of wine, to the king.

A 2003 report by archaeologists indicates a possibility that grapes were mixed with rice to produce mixed fermented drinks in China in the early years of the seventh millennium BC. Pottery jars from the Neolithic site of Jiahu, Henan, contained traces of tartaric acid and other organic compounds commonly found in wine. However, other fruits indigenous to the region, such as hawthorn, cannot be ruled out.[27][28] If these drinks, which seem to be the precursors of rice wine, included grapes rather than other fruits, they would have been any of the several dozen indigenous wild species in China, rather than Vitis vinifera, which was introduced there 6000 years later.[27]

The spread of wine culture westwards was most probably due to the Phoenicians who spread outward from a base of city-states along the Mediterranean coast of what are today Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Palestine.[29] The wines of Byblos were exported to Egypt during the Old Kingdom and then throughout the Mediterranean. Evidence includes two Phoenician shipwrecks from 750 BC discovered by Robert Ballard, whose cargo of wine was still intact.[30] As the first great traders in wine (cherem), the Phoenicians seem to have protected it from oxidation with a layer of olive oil, followed by a seal of pinewood and resin, similar to retsina. Although the nuragic Sardinians already consumed wine before the arrival of the Phoenicians[31][32]

Georgian Kvevri ancient wine vessel

The earliest remains of Apadana Palace in Persepolis dating back to 515 BC include carvings depicting soldiers from Achaemenid Empire subject nations bringing gifts to the Achaemenid king, among them Armenians bringing their famous wine.

Literary references to wine are abundant in Homer (8th century BC, but possibly relating earlier compositions), Alkman (7th century BC), and others. In ancient Egypt, six of 36 wine amphoras were found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun bearing the name "Kha'y", a royal chief vintner. Five of these amphoras were designated as originating from the king's personal estate, with the sixth from the estate of the royal house of Aten.[33] Traces of wine have also been found in central Asian Xinjiang in modern-day China, dating from the second and first millennia BC.[34]

Wine boy at a symposium
Pressing wine after the harvest; Tacuinum Sanitatis, 14th century

The first known mention of grape-based wines in India is from the late 4th-century BC writings of Chanakya, the chief minister of Emperor Chandragupta Maurya. In his writings, Chanakya condemns the use of alcohol while chronicling the emperor and his court's frequent indulgence of a style of wine known as madhu.[35]

The ancient Romans planted vineyards near garrison towns so wine could be produced locally rather than shipped over long distances. Some of these areas are now world-renowned for wine production.[36] The Romans discovered that burning sulfur candles inside empty wine vessels kept them fresh and free from a vinegar smell.[37] In medieval Europe, the Roman Catholic Church supported wine because the clergy required it for the Mass. Monks in France made wine for years, aging it in caves.[38] An old English recipe that survived in various forms until the 19th century calls for refining white wine from bastard—bad or tainted bastardo wine.[39]


Map showing the word for wine in European languages.

The English word "wine" comes from the Proto-Germanic *winam, an early borrowing from the Latin vinum, "wine" or "(grape) vine", itself derived from the Proto-Indo-European stem *win-o- (cf. Armenian: գինի, gini; Ancient Greek: οἶνος oinos; Aeolic Greek: ϝοῖνος woinos; Hittite: wiyana; Lycian: oino).[40][41][42] The earliest attested terms referring to wine are the Mycenaean Greek 𐀕𐀶𐀺𐄀𐀚𐀺 me-tu-wo ne-wo (*μέθυϝος νέϝῳ),[43][44] meaning "in (the month)" or "(festival) of the new wine", and 𐀺𐀜𐀷𐀴𐀯 wo-no-wa-ti-si,[45] meaning "wine garden", written in Linear B inscriptions.[46][47][48][49] Linear B also includes, inter alia, an ideogram for wine, i.e. 𐂖.

Ultimate Indo-European origin of the word is the subject of continued debate. Some scholars have noted the similarities between the words for wine in Indo-European languages (e.g. Armenian gini, Latin vinum, Ancient Greek οἶνος, Russian вино [vʲɪˈno]), Kartvelian (e.g. Georgian ღვინო [ɣvinɔ]), and Semitic (*wayn; Hebrew יין [jaiin]), pointing to the possibility of a common origin of the word denoting "wine" in these language families.[50] The Georgian word goes back to Proto-Kartvelian *ɣwino-,[51] which is either a borrowing from Proto-Indo-European[51][52][53][54][55][56] or the lexeme was specifically borrowed from Proto-Armenian *ɣʷeinyo-, whence Armenian gini.[57][58][59][60][51] An alternate hypothesis by Fähnrich supposes *ɣwino- a native Kartvelian word derived from the verbal root *ɣun- ('to bend').[61] See *ɣwino- for more. All these theories place the origin of the word in the same geographical location, Trans-Caucasia, that has been established based on archeological and biomolecular studies as the origin of viticulture.

