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wine, alcoholic beverage made by the fermentation of the juice of the grape. Wine is so ancient that its origin is unknown. The earliest archaeological evidence of winemaking dates to 8,000 years ago, and wine is mentioned in early Egyptian inscriptions and in the literature of many lands. The term wine is also applied to alcoholic beverages made from plants other than the grape, e.g., elderberry wine, dandelion wine.


Wines are distinguished by color, flavor, bouquet or aroma, and alcoholic content. Wine is also divided into three main types: still or natural, fortified, and sparkling. Wines are red, white, or rosé (depending on the grape used and the amount of time the skins have been left to ferment in the juice). For red wines the entire crushed grape is utilized; for white wines, the juice only. In traditional rosé wines, the skins are removed after fermentation has begun, thus producing a light pink color; mass-produced rosé wines may be made by adding a small amount of red wine to white wines. Wines are also classified as dry or sweet, according to whether the grape sugar is allowed to ferment completely into alcohol (dry), or whether some residual sugar has been left (sweet).

In a natural wine all the alcohol present has been produced by fermentation. Fortified wines, such as sherry, port, Madeira, and Malaga, are wines to which brandy or other spirits have been added. These wines contain a higher alcohol content (from 16% to 35%) than the still wines (from 7% to 15%). Sparkling wines, of which champagne is the finest example, are produced by the process of secondary fermentation in the bottle.

Highly publicized studies of the French, particularly in Lyons, claim that a moderate consumption of red wine might help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Such findings were judged worthy of further investigation by the American Medical Association.


In natural-wine making the grapes are gathered when fully ripe (sometimes, as for Sauternes, when overripe). Mechanical extraction of the juice, called must, has almost entirely replaced treading, the traditional method. For red wines the must is fermented with the skins and pips, from which the newly formed alcohol extracts coloring matter and tannin. Fermentation starts when wine yeasts (Saccharomyces ellipsoideus), existing on the skins of ripe grapes, come in contact with the must. It may take from a few days to several weeks, according to the temperature and the amount of yeast present or introduced. When the new wine has become still and fairly clear, it is run off into large casks, where it undergoes a complicated series of chemical processes including oxidation, precipitation of proteids, and formation of esters that create a characteristic bouquet. The wine is periodically fined (clarified), then racked into smaller casks. After some months, or for certain wines several years, the wine is ripe for bottling.

The very rare, superfine natural wines made in good vintage years from perfect grapes of the better varieties and possessing the unaccountable quality that vintners call breed are produced in the Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Rhône regions of France, in the Rhine valley of Germany, in California's Napa and Sonoma valleys and other parts of the United States, and in other regions of the world. The fine sherry of Spain and port of Portugal are superior fortified wines. Champagne is the best-known fine sparkling wine, but superior sparkling wines are also produced elsewhere in the world.

French Wine

France is the most influential wine-producing area in the world and has developed superfine natural still wines and the finest sparkling wine—champagne. The Bordeaux region furnishes red wine known as claret (or simply Bordeaux) and white wine, both dry except for Sauternes. The best-known Bordeaux wines are those of Médoc (red), classified and known by the vineyard names, as Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Margaux, and Château Latour; Graves (red or white); Sauternes (white), sweet, made from overripe grapes and including the noted Château d'Yquem; and St.-Emilion and Pomerol.

Burgundy wines, red and white, are somewhat lighter in body than the Bordeaux. Connoisseurs prize the Burgundies of the Côte d'Or, especially the white Montrachet, and red Clos Vougeot and Romanée. The Chablis area produces fine, white Burgundy. Good wines are made in the Loire valley (Vouvray), the Rhône valley (Hermitage and Châteauneuf-du-Pape), Alsace, and the Jura Mts. A great quantity of wine is produced in S France, some of it made into vermouth, distilled into brandy, or used for blending, and some of it of superior quality.


See A. Lichine, Alexis Lichine's Guide to the Wines and Vineyards of France (4th ed. 1989); N. Faith, The Winemasters of Bordeaux (rev. ed. 1999).

