hist-brewing: pre-1700's wine recipe

Jerry J Harder mastergoodwine at juno.com
Wed Jun 30 17:53:01 PDT 1999

There have been a couple of comments the last couple of days that I
strongly disagree with.  I'd like to comment on a couple of them.

>> While this may sound like I'm poking fun, I really
>> mean to point out  that brewing and vinting are *very* different when
>> it comes to history. Brewing differs from vinting in that it requires
>> technology (albeit very primitive technology is enough).

Indeed.  Your recipe is like saying making beer is simply making weak
wine made from barley porridge.
>When technology took a nose dive around the fall of
>the Roman Empire winemaking techniques changed
>GREATLY.  I'll argue with anyone that winemaking,
>also, involves technology although admittedly less than
I don't believe that technology took any such so called nose dive.  When
Rome fell, the infrastructure for transportation of information as well
as goods went away.  What that meant is that progress in technology
developments slowed, stopped, halted, and became stagnant, or nearly
slow.  The systems (or the ability to share information) provided anyone
was willing to do so were no longer in place.  Thus there was a thousand
years or so where new developments were really really slow.  We can see
though that by researching anything in depth be it clothing, armor,
construction techniques, painting and drawing, even brewing and
winemaking that progress was made.

>Chaptalization is a late period, yet pre-1700

Wrong.  Honey was used as far back as 33 AD by Columella.  They also used
something called cute which was made from free run juice of unpressed
grapes boiled down to a third of its original volume.  This is referred
to again in William Turner's -A Book of Wine- printed in 1597 and again
in Gerard's Herbal in 1595.  And the stuff called wine in the Bible that
the Babylon king gave the Jews for their sacrifices as they left
captivity actually translates as a thick sticky syrup, probably the same

Beth Ann gave a great selection of books; I suggest them as well.

As we look at the use of calcium compounds to reduce acid to the sections
on ordering of wines where color of wines was either reduced or increased
to suit need or season,  How can you say there is no technology involved?

>or measuring specific gravity more accurately (they used to
>use eggs!), 
 That is a trick used in Sir Kinelm Digby's collection of mead recipes
quite a lot in 1659.  Eggs float at about 1.070 specific gravity, and
definitely sink at 1.060.  Most beers would be in the "sinking and sunk"
range and thus egg hydrometers would be in the winemaking realm of

It appears that you are interested (or at least more well versed) in
beermaking technology than you are in winemaking, and that's cool, but I
don't believe you can say one craft was more or less technologically
advanced than the other.

Jerry J Harder aka
Master Gerald Goodwine

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