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Sarah Ward

History of Red Wine: Thousands of Years of Red Wine

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On the BinWise blog it’s high time we covered something we’re deeply linked to through our business ventures–the history of red wine. We’ve talked about red wine a lot on this blog. From the best type of red wine to a wine cheese pairing with some of the best reds, we’ve run the gamut. We’ve even talked about the calories in red wine!

In this blog post, we’ll get into the history of red wine. Before people thought about buying a winery, working at a winery, or even opening a wine bottle, there were the roots of wine. Red wine, in particular, has a rich history that is as full and invigorating as the full-bodied nature of red wine. Read on to learn all about the history of red wine–and enjoy a glass while you do! 

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The History of Red Wines

The history of red wine starts out long ago, before records were well kept. The roots of wine–not specifically red wine–start out around 7000 B.C. in China. Those early days of wine included a winemaking process with similarities to what we practice today. The drink was made from wild grapes, rice, honey, and hawthorn fruit. It was fermented and stored in clay jars. 

There’s also early evidence of winemaking in Armenia, Iran, Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cypress, and Sicily. Across these earliest days of winemaking, red wine started to take shape. 

In fact, the current composition of the wine world, with different regions being known for specific wines, started out early on. The areas that had the most abundant red wine grape vines were the places to start the now long history of red wine.

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The Early Days

The early days of red wine in particular started in Greece. The earliest noted red wine is Chian, a red wine, then called black wine. It was made on the island of Chion. Chian wine was made around 500 B.C., long after the first wines were experimented with. 

From Chian wine and beyond, the appreciation for red wine took hold around the globe. From France to Spain to Italy, red wine became a major player. The original history of red wine paved the way for new world red wines we appreciate today.

Wine Industry Growth

These days, the wine industry has grown beyond the history of red wine. In 2023, the wine industry is set to reach a profit of over $300 billion. It’s expected to grow annually by over 5%, as more and more people turn toward wine. The sustainable names in the wine industry are helping, as the world turns toward eco-friendly options–especially at eco-friendly restaurants.

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Red Wine In the 21st Century

In the 21st century red wine remains one of the most popular wine varieties on the market. In 2020 46% of wine sales were of red wine. From the early days to now, red wine has impressed wine lovers. Here at BinWise, we’re excited to see what the future of red wine brings.

Frequently Asked Questions About the History of Red Wine

The history of red wine is colorful, often delicious, and occasionally mysterious. There’s only so much we know for sure, and so many stories around this drink we all love. Even a teetotaler can enjoy learning about the history of red wine, with mocktails made with cranberry or grape juice. 

Our answers to these frequently asked questions give further insight into the history of such a huge part of the world of wine. There’s always more to learn, and this is the place to start.

When Was Red Wine Invented?

Wine started out back in 7000 B.C., and continued to be worked on in the early days of 6000 B.C. in Georgia. It’s difficult to trace the specifics of the origin of red wine with certainty. As early winemakers were experimenting with different grapes and methods, the early types of red wine came about. 

Why Is It Called Red Wine?

Red wine is called red wine because of the color of the skin of the grapes it is made from. Red wine grapes are often black grapes, or a very deep red or purple. There is a lot of variation in the color of the skin of red wine grapes. It’s grouped under the term red wine because it makes it easier to identify. There are many red wine types of varying shades of the color. 

Red and white wine are divided equally between black and green grapes. Other options, like rose, for example, are made from a mix of the two. Many wines even include different ingredients. There are different varieties of wine with a mix of ingredients beyond grapes.

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Which Red Wine Was Invented First?

Chian wine is credited as the first red wine to be invented and called red wine. It was a product of Greece, from the island of Chios. It was called black wine at the time, likely due to the color of the skin of the grapes. It was a prized wine of classical antiquity, and remains quite popular as a story among wine lovers and historians.

What Is the Oldest Drinkable Red Wine? 

There’s a bottle of red wine that is rumored to still be drinkable that has been bottled, undisturbed, for over 1600 years. The Speyer wine bottle, as called the Römerwein aus Speyer, was buried in the tomb of a Roman nobleman and noblewoman. The tomb is near today’s city of Speyer, giving the potentially drinkable wine its name. 

It’s hard to say if the contents of the Speyer wine bottle is still drinkable with absolute certainty. It likely wouldn’t taste very good. With the bottle being closed and completely undisturbed, it’s likely that the wine inside is still ingestible. That said, it’s not advisable to drink it.

Why Is Red Wine Drunk Differently?

Red wine is drunk differently from white wine, sparkling wine, and every other wine, because of the differences in taste and scent. There are so many unique grape varieties across the board, and they’re all enjoyable in different ways. 

Red wine is often rich and vibrant. The types of wine glasses made for red wine emphasize the qualities of red wine when you drink it. If you’re working to be a wine connoisseur or learning how to host a wine tasting party, you should learn to present red wine. The right wine aerator and glass can bring out the best in different red wine types.

"Key Takeaway: The original history of red wine paved the way for new world red wines we appreciate today."
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Red Wine’s Vibrant History: Drinking Through the Ages

The history of red wine is something everyone who enjoys and works with wine in the present day can benefit from knowing. If you’re a bartender or mixologist, knowing more about wine helps you with customer service, to enhance the customer experience. For restaurant management and bar owners, learning about wine can help you when it comes to order management. 

If you’re buying red wine for your bar business or wine bar, reach out to BinWise and BlueCart. The BinWise Pro program, paired with the BinScan mobile app, will streamline your inventory program. BlueCart’s order management software gives you peace of mind when it comes to your reorder point

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