German Wine

Fine German wines are generally light, dry, white wines made from the Riesling grape and characterized by a fresh, flowery bouquet. Hock, derived from the town of Hochheim, is an English term sometimes applied to all Rhine wines. The best white Rhines traditionally are from the Rheingau. They include Johannisberger, Rüdesheimer, and Steinberger. Rheinhessen wines are milder and lighter in taste. The third Rhine district, Pfalz (the Palatinate), also produces distinguished wines. Liebfraumilch, although well known, is typically an undistinguished semisweet Rhine wine. Rhine wines were formerly matured for many years in huge casks like the classic Heidelberg Tun, but are now aged in small casks for not more than three years. One of the most northerly viticultural areas in the world, situated along the Moselle (Mosel) River and its tributaries the Saar and the Ruwer, furnishes extremely light, delicate wines. Moselle wines are drawn off into green bottles, Rhine wines into brown. Other good wines are made in Baden, and in Franconia in Bavaria, noted for Stein wine.

Italian Wine

Italy is the largest and one of the oldest wine-producing countries in the world. Italian wines are frequently named for the grape rather than for the region of origin; hence a wine excellent in one locality may be inferior in another. The best known is Chianti, red or white, and properly a Tuscan wine; Tuscany also produces the esteemed red blends known as Super-Tuscans. From Piedmont come the red Barolo, Barbera, and Barbaresco wines; from Campania come the well-known Lacrima Cristi, and Falerno, descendant of Horace's Falernian; from Veneto comes Valpolicella, dark red with a rich texture. Sicily makes Marsala, a sweet, amber-colored, usually fortified wine, but both that island and Sardinia are increasing important for quality wines.

American Wine

Although in the past American vintners largely were satisfied with quantity production and imitations—largely in name only—of foreign wines, since the mid-1960s the quality domestic wine industry has grown, and many excellent and some superb wines have been made in the United States. Wine is produced in many states; California is the nation's richest wine-producing state, followed by New York and the Pacific Northwest states. In California and the Northwest, grapes of the Old World species, Vitis vinifera, are grown, and some of the varieties produced from these grapes have come to rival the finest French wines. Some of the best wines come from the Napa Valley area north of San Francisco. Distinguished wines from that region include cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and zinfandel. Eastern wines, most of them from New York state—especially the Finger Lakes region—were long made mainly from native grapes such as Concords, Catawbas, and the southern scuppernong, but many are now produced from the Old World species and hybrids.


See P. Lukacs, American Vintage: The Rise of American Wine (2000).

Other Countries

Until recently, sherry was the major Spanish wine sold. Today, Rioja, a leading table wine, is Spain's most widely exported wine, and Ribera del Duero, Priorato, Navarre, and other regions also produce fine wines. Portugal, best known for port and Madeira, also produces some excellent table wines. Greek wines, mainly whites and rosés, are sometimes treated with pine resin (retsina). Australian wines have sold well since the mid-1980s, when first-class examples of chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon became available abroad; New Zealand is especially noted for its sauvignon blanc. The best wines from South America come from Chile, which produces both fortified and table wines; Argentina is another significant producer. French planting has made Algeria one of the largest wine-producing countries, but the wines are not notable. Other wine-producing countries include Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and South Africa.


See E. Peynaud, Knowing and Making Wine (1984); H. Johnson, Vintage (1989) and Modern Encyclopedia of Wine (4th ed. 1998); S. Spurrier and M. Dovaz, Wine Course (1990); R. Phillips, A Short History of Wine (2001); J. Robinson, Oxford Companion to Wine (3d ed., 2006); P. Lukacs, Inventing Wine (2012).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


The Christian ceremony known as the Eucharist commemorates the events that took place at the Last Supper (for more on the Last Supper, see Maundy Thursday). Christian scripture offers several accounts of this supper, Jesus' last meal before his death (Matthew 26:26-30, Mark 14:22-26, Luke 22:14-20). At this meal, which many believe to have been a Passover Seder, Jesus took bread, identified it as his body and passed it to his disciples to eat. Then he gave them wine, which he told them was his blood. Today Christians reenact this meal in a church ceremony known as the Eucharist or the Lord's Supper. In this ceremony worshipers take a sip of wine and a bite of bread identified as Jesus' body and blood (see also Good Friday). Before serving the wine to the congregation, clergy members mix it with water. This mixture of water and wine represents Jesus'blood to contemporary worshipers, just as it did to Jesus' disciples at the Last Supper. Today some Protestant churches substitute grape juice for wine.

