Persian wine

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Mey being poured in a Safavid court painting, 17th century Isfahan.

Persian wine, also called Mey (Persian: می‎) and Badeh (باده), is a cultural symbol and tradition in Persia, and had a significant presence in Persian mythology, Persian poetry and Persian miniature.

History of wine in Persia[edit]

Recent archaeological research has pushed back the date of the known origin of wine making in Persia far beyond that which writers earlier in the 20th century had envisaged. Excavations at the Godin Tepe site in the Zagros mountains (Badler, 1995; McGovern and Michel, 1995; McGovern, 2003), for example, have revealed pottery vessels dating from c. 3100–2900 BC which contained tartaric acid, almost certainly indicating the former presence of wine. Even earlier evidence for the existence of wine has been found at the site of Hajji Firuz Tepe, also in the Zagros mountains. Here, McGovern et al. (1996) used chemical analyses of the residue of a Neolithic jar dating from as early as 5400–5000 BC to indicate high levels of tartaric acid, again suggesting that the fluid contained therein had been made from grapes.[1] To the surprise of many, it is of note that wine's discovery in old Persia predates French wine as the earliest evidence in France only goes back to 500 BC, according to French archeologists.[2]

As book of Immortal Land [Persian: سرزمین جاوید or Sar Zamin e Javid] (by Zabihollah Mansoori) says Ramian Wines in Parthian era were famous in the world. Today Ramian Wine is a brand in California. However, Today Shiraz wines are famous across the globe.

Legends and myths[edit]

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.[3]

Symbolism of wine[edit]

Within the body of Persian poetry, grapes and wine appear frequently with symbolic, metaphorical and actual meanings.

Depiction of Persian wine in miniatures[edit]

Over the course of many centuries miniature painting developed into a sophisticated art of its own in Persia. In galleries and museums around the world, one witnesses Persian miniature paintings that were created in recent years. The most important element that all these paintings share is their subjects. The subjects that are mainly chosen from Hafez’s "Ghazaliyat" or Khayyam’s Rubaiyat. Therefore, the Persian wine, Mey, and Persian wine server (or cup bearer), Saghi, are essential parts to a majority of these paintings. Usually, the old man in the painting is Hafez or Khayyam who, having left his scholarly position and books behind, is now drunk in Kharabat (a mystical run down tavern that is located in a remote and poor corner of town) or in Golshan (garden) drinking wine from the hands of gorgeous Saghis.

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