Greek Wines and Greek Poetry – both sweet in 2000 B.C.

The Greeks were known for diluting their wine with water. There were two styles of wine making described in Greek literature: early harvest wines which were short lived and likely to sour and late harvest wines with high alcohol and a sweet rich taste. Most Greeks preferred the sweet wines made from ripe grapes. After harvest, the grapes were placed on mats in the sun where they baked until the grapes were shriveled to raisins with the sugar and flavor concentrated in the fruit. The shriveled grapes were placed in clay jars filled with grape juice for a week before being pressed and fermented.

Thus, the poetry below by Eubulus who first guided the wine drinker to add water to his wine with these wise words:

“Three bowls do I mix for temperate: one to health which they empty first,
the second to love, the third to sleep. When this bowl is drunk up, wise guests go home.
The fourth bowl is ours no longer, but belongs to violence,
the fifth to uproar,
the sixth to drunken revel,
the seventh to black eyes,
the eighth is the policeman’s,
the ninth belongs to biliousness,
and the tenth to madness and hurling the furniture.”

By Libbie Agran


The History of Wine in 100 Bottles: From Bacchus to Bordeaux and Beyond by Oz Clark.

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