Wine as an Ancient and Modern Jewish Symbol

The Bible presents wine in a positive light. The Psalmist praises God for the gift of wine, which can "gladden the heart" (Psalm 104:15). Indeed wine is often served at celebrations. In general the Bible associates wine with well-being, joy, and blessings. These associations still permeate the celebration of the Jewish Sabbath (for more on Sab- bath, see Sunday). This home religious observance focuses around the evening meal, turning it into a special occasion for expressing one's gratitude to God and for rejoicing with one's family. At the start of the meal the oldest male present recites a prayer of blessing over a full cup of wine. The cup is then passed around the table so that everyone may take a sip of the blessed wine.

Various passages in the Hebrew scriptures, or Old Testament, compare wine with blood. One such passage describes wine as the "blood of grapes" (Genesis 49:11). Blood was an important element in ancient Jewish religious sacrifices. It was offered in acceptance of covenants, or agreements, between God and humanity, as well as in seeking atonement, or reconciliation, with God (see also Sin; Redemption). The ancient Jews also offered wine in certain religious sacrifices. Therefore, when Jesus used wine to represent his blood at the Last Supper, he was drawing on religious imagery that would have been familiar to his followers. Wine is still an important element in the Jewish Passover Seder, where it accompanies blessings and hymns.

Wine and Water

Throughout the ancient Mediterranean world people drank wine on a daily basis, often mixed with water. Among the Romans as well as the Jews an everyday mealtime beverage consisted of two or three parts water to one part of wine. Some scholars believe that this everyday mixture was used at religious rituals as well. Thus the wine served at Passover celebrations was mixed with water as was the wine served at early Christian celebrations of the Eucharist.

This mixture of wine and water also recalls passages from Christian scripture. The Gospel according to John declares that after Jesus died a Roman soldier pierced his side with a spear, bringing forth a flow of "blood and water" (John 19:34). The appearance of water as well as blood may have symbolic significance, since throughout the New Testament, and especially in the writings of John, water imagery is used to describe the workings or the presence of God's Holy Spirit. In the third century St. Cyprian came up with a theological interpretation of the eucharistic formula of wine and water. He declared that the wine represented Christ, the water his followers, and the mixture of the two their union. Other commentators drew links between the miracle at the wedding in Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine (John 2:1-11), and the eucharistic practice of mixing wine and water.

Wine Controversies

In nineteenth-century America members of a number of evangelical Protestant denominations, such as the Methodists, Baptists, and Disciples of Christ, began to criticize what they saw as the widespread abuse of wine and other alcoholic beverages in American society. In sermons, speeches, and written documents they denounced wine and spirits as evil influences which led those who consumed them towards violence, poverty, familial discord, and other forms of social and moral decay. Many of these people also believed that drinking wine and other alcoholic beverages undermined one's physical health. Religious figures from these denominations beseeched their followers to abstain from all alcoholic beverages. Eventually these negative attitudes towards wine led clergy in many evangelical Protestant denominations to substitute grape juice for wine in the celebration of the Eucharist. This change reflects the depth of their alarm since it directly contradicts Christian scripture. In the Bible passages concerning the Last Supper Jesus clearly identifies his blood as "wine."

Their fervent dislike and distrust of alcohol led many evangelical Protestants to campaign for laws making it difficult or impossible for anyone to obtain alcoholic beverages. By the 1920s social reformers who supported this agenda had succeeded in bringing about a national Prohibition law. During the Prohibition era (1920-33) the eighteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States made the production and sale of alcoholic beverages illegal throughout the land. An exception was made for wine used for religious rituals, such as the Eucharist, however. So throughout the Prohibition era Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and other Christians who wished to maintain the use of wine in the celebration of the Eucharist continued to do so. Although the eighteenth amendment to the Constitution was repealed in 1933, some evangelical Protestants continued to speak out against the evils of alcohol. As a result many evangelical Protestant and other churches still serve grape juice instead of wine in their celebrations of the Eucharist.

