Friday, February 12, 2021

Wine in ancient Egypt

In ancient Egypt, wine was a prestigious product consumed mainly by the upper classes and the royal family. Wine was offered in the daily temple rituals, in funerary offerings and used in medical treatments.

Before a royal winemaking industry was established in the Nile Delta, ca. 3000 BC., the first pharaohs imported wine from the Levant, and soon developed a taste for it.

Vineyards were grown for Egyptian rulers and nobles. Grapevines were introduced as part of gardens or orchards with other fruit and vegetables, while some were cultivated separately in vineyards.

Viticulture and winemaking scenes are depicted on the walls of the ancient Egyptian private tombs from the Old Kingdom (2575-2150 BC) and later in Middle Kingdom private tombs (2055- 1650 B.C. at Beni Hassan). During the 18th dynasty (1550-1295 B.C.) scenes of winemaking became a common motif in the tombs of Theban officials.

Egypt had a very organized system of wine production. Yet, the product was seen as a luxury, suitable for religious ceremonies. Pharaohs and priests used it for temple offerings.

To make wine, the ancient Egyptians picked a bunch of grapes and squeezed all of the juice out by stepping on them in a trough big enough to hold at least six men. This mixture was sealed in a clay pot with the date and vineyard on it. For much of ancient Egyptian history, wine was mostly consumed at the court of the pharaohs.

Ancient Egyptians made at least 24 types of wine, including white, red, and black. A type of the latest was served for funeral ceremonies in the Old Kingdom.
Wine in ancient Egypt