Other Languages
Адыгэбзэ: Санэ
Afrikaans: Wyn
Alemannisch: Wein
አማርኛ: የወይን ጠጅ
Ænglisc: Wīn
العربية: نبيذ
aragonés: Vin
arpetan: Vin
asturianu: Vinu
Avañe'ẽ: Víno
azərbaycanca: Şərab
تۆرکجه: شراب
বাংলা: ওয়াইন
Bân-lâm-gú: Phô-tô-chiú
башҡортса: Шарап
беларуская: Віно
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Віно
български: Вино
Boarisch: Wein
bosanski: Vino
brezhoneg: Gwin
буряад: Дарһан
català: Vi
Чӑвашла: Хĕрлĕ эрех
Cebuano: Alak
čeština: Víno
chiTumbuka: Vinyo
Cymraeg: Gwin
dansk: Vin
davvisámegiella: Viidna
Deutsch: Wein
dolnoserbski: Wino
डोटेली: वाइन
eesti: Vein
Ελληνικά: Κρασί
español: Vino
Esperanto: Vino
estremeñu: Vinu
euskara: Ardo
فارسی: شراب
Fiji Hindi: Wine
føroyskt: Vín
français: Vin
furlan: Vin
Gaeilge: Fíon
Gaelg: Feeyn
Gàidhlig: Fìon
galego: Viño
贛語: 葡萄酒
𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌹𐍃𐌺: 𐍅𐌴𐌹𐌽
한국어: 포도주
հայերեն: Գինի
Արեւմտահայերէն: Գինի
हिन्दी: हाला
hornjoserbsce: Wino
hrvatski: Vino
Ido: Vino
Bahasa Indonesia: Anggur (minuman)
interlingua: Vino
isiXhosa: Iveyn
íslenska: Vín
italiano: Vino
עברית: יין
Kabɩyɛ: Ŋvɛɛ sʊlʊm
къарачай-малкъар: Чагъыр
ქართული: ღვინო
қазақша: Шарап
Kiswahili: Divai
Kreyòl ayisyen: Diven (non)
kurdî: Şerab
Кыргызча: Шарап
Ladino: Vino
лакку: Чахир
Latina: Vinum
latviešu: Vīns
Lëtzebuergesch: Wäin
lietuvių: Vynas
Ligure: Vin
Limburgs: Wien
Lingua Franca Nova: Vino
lumbaart: Vin
magyar: Bor (ital)
मैथिली: वाइन
македонски: Вино
Malagasy: Divay
മലയാളം: വീഞ്ഞ്
मराठी: वाईन
მარგალური: ღვინი
مصرى: نبيت
Bahasa Melayu: Wain
Mirandés: Bino
монгол: Дарс
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဝိုင် (အရက်)
Nederlands: Wijn
Nedersaksies: Wien
नेपाली: वाइन
日本語: ワイン
Napulitano: Vino
нохчийн: ЧагӀар
norsk: Vin
norsk nynorsk: Vin
Nouormand: Vîn
occitan: Vin
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Sharob
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਵਾਈਨ
Pälzisch: Wein
پنجابی: شراب
Patois: Wain
ភាសាខ្មែរ: ស្រា
Picard: Vin
Piemontèis: Vin
Plattdüütsch: Wien (Drunk)
polski: Wino
português: Vinho
Qaraqalpaqsha: Vino
română: Vin
Runa Simi: Winu
русиньскый: Вино
русский: Вино
саха тыла: Вино
sardu: Binu
Scots: Wine
sicilianu: Vinu
Simple English: Wine
سنڌي: شراب
slovenčina: Víno
slovenščina: Vino
کوردی: شەراب
српски / srpski: Вино
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Vino
Basa Sunda: Anggur (inuman)
suomi: Viini
svenska: Vin
Tagalog: Alak
தமிழ்: வைன்
татарча/tatarça: Шәраб
ไทย: ไวน์
тоҷикӣ: Бода
Türkçe: Şarap
тыва дыл: Вино
українська: Вино
اردو: شراب
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: ۋىنو
vèneto: Vin
Tiếng Việt: Rượu vang
Võro: Vein
walon: Vén
West-Vlams: Wyn
Winaray: Bino
吴语: 葡萄酒
ייִדיש: וויין
粵語: 葡萄酒
Zazaki: Şerab
žemaitėška: Vīns
中文: 葡萄酒