Holiday Traditions and the Root of Wine
At this special time of the year, we find ourselves going back to our roots by gathering with family and friends in the celebration of at least one of the cluster of holidays celebrated by various traditions at this time of the year.
Holiday traditions abound within families- favorite heirloom ornaments for the tree, or a Menorah handed down for generations - these holidays themselves are often tied to ancient traditions be it Hanukkah, Christmas, or even a Solstice celebration giving us hope that the daylight will soon start increasing. As ancient as these celebrations may be, we find that wine has always had a part in their celebration.
A while back, an article was published by two prominent scientists, one an expert in genetics of grape varieties the other with the archaeology wine, which confirms that domesticated grapes and wine have been with us at least 7,000 years and possibly longer. Wine’s religious significance just within the Judeo-Christian tradition alone is well accepted and is still used, whether actually or symbolically, in worship services around the world.
The reason for this ancient precedence is actually very simple; grapes are the only fruit that naturally contain everything you need to make wine, provided the conditions are present to start the process. Long ago, some lucky person happened upon a container of grapes that had been overlooked and partook of the lucky accident, the first wine tasting. Liking what they experienced, they passed the word along to others and the rest is, well, literally history. In times when water supplies were suspect, and struggling peoples needed a caloric supplement to their meager diet in order to give them the energy to labor for their existence, wine appeared as a gift that also helped ease their mind at the end of a long day.
In ancient times, like today, there was also a great demand for premium wines. The Egyptian kings used their “bearers of secrets in the wine-hall” an ancient precursor to modern sommeliers, to select which wines were worthy of the Pharaonic court, while the Greeks and Romans had their own favorite legendary wines that still live, if only by name, through the texts of Plato and Pliny.
In climates were grapes could not be grown, wine brought by land and sea spawned some of the first major import /export commerce, whether from Syria to Mesopotamia, or from Portugal to England. In some cases this trade even influenced the way some wines were made in order to make them transportable for long periods without spoilage. In a few cases the wines actually arrived in even better condition than they left and to this day we still enjoy wines like Madeira, Sherry, Port, and Commandaria which were made for long transport.
While the style and quality of the wines we now make may have changed considerably over millennia, the process of making a quality wine pretty much remains the same. We at JUSTIN are committed to making wines that maintain that long and ancient tradition and that will put us in “in the company of the finest wines of the world”. Our wines are hand harvested to select the finest fruit and each vineyard is fermented separately with great care and the resulting wine is placed in barrels for aging like many of the finest wines that have been made for millennia before them. With the last of our wines from the 2012 vintage going from tank to barrel, we add yet another vintage to the ancient chain that started with that first taste of those fermented grapes long ago.
This year as you sit at your holiday meal with your loved ones and contemplate your own roots with a glass of ISOSCELES, JUSTIFICATION, or JUSTIN Cabernet Sauvignon in hand, we wish you the best for the future with our gift from the past… the finest, finely crafted wines we can make and share with you at this special time. Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.