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Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Driven westward by overpopulation in the second half of the 9th century, the Scandinavians colonized Iceland, then Greenland, and finally, a century later, as some sources tell us, Vínland, ‘Wine Land’, which must have been on the east coast of America.
Two sagas, Grenlinga Saga, the ‘Saga of the Greenlanders’, composed in the late 12th century, and Eirik’s Saga, dated mid 13th century, give accounts of the discovery of Vínland, where wild vines, wheat, grassland and game are found.

Scholars do not agree on the precise location of Vínland. The sagas do not give clues, and, although archaeologists have found what appear to be traces of Norse settlements on the east coast of America, the evidence is not conclusive. Besides, the climate was warmer around ad 1000 than now (hence the colonization of Greenland; see climate change) so that vines could survive further north.