Wine (from Latin vinum) is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes or other fruits. Due to the 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. The well-known variations result from the very complex interactions between the biochemical development of the fruit, 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 8,000-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 6,100-year-old Areni-1 winery, which is by far considered to be the earliest known winery. The earliest form of grape-based fermented drink however, was found in northern China, where archaeologists discovered 9,000-year-old pottery jars. Wine had reached the Balkans by c. 4500 BC and was consumed and celebrated in ancient Greece, Thrace and Rome. It has been consumed for its intoxicating effects throughout history and the psychoactive effects 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.