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Winemaking has been practiced for more than 5,000 years. Ancient Egyptians had hieroglyphics representing wine making, and it was an important commodity in Palestine during the time of Jesus. The Chinese made wine more than 4,000 years ago, as did the Greeks and Romans.

Throughout history, wine has been used as a drink to accompany meals or as part of religious practices. In fact, the use of wine spread throughout Europe because of its use in religious services. Wine also was used as a medicine or curative.

Grapes have been cultivated in the United States since the late 1700s. Enology or viticulture, the cultivation of grapes, is a major industry now, primarily in California, the Pacific Northwest, and the Northeast. Approximately 81 percent of the U.S. domestic wine is cultivated in California. Enologists have played an instrumental role in the growth of the wine industry, experimenting with different types of grapes and growing conditions and improving the quality of wines produced.