Further Reading

"Blood." In Leland Ryken, James C. Wilhoit, and Tremper Longman III, eds. Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998. Cole, R. Dennis. "Wine." In David Noel Freedman, ed. Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2000. Ferguson, Everett. "Wine." In his Encyclopedia of Early Christianity. Volume 2. New York: Garland, 1997. Fuller, Robert C. Religion and Wine: A Cultural History of Wine Drinking in the United States. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1996. Jenney, Timothy P. "Water." In David Noel Freedman, ed. Eerdmans Dic- tionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2000. Myers, Allen C., ed. "Wine." In The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1987. "Wine." In Leland Ryken, James C. Wilhoit, and Tremper Longman III, eds. Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998.
Encyclopedia of Easter, Carnival, and Lent, 1st ed. © Omnigraphics, Inc. 2002


(pop culture)

While trying to discern Dracula‘s nature, the entrapped Jonathan Harker remarked that his host never drank. Translated to the movie screen, this observation emerged in one of the most famous lines spoken by Bela Lugosi in the 1931 movie. Speaking to R. N. Renfield over dinner, Dracula said, “I never drink—wine.” That line was spoken just after Renfield (whose character went to Castle Dracula instead of Harker in the movie version) had cut his finger and Dracula had shown his desire to drink of the blood that had appeared. The scene created a use of wine, the blood of the grape, as a metaphor for human blood.

Through the last generation, wine became a significant vampire souvenir product. In 1974, the Golden Krone Hotel opened in Bistritz, Transylvania. The Golden Krone was the name of the fictional hotel at which Jonathan Harker stopped on his way to Castle Dracula. At the new hotel, a modern guest may order a Mediasch wine from Medias in the Tarnave Mare district of Transylvania, upon which Harker dined while at the Golden Krone. The modern visitor can also have some “Elixir Dracula,” a local red liqueur made from plums.

Around 1990, A.V.F.F.Sp.A. of Sona, Italy, produced a “Vampire Wine.” Distributed in the United States by Louis Glunz in Lincolnwood, Illinois, it was a red wine in a black bottle with a black label and arrived in an appropriate coffin container. Bottles of this wine were distributed as door prizes at Coven Party II sponsored in 1991 by Anne Rice‘s Vampire Lestat Fan Club, and today are among the rarest of vampire collectibles. In the 1990s, a “Vampire Wine” from Romania was made available from TriVin Imports in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. It joined the “Vampire” wine from Vampire Vineyards in Creston, California, which initially appeared in 1988 ( and has added a Vampire Vodka to its spectrum of fine wines.

With the emergence of a new wave of Dracula-oriented tourism in Romania, several companies have responded with new liquid souvenirs. As early as the 1970s, a Vlad the Impaler vodka (with a picture of Bran Castle) appeared. On the occasion of the opening of Bram Stoker’s Dracula in Bucharest, in July 1993, for example, Stroh Transylvania produced “Dracula’s Spirit”, described as the “Original Vampire’s Delight.” It was a mixture of vodka flavored with fruits and vegetables and red food coloring. The bottle’s label carried the quote, “The history has borne the sacred hero. The myth has borne a bloody vampire.

The hero and the fiend bear one name: DRACULA. We trust in DRACULA’S VODKA.” A similar product has been marketed as “Dracula Seduction” and Dracula’s Spriit.” Liquors have joined the shelves of Dracula souvenirs beginning in 1994 with “Dracula Slivovitz,” the popular plum brandy of Romania. A special boxed version of the slivovitz was created for the World Dracula Congress in 1995.

Also available are “Vlad Trica” and “Draculina Slivowitz.” The Transylvanian Society of Dracula has also moved to develop its own wine, Count Dracula Wine, with variant titles for the different white, rose and red varieties.

Additionally, one of the society leaders in Romania began distribution of a very fine brandy as “Alucard Brandy.” As of 2009, Vampire Vineyards in cooperation with TI Beverage Group, made available a spectrum of wines and vodkas (many imported from Europe) with either a vampire or Dracula theme. They range in price from the fairly inexpensive wines to more costly, specially packaged items sold as gifts or souvenirs.


Mackenzie, Andrew. Dracula Country. London: Arthur Barker, 1977. 176 pp.
McNally, Raymond, and Radu Florescu, eds. The Essential Dracula. New York: Mayflower Books, 1979. 320 pp.
The Vampire Companion. No. 1. Wheeling, WV: Innovative Corporation, 1991.
The Vampire Book, Second Edition © 2011 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.

