‘A Jug of Wine, A loaf of Bread and Thou’
Mans love affair with Wine has no beginning, and no end; it is the alpha and the omega of libations. Theories abound as to its origin, one that stands out is the story of an ancient group of nomads who stored grapes in barrels, one of the barrels of grapes became foamy and turned sour so it was determined that it was poison and was not to be touched.
A young girl who suffered horrible headaches decided to kill her self and drank of the poison grapes. But Loa and behold, instead of dying she felt great, her headache was gone and she danced and laughed. Her family was amazed and also drank some and they too felt joyous and happy.
The Egyptians thanked Osiris and the Greeks Dionysus, for the gift of wine. Hebrews believed Noah discovered it. There are 256 Biblical references both for and against drinking wine and fermented drink. Isaiah 25:6 “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples, a feast of rich food and choice wines.” Archeologists have translated the Laws of Hammurabi, the king of Babylonia around 4100 BC. and one of these laws regulated innkeepers and the manner in which they ran their hostelries. The penalty for allowing guests to become drunk and disorderly was the loss of a limb and in extreme cases death. Could this be the origin of the phrase “You’re cut off”?
The spread of wine and the Christian church is synonymous. Wine is the essential ingredient for many sacramental rituals, and the church fathers recognized its food value. Since they made wine for personal use and not for profit they were able to concentrate on quality not quantity. Evidence of their work still exists in France today. The men of the church were also the first to mix wine and brandy with herbs and plants for medicinal use. The two most famous of these secret formulas are Bénédictine and Chartreuse liqueurs.
In the year 1525 Hernando Cortez, the governor of Mexico, ordered vineyards to be planted but the king of Spain stopped this as he feared his colony would become self sufficient. In 1769 a Franciscan missionary, Father Juniparo Serra at the mission San Diego planted the first vineyard in California. He established eight more missions and vineyards and is known as “the Father of California wine.”
Although man had been making wine and beer since the beginning of time, it was not until the 1860s that the fermentation process could be explained. The great scientist Louis Pasteur revolutionized the wine industry with his discovery of the minute organisms in wine called ferments.
He demonstrated that when these organisms are exposed to air the fermentation process takes place. “Wine,” said Pasteur “is the most healthful and hygienic of beverages.” Wine has always been considered to be food and medicine. In ancient times wine was invaluable to physicians who prescribed it for stomach problems, pain. Research has proven that drinking 5-oz. for women and 10 oz. for men per day raises levels of HDL, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. The good cholesterol.
This prevents arteries from being blocked or hardening. Flavenoids in red wine are powerful antioxidants. Wine also contains the vitamins B and C along with some trace minerals. Wine is also better than Pepto Bismol for intestinal disturbances.
The statistics on wines financial impact are staggering. California’s wine revenue for 2006 was 51.8 Billion dollars. Oregon took in $184.7 million.
I have a magnet on my refrigerator that says,”I love to cook with wine; some times I even put it in the food.” And thanks to the expertise of Harley and Marcella from the Yachats River House and (what used to be) Yachats Wine Trader, I was able to pair the perfect wine with my Six-Spice Maple Chicken recipe.
Six-Spice Maple Chicken
- 4 tsp. Ground cumin
- 2 tsp. Ground ginger
- 2 tsp. Garlic powder
- 1 ½ tsp. ground red pepper 1tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 cut up chicken
Mix together spices, rub the chicken first with olive oil then the spices. Place chicken on broiler and broil on both sides approximately 12 minutes per side. When chicken is done mix together 1 TBSP olive oil and 1/3 cup maple syrup and one bunch chopped green onions, pour over bird and broil 3 more minutes. Serve with “Broadley” Scott Paul, Pinot Noir 2005. This is a light delicate fruity red and it is best allowed to breathe for at least an hour before serving.