According to Cornell University1, archeologists date grape cultivation and wine making to sometime between 6,000 and 4,000 BC in Mesopotamia and the coastal areas of the Caspian Sea. At that time only aristocrats, royalty, and members of clergy enjoyed wine while peasants and commoners drank ale, mead and beer.

Jancis Robertson, in "The Oxford Companion to Wine, 3rd Edition"2, wrote that ancient Egyptian Papyri and Sumerian tablets dating back to 2200 BC are the oldest documents that mention wine as a man-made medicine. In ancient Egypt, wine was also savored mainly by royalty and the upper classes.

When wine making arrived in ancient Greece, it was enjoyed by the whole spectrum of society, and became a popular theme in literature, religion, leisure, medicine and mythology.

Hippocrates, often referred to as the "father of western medicine", promoted wine as part of a healthy diet. He also claimed that wine was good for disinfecting wounds, as well as a liquid in which medications could be mixed and taken more easily by patients. Hippocrates said wine should be used to alleviate pain during childbirth, for symptoms of diarrhea, and even lethargy.

The ancient Romans took vine clippings from Greece back to Rome. From there centers of viticulture soon appeared all over southern Europe, then in Germany and the rest of the continent.

In the Bible, in his first epistle to Timothy, Paul the Apostle recommended a little wine every now and then to help digestion.

Persian Avicenna in the 11th century AD acknowledged that wine helped digestion, but only recommended it as a disinfectant while dressing wounds because Islamic laws prohibited the consumption of alcohol.

During the Middle Ages, Catholic monks frequently used wine for a wide range of medical treatments.

Wine was so linked to medical practice that in the first printed book on wine, Arnaldus de Villa Nova (circa. 1235-1311 AD), a physician, wrote at length on wine's benefits for the treatment of many illnesses and conditions, including sinus problems and dementia.


One of the reasons wine was so popular throughout history is because safe drinking water was often scarce. During the 1892 cholera epidemic in Hamburg, Germany, wine was used to sterilize water.

The 1800s and early twentieth century saw a rapid spread of the Temperance movement, dmonishing the use of alcoholic beverages and advising reduced consumption. Medical establishments began recognizing alcoholism as a disease.


The harms of alcohol have also been well documented throughout history. In Islam, the Qur'an (Koran) forbade the consumption of alcohol through several separate verses revealed at different times. Benjamin Rush3 (1745-1813), a signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence, said "My observations authorize me to say, that persons who have been addicted to them (spirits), should abstain from them suddenly and entirely. 'Taste not, handle not, touch not' should be inscribed upon every vessel that contains spirits in the house of a man, who wishes to be cured of habits of intemperance".