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Wine Without Boundaries
Copyright 2003 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved. For more information go to

Here's a short story inspired by a glass of wine, an American blend from California with a French background that made me stop and think about how truly international this remarkable beverage really is.

First made long before humans invented the written language to describe it, wine's archeological roots go back to the Bronze Age in the ancient Near East, with the earliest evidence of its production found around the Black Sea in what is now the Republic of Georgia.

Vines and wines spread quickly throughout the Near East (it's no coincidence that the Bible is full of references to wine, both in praise and dismay) and then throughout the Mediterranean, where the ancient Greeks and Romans knew them well. Before long, vines were planted across Europe, wherever the Roman Empire went that grapes would grow. And even in modern times, when wine is made commercially on six of Earth's seven continents (Antartica's icy climate and lack of a permanent population rule it out as a wine producer), its European heritage remains strongly felt in the names of most grapes and the wines themselves.

The moral of today's sermon? Nothing too deep, really. But as I prepare to take off next week for a tour of Bordeaux with an international group of wine lovers, I can't help but ponder a philosophy that I for one hold deeply: In a modern, high-tech globalizing world, the international story of wine makes a decent parable for the common-sense idea of bringing people together rather than driving them apart.


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