Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes or other fruits. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, water, or other nutrients. Yeast consumes the sugars in the grapes and converts them into alcohol. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts produce different types of wine. The well-known variations result from the very complex interactions between the biochemical development of the fruit, reactions involved in fermentation, and human intervention in the overall process. The final product may contain tens of thousands of chemical compounds in amounts varying from a few percent to a few parts per billion.
Wines made from fruits besides grapes are usually named after the fruit from which they are produced (for example, pomegranate wine, apple wine and elderberry wine) and are generically called fruit wine. The term "wine" can also refer to starch-fermented or fortified beverages having higher alcohol content, such as barley wine or sake.
Wine has a rich history dating back thousands of years, with the earliest known production occurring around 6000 BC in Georgia. It first appeared in the Balkans about 4500 BC and was very common in ancient Greece, Thrace and Rome. Wine has also played an important role in religion throughout history. The Greek god Dionysus and the Roman equivalent, Bacchus, represented wine. The drink is also used in Christian Eucharist ceremonies and the Jewish Kiddush.
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