Bottoms Up! The Story of Wine, Its Rituals & Glasses.

Drinking-Bacchus-Guido-Reni-1621 This new, light-hearted talk examines the history of wine, an elixir that has sustained much of humanity for almost 10,000 years. Essentially little more than fermented grape juice, this extraordinary and contradictory liquid has caused wars and riots, has helped to broker peace and most commonly, served as an aphrodisiac. It has been personified in the form of Gods and been the principal catalyst in civilised entertaining and dining rituals.

Wine is based on ethanol, a potent alcoholic poison and depressant. Yet, when consumed in moderation, its effects are liberating, euphoric and positively beneficial to our physical health. What do we do when we drink too much and feel bad the following morning? Swallow another glass of it to make us feel better!

Bottom’s Up! traces the story of wine: from its humble beginnings in rotting grapes before the Bronze Age to the present when single bottles can change hands thousands, even tens of thousands of pounds. It examines the extraordinary diversity of paintings and artefacts, including drinking vessels, that have been created by history’s greatest artists and craftsmen to enhance the pleasure of wine, and to impress guests.

The talk visits the ancient societies of Egypt, Greece and Rome, travels through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and 18th century Britain. It culminates in the present day, when more wine is being consumed than ever before, with its world market now worth over £100 billion.