Ancient Wine


A very successful ‘Ancient Wine Mini-Symposium’ was held at the JH Neethling building at Stellenbosch University on 13 November 2012.

Sponsored by the Department of Viticulture and Oenology and the Institute for Wine Biotechnology, the event attracted between 60-70 participants from the wine industry, academic departments and the wider public. Members of the audience included winemakers, industry representatives, microbiologists, historians, museum curators, sociologists, Biblical scholars and horticulturists.

The speakers included Prof Sakkie Cornelius and Dr Samantha Masters, both from the Department of Ancient Studies, who delivered papers entitled ‘“Eat, drink and be merry”: the grape and wine in the art of ancient Western Asia’ and ‘Embellished cups and honey-sweet speech: the art of the ancient Greek symposium’ respectively. Prof Alain Deloire, of the Department of Viticulture and Oenology, spoke on viticultural practices from the Roman period to late 19th century France. Dr John Moore, from the Institute for Wine Biotechnology and who helped organise the event, discussed the significance of wine-related scenes in the tomb art of Ancient Egypt.

The keynote speaker was Dr Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania Museum (Philadelphia, USA) who spoke on ‘Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Extreme Fermented Beverages’.

From left: Dr John Moore (Institute for Wine Biotechnology), Prof Sakkie Cornelius and Dr Samantha Masters (Department of Ancient Studies), Prof Alain Deloire (Department of Viticulture and Oenology) and Dr Patrick McGovern (University of Pennsylvania Museum, Philadelphia, USA).

Xian, China

Crete, Greece

Oxford, Ashmolean (Egyptian)

Oxford, Ashmolean (Egyptian Alabaster Wine Cup)

Neolithic Bone Flute from Jiahu, Henan (China)

Dionysus, Greek god of Wine (Corinth, Greece)

Oxford, Ashmolean, Egyptian Section

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