By Justin Taylor

The Holiday season is now pleasantly behind us, hopefully full of time with friends, family, and those we work closely with year round. After all, the generosity we all enjoy giving and receiving is at its highest during the last weeks of the calendar year. The celebrations you attended may have involved a few toasts from the host, well wishes for the time past and times to come, all topped off with revelry and excitement.

Now imagine being invited to such celebrations on a regular basis, throughout the year. And let’s say that toast and cheers were most often a glass of wine. Well, ancient Romans may have insisted your participation in Bacchanalia. The source of these festivals during the time of the Roman Empire was to celebrate Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, agriculture, and fertility. Not only was Bacchus born of the gods, but he also spent his time on earth teaching civilizations how to cultivate vines for the production of wine, it is told.

Bacchus was derived from the Greek counterpart, Dionysus, who was known as the god of wine, wine-making, the grape harvest, religious ecstasy, and theatre. Those who celebrated during the Greek Dionysia, festivals to honor Dionysus, were said to enjoy the consumption of wine without restraint. This may very well explain why it was the second most important festival to the Greek culture!

During the year ahead, remember all of those you enjoy spending time with, and if the festivities call for a toast of historic proportion, pull a cork and celebrate in style. The wine and vine trivia for next issue: What sales outlet in the U.S. wine market drives nearly $2.5 billion for the industry?

Justin Taylor is winemaker at Parker-Binns Vineyard, Mill Spring, NC.