Wine (from Latin vinum) is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes or other fruits. Due to a natural chemical balance, grapes ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, water, or other nutrients. Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol and carbon dioxide. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts produce different styles of wine. These variations result from the complex interactions between the biochemical development of the grape, the reactions involved in fermentation, the terroir (the special characteristics imparted by geography, geology, climate and plant genetics) and subsequent appellation (the legally defined and protected geographical indication used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown), along with human intervention in the overall process.
Wine has been produced for thousands of years. The earliest evidence of wine to date was found in the country of Georgia, where 8000-year old wine jars were uncovered. Traces of wine have also been found in Iran with 7,000-year-old wine jars and in Armenia with the 6100-year old Areni-1 winery, which is considered to be the earliest known winery by far. A still earlier form of "hawthorn fruit and/or wild grape"-based fermented drink was found in northern China, however, where archaeologists discovered 9000-year old pottery jars. Wine had reached the Balkans by c. 4500 BC and was consumed and celebrated in ancient Greece, Thrace and Rome. Throughout history, wine has been consumed for its intoxicating effects, which are evident at normal serving sizes.
Wines made from produce besides grapes include rice wine and innumerable fruit wines, of which some of the best-known are pomegranate wine, apple wine and elderberry wine.
Wine has long played an important role in religion. Red wine was associated with blood by the ancient Egyptians and was used by both the Greek cult of Dionysus and the Romans in their Bacchanalia; Judaism also incorporates it in the Kiddush and Christianity in the Eucharist.