Who gave France the gift of wine?

DFN: Yet another thing to blame the greeks for!

Ancient Greeks, not Romans gave France the gift of wine

By ANI October 23rd, 2009

LONDON – A new study by Cambridge University suggests that that the French may owe their passion for wine to Ancient Greeks, who introduced the drink in the country.

The research, by Prof Paul Cartledge, says that the original makers of Côtes-du-Rhône may have been the successors of the Greek explorers who settled in south of France nearly 2500 years ago (600 BC).

His study seems to contradict the theory that Romans introduced viticulture in France.

The study discovered that the Greeks founded Massalia (today’s Marseilles) and made it a commercial centre, where local tribes of Ligurian Celts came for barter.

Prof Cartledge believes that soon enough the nearby Rhône had developed into a major roadway town for terracotta amphorae vessels carrying the Greek made fermented grape juice.

And this new drink instantly became popular amongst the tribes of Western Europe, which in turn is related to the French taste buds for wine.

The Telegraph quoted Prof Cartledge as saying: “I hope this will lay to rest an enduring debate about the historic origins of supermarket plonk.

“Although some academics agree the Greeks were central to founding Europe’s wine trade, others argue the Etruscans or even the later Romans were the ones responsible for bringing viticulture to France.”

According to Prof Cartledge, two key points prove that the Greeks brought vine to the region: “First, the Greeks had to marry and mix with the local Ligurians to ensure that Massalia survived, suggesting that they also swapped goods and ideas.

“Second, they left behind copious amounts of archaeological evidence of their wine trade (unlike the Etruscans and long before the Romans), much of which has been found on Celtic sites.”

The discovery of a five-foot high, 31.5 stone bronze vessel, the Vix Krater, found in the grave of a Celtic princess in northern Burgundy, France, adds weight to Prof Cartledge’s findings. (ANI)



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