Ancient Egypt

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Remains of grapes have been found in late Predynastic sites (c.3300–3000 bc), but the vine is not part of the native flora of the country, and was probably introduced from canaan in Predynastic times, despite herodotus’ false claim (Histories 2. 77) that there were no vines in Egypt. The southern Levantine industry had matured to such a degree that by the time of Scorpion I (c.3150 bc), one of the first rulers of a united Egypt, his tomb at Abydos was stocked with some 4,500 l/1,900 gal of imported wine from southern Canaan. The wine was laced with terebinth tree resin, to which fresh fruit (grapes and figs) and a variety of herbs (including thyme and savory) had been added. Beginning around 3000 bc, the Egyptian pharaohs financed the establishment of a royal wine industry in the Nile Delta.