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Wine history

Noble origins

Grapes have been grown from time immemorial. In 1870, the fossilized remains of the precursor of a grapevine, thought to be 50 million years old, was found in France. Dumb luck seems to have played a part in wine’s invention. Someone forgot some grapes in a jar, and, piled on top of one another, they began to release their juice, which then began to ferment in the heat. Though the details of the story have been lost to posterity, the happy accident has been good news for wine lovers ever since.

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Antiquity

6000 B.C.E.

Seeds and vine branches found in the Caucasus and Mesopotamia.

3000 B.C.E.

The Egyptians cultivate vineyards, develop wines and use them in their funeral rites.

2500 B.C.E.

The Greeks grow and process the fruit of the vine and introduce it to Italy.

1000 B.C.E.

Vineyards are cultivated in Italy and North Africa.

1000 – 500 B.C.E.

Vineyards spread to Spain, Portugal and the south of France.

Middle Ages

350

Large portions of France are covered with vineyards.

500

Under Roman influence, vineyards cover northern Europe. The spread of Christianity contributes to the development of viticulture and vinification techniques, and the vineyards spread along with it.

1300

The origin of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape name stem from the presence of the French popes in Avignon in the 14th century.

Modern Age

1695

Don Perignon perfected the sealing device of sparkling wines.

1756

One of the first designations of origin is established with the delimitation of the port producing region by the Marquis de Pombal.

Modern Era

1805

Riddling—the process of giving Champagne bottles a slight shake and a turn—is invented by the widow Clicquot.

1855

Official ranking of the wines of Bordeaux.

1864

Appearance of phylloxera, a microscopic fly that will ravage huge portions of the vineyards.

1881

Appearance of the first wire cages on Champagne corks.

1921

The government of Québec decrees the Alcoholic Beverages Act and establishes the Commission des liqueurs du Québec.

Find out more about the SAQ’s history