Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

rivers, have played an important role  throughout the history of wine, both as arteries of trade and also through their action in helping to shape valley slopes particularly well suited to the cultivation of the vine. More recently they have provided valuable irrigation water.

A river is crucial to the earliest detailed account of the wine trade. herodotus, writing in the 5th century bc, records how in mesopotamia wine in palm-wood casks was loaded onto boats in the upper reaches of the river Tigris, and then sailed down to Babylon, where the boats were broken up because of the impossibility of paddling them upstream against the current.