Islam: The wines consumed

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Both Arabic poetry and other sources such as agricultural works tell us much about wine as a product. Although wine was produced in al-Tāʾif in the Hijaz (156 km/97 miles south east of Mecca) from pre-Islamic times, it was imported mainly by Jewish and Christian merchants from syria and mesopotamia. With the expansion of Islam, Arabs were introduced to finer wines grown mostly in the Christian monasteries of Iraq. ʿAna in upper Mesopotamia is only one of many areas that were known for viticulture. It was in the taverns around monasteries and in the monasteries themselves that most wine was consumed, as well as some of the outlying towns of Baghdad, districts of Baghdad itself (especially al-Karkh), and not infrequently in the caliphal court at the very heart of the Islamic community.