What does it mean when you dream about wine?

The fermented juice of the grape, wine has for centuries been romantically considered the “nectar of the gods.” It is a symbol for blood and sacrifice in Christian liturgy and may hold transformative significance for the dreamer.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


(food engineering)
An alcoholic beverage made by fermentation of the juice of fruits or berries, especially grapes; classified on the basis of color, sweetness, alcoholic content, variety of grape, presence of carbon dioxide, and region where the grapes are grown.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


symbol of Christ’s blood in Eucharist. [Christian Tradition: “Eucharist” in Cross, 468–469]
See: Christ


(563–478 B. C.) Greek lyric poet who praised the effects of wine. [Gk. Lit.: Brewer Dictionary, 31]
center for worship of Bacchus, wine god. [Rom. Myth.: Hall, 16]
god of wine. [Rom. Myth.: Hall, 37, 142]
a wine-growing region in France; often a medium-dry, fruity burgundy. [Fr. Hist.: NCE, 2990]
French city whose wines (especially Medoc, Graves, Sauternes, Saint Emilion) are world known. [Fr. Hist.: EB, II: 162]
region of France that produces fine wines. [Fr. Hist.: NCE, 2989]
grape grown in the eastern U.S., producing a medium-dry white wine. [Am. Hist.: Misc.]
village in central France known for the white wine which bears its name. [Fr. Hist.: NCE, 497]
cup holding wine at Eucharist. [Christian Tradition: N.T.: Mark 14:23]
province in northeastern France renowned for its sparkling wine. [Fr. Hist.: EB, II: 724]
the best-known Italian wine. [Ital. Hist.: NCE, 2990]
god of the vine and its enlightening powers. [Gk. Myth.: Avery, 404–408; Parrinder, 80]
Finger Lakes
the region in New York state where many eastern wines are made. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 2990]
Liber and Libera
ancient Italian god and goddess of wine and vine cultivation. [Rom. Myth.: Howe, 154]
the best-known Rhine wine. [Ger. Hist.: NCE, 2990]
a red Bordeaux wine. [Fr. Hist.: NCE, 2990]
a sweet, amber wine made in Sicily. [Ital. Hist.: NCE, 2990]
Napa Valley
greatest wine-producing region of the United States. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 2990]
Naxian Groves
vineyards celebrated for fine vintages. [Gk. Hist.: Brewer Handbook, 747]
Calydonian king; first to cultivate grapes. [Rom. Myth.: Hall, 142]
fortified sweet wine made from grapes grown in the Douro valley in Portugal. [Port. Hist.: NCE, 2194]
Rhine valley
region of Germany that produces fine wines. [Ger. Hist.: NCE, 2990]
grape grown in Germany and California, producing a dry or sweet white wine. [Ger. Hist.: Misc.]
Spain’s most widely exported wine. [Span. Hist.: NCE, 2990]
dry fortified wine, originally made from grapes grown in Andalusia, Spain. [Span. Hist.: NCE, 2501]
region of Hungary that produces wines. [Hung. Hist.: NCE, 2889]
a dark, rich red wine from Veneto. [Ital. Hist.: NCE, 2990]
village in central France known for its medium-dry white wine. [Fr. Hist.: Misc.]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a. an alcoholic drink produced by the fermenting of grapes with water and sugar
b. an alcoholic drink produced in this way from other fruits, flowers, etc.
2. a dark red colour, sometimes with a purplish tinge
3. Pharmacol Obsolete fermented grape juice containing medicaments
4. Adam's wine Brit a dialect word for water
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(Wine Is Not an Emulator) Software that runs Windows applications under Linux and Unix on an x86 PC. Wine runs Windows executables intact, trapping calls from the application to the Windows interface, converting them as necessary and directing them to X Window routines that do the processing. Unlike virtual machine software such as Parallels and VMware Fusion, Wine does not require a copy of the Windows OS to be installed. For more information, visit See X Window, WABI and x86.

"Wine Bottles" on the Mac
Codeweaver's CrossOver Mac implements Wine on a Mac computer and places the programs in a "Bottles" folder. This folder hierarchy shows the path to Info Select, a Windows personal information manager (PIM) running under Wine on the Mac. For more information, visit See path and Info Select.
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