chapter  8
19 Pages

The symbolic role of wine: Religion, sex, fertility and status

The first wine was produced by neolithic people who had no understanding of yeast activity and the processes of fermentation which created an intoxicating drink. Early societies will thus have assumed that the transformation of juice to wine was a magical process. (No other product utilized in early societies ‘appeared’ in this way; bread and foodstuffs, tools and clothes were all manufactured.) Equally magical was the impact that drinking wine had on the body; little other produce could have such an impact; beer may have predated wine, but had a lower alcohol content, and some fungi may have been available in certain cultures but their use was probably limited.