Wine Writer Information Blog

8:07 AM

January 04, 2009 - Wine Enthusiast

Today's Wine Enthusiast Article

Medieval Wine Trivia

The cycle of the vineyards and man's enjoyment of wine has continued throughout the ages
with some of these intriguing differences...


Roman civilization was well versed in viticulture and wine making, but then the Barbarians
destroyed their vineyards and turned them into pastureland and cornfields. Luckily,
Benedictine and other monks kept the art of viticulture alive at their monasteries. By the
12th century, viticulture was fully revived.


One of the major differences between today's wine connoisseurs and medieval man was that
back then they weren't so concerned with which exact vineyard a wine came from, but rather
the general area. The body of the wine was more important than it's subtle flavors and


Wine was mostly the drink of the upper classes and rich merchants, while the lower classes
generally drank beer, cider or mead.

Also, in medieval times, much of the water was tainted by sewage, so naturally, people
preferred to drink wine.


Wine also served to relieve minor aches and pains.

In 1166, the vintages were so plentiful and there was such an over production of wine, that in
Franconia (a part of what is now Germany), they mixed wine with lime for use in building


In medieval times, the aging of wine wasn't important. This was partly due to the fact that
much of the wine was too unstable to age well anyway, and if air hit it, it might turn to
vinegar. One way to combat this problem was to use a thin film covering of olive oil. Other
methods included adding burnt salt, mixing in cloves, or plunging lighted torches dipped in
pitch into the wine.

Vintners and wine sellers often just mixed good wine in with bad, at least until the practice
was later forbidden. Others put cloves in wine to keep it from spoiling.

A major advance of medieval wine making was the discovery of sulphur by the alchemists.
This was now used to preserve the wine.


Spices were added to wine for the same reason they were added to food: for variety and to
disguise it's lackluster or bad flavor. Spiced wines were called Piments.

When bad weather resulted in poor ripening of the grapes, flavors and herbs were often added
to the wine. The resulting beverage would then take on the taste and character of these
added ingredients. If the poor crop yielded grapes low in sugar, medieval man sometimes
added cooked grape juice or honey to bring up the sugar levels so the final alcohol content
would increase.

To clarify the wine, they used eggs, pine kernels, peach stones or river pebbles. Honey was
sometimes added to maintain the proper color.

Because their was so much unstable wine, many medieval vintners diligently tried to keep
their barrels and wine vessels as clean as possible. Various methods to clean them were
used, including scouring with cold water, old wine or salt water. Sometimes they would then
fumigate them with rosemary or cedar wood.


Medieval viticulture's drawbacks were partly due to slow technical progress in general during
that time, and the cultivation of the vineyards was not as advanced as it had been in Roman

One new development for the time was the use of the "low vineyard". Vines started to be tied
to upright stakes and weren't allowed to be grown over 4 feet high.


The most famous of medieval wines was Malmsey. This was a sweet wine made from grapes
grown primarily in Crete or Cyprus. We still have a form of Malmsey today which is basically a
sweet type of Madeira wine. But today's wine drinkers generally prefer drier, more complex
wines than their medieval ancestors had access to.

Laura Eggers Underhill lived in Sonoma County for several years, soaking up the beauty
and essence of wine country whenever she could. Now based iin Southern California, she has
explored many California wine regions. Visit her website at href="">

Wine Enthusiast and More

Medieval Wine Trivia

The cycle of the vineyards and man's enjoyment of wine has continued throughout the ages
with some of these intriguing differences...ONCE UPON A TIM...

Click Here to Read More About Wine ...

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4:19 AM

Sunday - Morrell Wine

A Morrell Wine Artilce for Your Viewing

Organic Wine, Spirits and Beer

A key point to add at this stage is the difference between organically grown grapes - fruit from vineyards grown without the use of industrial fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides - and wines made without synthetic preservative additives.

Organic Vineyards ? Where it all begins!

An organic vineyard is one where grapes are grown without chemical fertilizers, weed killers, insecticides, or other synthetic chemicals. This prevents damage to soil and ensures that no chemicals end up in the wine as residue. Organic farmers aim to maintain healthy, biologically active soil whose fertility is provided by plants that fix nitrogen from the air. In the vineyard it means planting cover crops between the avenues of the vines instead of applying herbicide. Naturally occurring plant or mineral extracts leave no residue in the soil, and weeds are kept down with the use of mechanical and hand hoes. Biodiversity is promoted through the plants, which help regulate the vineyard soil by attracting beneficial insects, spiders and predatory mites.

The Role of Certification and the Organic Market

When a label says organic, it means the wine has met certain standards that are set by a government agency. Different nations have their own certification criteria, so whats organic in one country may not be so in another. In the UK the Soil Association is the most recognized and used certification body.
Many wineries that are technically organic still choose not to be certified. There are many reasons for this. Some do not want the added costs and bureaucracy of registering. Others may disagree with their governments standards. Whatever the case, they are not allowed to use organic on their labels.
There is a national government target for 30 per cent of all UK farmland to be organic or in conversion by 2010, and 20 per cent of the food consumed to be organic by 2010. The UK grocery market was worth $206 billion in 2006 and USA 634.7$ billion. This growth in the organic food market will have a knock on effect on the drinks industry and will meet the ever-growing demand from consumers for organic wine, which is better for drinkers and better for the environment.

Financial Incentives to Companies to turn Organic

In 2005, 39% of the world organic farmland is in Australia and New Zealand. To combat this The European Union (EU) offers financial support to organic farmers as an incentive for farmers to convert to organic production and help the sector grow. These grants provide farmers with assistance during the period of conversion to organic farming which usually takes three years.

Organic spirits

While not so widely available as organic wine, organic spirits are available through specialist suppliers. The production process for organic spirits does not differ widely from conventional production. The main difference lies in the use of organic raw materials. Organic beers tend to use organic hops in production. Organic beer is now available in a number of pubs and supermarkets throughout the UK.

Fancy visiting an organic vineyard?

If you are into Organic wine why not visit Englands Premier organic vineyard. In addition to processing fruit on site, Sedlescombe Organic Vineyard is one of the main tourist attractions in the 1066 Country region in and around Hastings attracting some 5,000 visitors per annum to its Vineyard & Woodland Nature Trail + Wine tasting.

To buy organic wine or to read more organic related articles go to the Organic Directory in

Visit Sedlescombe Organic Vineyard

Davinos Greeno works for the organic directory This green directory lists 100s of Organic Food and Drink Companies and Eco Jobs and Community Videos

A synopsis on Morrell Wine.

Organic Wine, Spirits and Beer

A key point to add at this stage is the difference between organically grown grapes - fruit from vineyards grown without the use of industrial fertili...

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