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Drink Wine for a Taste of Global Culture

People around the world have enjoyed wine in some form for at least 3,000 years. Through the drink, you’ll find the complex notes of history, identity, religion, politics, economics, and much more from cultures across the globe.

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan explores how the grapevine and wine are intertwined with human desire.


The world reveres French wines. The most in-demand grape varieties originated in France, and the country is the global leader in wine grapevine production. The French also created the first national wine laws ensuring a wine’s origin.

The French elevated wine from a simple mealtime beverage to an art form. In fact, modern wine appreciation began with the Burgundian monks. Today, there is the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, likely the most exclusive ceremonial wine club in the world.

The French take “drinking local” very seriously. Each region’s unique culinary life evolved with local foodstuffs and local wine. If you enjoy food and wine pairing, thank the French.

In France, wine reveals a serious dedication to the country’s heritage.


Italians and wine complement each other as much as the French. As in France, wine and food in Italy are inseparable and regional. Italy claims around 337 native grape varieties; the French only 204.

Conquering Romans carried the vine with them throughout Europe as a beverage and a mood enhancer.

Pliny the Elder, an Italian writer, philosopher, and military leader, wrote what may be the world’s first wine reviews.

Italians enjoy wine to relax, release stress, raise mood, and round out a meal. Wine accompanies most meals and is integral to every festival and event. Wine reveals passion in the minds of Italians.


Wine makes up an essential part of Spanish culture. Spain’s 84 native grape varieties reveal regio nal and historical differences.

Spaniards eat their largest meal, with wine, at mid-day. Then they take a nap. Later, they stroll the tapas bars, eating and drinking wine. Dinner comes late, around 10 pm. They drink wine before, during, and after dinner.

Spaniards love nightlife, staying up late to revel in toasting with wine. A favorite custom among the younger crowd is to mix wine with soft drinks, like red wine with Coca-Cola.

Wine reveals Spain’s zest for enjoying life.


An ancient wine-producing region, Greece nurtures 77 native grape varieties. The rise of civilization led to the cultivation of grapevines and wine.

Greek wine culture embodies the business nature of Greek society. As great sea voyagers, they developed commercial shipping practices that proved useful for promoting wine.

Dionysus, the Greek God of wine, is emblematic of Greek values. Daily life embodies wine as part food, part religion, part enjoyment.

Wine reveals a joyful and energetic drive in the Greek people.


In Georgia, identity and wine are one. In fact, most families still grow grapes and make wine at home.

Adhering to traditional techniques, they use ancestral “qvevri” clay vessels to ferment their 27 indigenous grapes.

Georgians elevate wine beyond meals to a celebratory place during treasured feasts. Each celebration requires several toasts, an old religious custom that ends with in-depth discussions about life.

Independence from the Soviet Union brought the country back to ceremony, heritage, and introspection.

Wine reveals a deeper connection to life in the minds of Georgians.

Through symbiotic evolution, we’ve infused our emotions, values, and history into winemaking — transforming grapes into a rich cultural expression of humanity.


Wine is life in Portugal which is apparent when you drive around the country. Vines are planted everywhere.

The Portuguese love hand-crafted, labor-intensive products. In addition to beautiful ceramics and fine shoes and handbags made from cork, fine wine is viewed as an artistic venture. It’s many indigenous varieties offer a wide range of high quality, inexpensive wines.

Wine reveals the Portuguese appreciation of and dedication to the art of all things made by hand.


Jeanne Savelle

Jeanne Savelle writes about wine for wineries, importers, and distributors. She has several certifications from The Wine Scholar Guild and WSET. She has spent 30 years following the wine business around the world. You can learn more at: https://www.facebook.com/PortStVino, https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeanne-savelle/.

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