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Brandon
July 17th, 2002, 05:56 PM
What kind of wine do characters in fantasy books drink?

Many many stories have characters drinking "wine." Is it possibly for us to make an educated guess, matching the general fantasy period to our own history, and give some ideas to as exactly which kind of wine they were drinking? I would like to buy some of these wines just to try myself what the fantasy book hero drinks :) But there are so many different kinds of wines....what do you think?

Miriamele
July 17th, 2002, 10:12 PM
Hey Brandon, you're just across the river from me. :)

But about the wine--I don't think it's possible to determine the kind of wine characters are drinking in books. Throughout history people have always drunk wine and beer because they didn't have any way of purifying water like we do today (well they could have boiled it but they didn't know that).

The kind of wine depends on the land in which the story takes place, and also the social standing of the character drinking it. Peasants wouldn't drink the same wine as a nobleman, if they even got any at all.

Brandon
July 18th, 2002, 12:15 AM
Miri, I never even thought about them not having pure water, thanks for bringing that to my attention
Wouldn't that also be largely based on terrain, with some mountainous places like greece having pure water
You know, since all bottled water is from some alp or another :)
Would it help if I narrowed the situations to one of adventurers in an inn and another of what nobles might drink
Althrough the request might still probably be invalid, I don't really know much about wine
In my own experience, It seems that you could sum up the most popular red wines in about 10+ names or so. sauvignon, pinot noir, merlot, port, ummm you know what i'm talking about. in restauraunts on the menu I usually see either cabernet sauvigon, merlot, or zinfandel. Do you think we can assume these more popular wines have existed throughout history, or they were likely to be drinking something completely different?

Eventine
July 18th, 2002, 12:51 AM
I think it is hard for us to tell how the different grape varieties have evolved as time has gone on.
While production methods have been modernised, they still are essentially the same process.
So really the only difference I can see between the wines the and the wines now is mass production.
You don't have to be a noble to drink good wine either. Sure, the lower folk could have made a pretty penny selling some of their better vintages to the nobles, but that doesn't stop the odd punter from having a few vines out in the backyard to make some goon for himself.

Eventine
July 18th, 2002, 12:54 AM
Also Brandon,
Port wouldn't be included in the same list as pinot, cabernet, etc.
It is a fortified wine and you would list it with tokays, muscats, etc.

Talaith
July 18th, 2002, 01:02 AM
I remember reading a very long time ago about some archeologists who found a Sumerian (I think) tablet explaining how they made beer. It isn't wine obviously but if you are feeling really ambitious you might be able to track that recipe down and brew yourself the favored drink of Gilgamesh. :D

Or you could try some mead, which would doubtless be easier than trying to find the recipe for Sumarian beer. :)

Cadfael
July 18th, 2002, 02:02 AM
Miri's comments about the reason for drinking beer and wine are so true....

The used to re-used the hops in beer making... to make three strength of beer... the first batch was the full blow strong ale... for ritual and celebrations. The second time the hops were used was for you ordinary everyday ale... and the third time was for you breakfast beer, and for younger children.

Barbarossa
July 18th, 2002, 06:31 AM
I actually had a university course on the subject of the history of wine :)

Most things said here are correct.
Important is wine was rarely drunk pure.
Usually it was mixed with water. If no wine was available vinegar was used.

Wine travelled pretty badly especially over land.
Wine was also usually "improved" by adding sugar or spices, or by mixing several windes.

Mulled wine was very common.

Most of today's grapes are the result of breeding from the 17th century onwards.

One "original" grape would be the Elbling grapes from the mosella river in Germany which were first introduced there by the Romans.

Bardos
July 18th, 2002, 07:29 AM
About clean water: It could be found in mountain springs and rivers. Though, you must check if they were poisoned or anything. But, when it was tasted and it was ok, the water, could be brought to town, either throught wells or with an aqueduct. (Near my place are the ruins of an old Roman aqueduct.) Or, of course, someone(s) could bring water in a bucket.
Btw, in the Minoan Palace was discovered that they had a whole system to channel water and fill bathtubs, etc. Also, many things ancient people did we can't. One of them is liquid fire (greek fire), that was thrown on water and continued to burn (!) --especialy usefull in naval battles. And other discoveries have, also, come to light: machinery and technologies that we wouldn't have though that existed at the time. Hey, what can be more fantasy than life, in the end?

Wine: Well, it's that liquid stuff made from grapes. :) Ancient Greeks drunk it watered, so they could drink a lot without geting drunk. The landlord will usually have workers to make wine for him. (They gather the grapes and step on them barefoot, to make the wine.) But that doesn't meant that a peasant also won't have a bit for himself.

Now, about what type of wine heroes in fantasy drink... I think they drink that kind that makes you slay 12 orcs with a single blow --Orc-Slayer's Wine! :D

estranghero
July 18th, 2002, 08:25 AM
Originally posted by Bardos

Now, about what type of wine heroes in fantasy drink... I think they drink that kind that makes you slay 12 orcs with a single blow --Orc-Slayer's Wine! :D


Oy, careful Bardos, you might get manticore mad at ye, him being a campaigner of orc-rights and all! :D

P.S. Isn't mead available in the English Isles and all? Someone once let me taste it before and I could see why English barbarians grew hair on their chest. :p