Beer and wine miracle

We think about wine as a joyous part of life, a vital element of religious worship, a sublime complement to food.

Perhaps we do not think of wine as a seminal invention that changed human history. But, it is.

Around 7,000 years ago, humans in several locations discovered how to make beer. A couple of centuries later, we figured out how to make wine. The discoveries were world-transformational. We would not be who we are today without beer and wine.

Beer allowed ancient people to store grain in a way that provided nutrition and calories much longer than raw grain could be stored, and vermin didn’t drink beer. In fact, time made beer better.

Wine allowed ancient people to store fruits in a way that provided nutrition and calories much longer than raw fruit could be stored, and mildew and rot did not spoil the fruit. In fact, time made wine better.

Bonus: the stuff not only tasted good, it made you feel good. The stuff provided liquid—water—that did not kill you with microorganisms or pollution. People drank beer and wine because it was healthier than the liquid from the fetid, scum-spoiled waterhole in dry season. You could mix water and wine (is there a more Biblical notion than that?) to purify water and celebrate the fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

Small wonder ancient people regarded beer and wine as divine gifts.

When you twist Stelvin cap on wine made on the other side of the world and transported in a container ship the size of a small city, reflect on the village genius 5,000 years before Christ who showed fellow villagers a better way. We trod in his (more likely, her) footsteps. Worthy of a toast when you pour tonight.

Tasting notes:

• Chateau ST Jean Chardonnay North Coast 2012. Pears, little butter, apple; clean, nice acidity, creamy, good finish; nice surprise for price. $9

• Concannon Petite Sirah Livermore Valley 2010. Blackberry, cassis, plum, mocha, cheery cherry, licorice; sturdy tannin, smoothly delicious. $15

• Los Pinos Ranch Super Texican 2011. Big and fruity/sweet; plum and red cherry; 50-50 cab/sangiovese, sorta super Tuscan from Texas winery; work in progress, but getting there. $23

Last round: Let’s eat grandma. Let’s eat, grandma. Punctuation matters. Pick a good wine to pair either way.