Although wine is no longer produced in Iran due to present day Islamist rules, there is a long history of wine culture in Persian mythology and the arts.
The modern-day city of Shiraz is the 5th most populous in Iran (population over 1.4 million) and is known as the city of poets, literature, wine and flowers.
These days, grapes grown in vineyards in the area of Shiraz are used for table grapes and raisin production, but as early as the 9th century, Shiraz was known for producing the finest wines in the Middle East.
Here is an interesting Persian wine article – of an Iranian legend about the discovery of wine:
According to Iranian legend, wine was discovered by a Persian girl despondent over her rejection by the king. The girl decided to commit suicide by drinking the spoiled residue left by rotting table grapes. Instead of poisoning the girl, the fermented must caused her to pass out to awaken the next morning with the realization that life was worth living. She reported back to the king her discovery of the intoxicating qualities of the spoiled grape juice and was rewarded for her find.
Click on the photo image at left of the Hajji Firuz Tepe Wine Jar — the world’s oldest wine jar in the collection of the University of Pennsylvania or here for the Penn Museum’s Origins and Ancient History of Wine website
(One of six jars once filled with resinated wine from the “kitchen” of a Neolithic residence at Hajji Firuz Tepe (Iran). Patches of a reddish residue cover the interior of this vessel. Height 23.5 cm. – jar on display at Penn Museum)
Website Excerpt: Did you know…Humans and most of what they surround themselves with (clothing, habitations, and cuisine), are primarily organic in chemical composition.
Organics are easily destroyed and dispersed; only the application of microchemical techniques can reconstruct what existed originally. The methods and approaches that have been developed for ancient wine can be applied to other organic materials—whether DNA, dyes, woods, resins, drugs, honey, or whatever—as long as they have been well preserved enough (best in dry, desert regions or underwater, where oxygen is not available).
And you can click here for more ancient, fun…and sometimes strange wine facts on the Native Leaf blog.