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Wine is an alcoholic beverage made of grape juice through fermentation. A few dozen grape types produced by the vine plant Vitis vinifera are of particular interest to wine experts. Popular varieties include cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot, pinot noir, and zinfandel. Where these grapes grow determines much of a wine's character. Differences in weather and lighting conditions, soil, and temperature are distinguishable in the taste of wine so that the same grapes result in different wines in different regions. Details of the fermentation process and aging further profile the end product—be it red, white, rosé (blush), sparkling, sweet, or dry.

The history of wine is a history of global trade by powerful economic actors. The story begins in Mesopotamia and Caucasia roughly 8,000 years ago. The ...

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