The Spread of Winemaking in Europe; the Rise of France

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
After the fall of Rome around the 5th century CE, Christian monasteries advanced the arts of viticulture and winemaking in Europe. Local rulers endowed them with tracts of land, which they then cleared of forest and reclaimed from swamps, bringing systematic, organized agriculture to sparsely settled regions, and the grape to northern France and Germany. Wine was required for the sacrament of Communion, and it and beer were made for daily consumption, to serve guests, and to sell. It was in the Middle Ages that the wines of Burgundy became famous.