Viticulture in Egypt is many thousands of years old, although this area doesn't like the cradles of viticulture Mesopotamia or Transcaucasia is counted. An early Egyptian wine culture is evidenced by numerous paintings in grave chambers with wine motifs and depictions of winemaking. Such finds date back to the 5th Dynasty, that is, up to 2500 BC. BC back. A well-known example is that shown in the picture from the tomb of Chaemwese in Thebes around 1450 BC. There are various wine-making steps such as grape harvesting and fermentation in containers, as well as loading a ship with amphorae shown:
In other pictures it will pounding of the grapes were shown with feet, with the workers holding on to poles attached just above head height. Most of the finds come from the present-day city of Luxor in Upper Egypt, the old capital of the empire, known by the Greeks as “Theben 100-gates”. A private winery is described in inscriptions from the tomb of Metjen, a high official in the 4th dynasty (2620 to 2500 BC). This had a large estate with vineyards in Sakkara in the Nile Delta, which are described in the inscription as follows: A very large pond was created, figs and grapes were planted. Trees and grapes were planted in large quantities and a lot of wine was made from them .
In the so far only undamaged pharaoh 's tomb Tut-Ench-Amun (around 1350 BC) 36 amphorae with dried wine remains were found. 26 of them were with vintage. ancestry (Vineyard), owner and top winemaker (the winemaker, so to speak) labeled. For example, a "western river" is mentioned as origin, which most likely refers to the western arm of the Nile Delta, where the best wine regions at that time were in Behät el-Hagar, Memphis and Sile in Lower Egypt. In 2004, US scientists discovered remnants of the Tut-Ench-Amun jugs of a substance that is only found in red wines. This is proof that both white wine and red wine could be made.
The close connection between wine and the diverse Egyptian world of the gods is depicted in various texts. According to the Egyptian belief, wine was referred to as the "sweat of the sun god Re" (most important ancient Egyptian god), as "tear of Horus" (son of Re) or as "child of heaven". The god of the afterlife and rebirth Osiris was considered "Lord of Winemaking" or "Lord of Wine in Abundance". The goddess responsible for love, peace, beauty, dance, art and music Hathor Wine was sacrificed at the annual "Festival of Drunkenness" in jugs, because wine was considered a symbol of blood and the power of resurrection after death. That is why she was referred to as the "Mistress of Wine Jugs" and "Mistress of Drunkenness".
Wine and beer counted towards the minimum income guaranteed by the Pharaoh of every Egyptian. Wine was the preferred drink of the upper class, while the poorer population enjoyed the beer that was easier to produce. The staple food was bread and beer. This also paid the workers in the quarries and for large construction projects such as the pyramids. The Greek scholar and historian Herodotus (482-425 BC) also visited Egypt on his travels and also reported on wine and that time drinking culture, At the time of the Roman Empire, large quantities of Egyptian wine were exported to Rome.
According to a hypothesis, Greek colonists at the time of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) introduced wine-growing in the O-Fayoum oasis south of Cairo. In 2012, the vineyards covered 71,000 hectares with an upward trend. They are mainly used for growing table grapes used in the fertile Fayoum Basin be grown. Most common variety is Muscat d'Alexandrie, The desert-like, dry climate makes it artificial irrigation unavoidable. The annual wine production was only 45,000 hectoliters, which mainly takes place in state-owned companies. This small amount is due to the Islamic alcohol ban due.