Living in Crete :: Q&A : Did Ancient Greeks Introduce Wine to France?

Bacchus Roman God of Wine or in Greek Dionysos Διόνυσος or Διώνυσος 2nd century CE (1)

The answer to the question: Did the Ancient Greeks Introduce wine to the French? is a resounding MAIS QUI!

We all know of the consummate passion in France for wine as the "l'eau de la vie". It may come as a surprise to know that it is all down to the Ancient Greeks. That is what a recently published Cambridge University study discloses, anyway.

Unrelated to the survey but as you know Crete is the cradle of European civilization and the origins of wine and olive oil, so let us assume the Cretans had a hand in being part of the collective "Ancient Greeks".

The Cambridge University study concludes that original makers of Côtes-du-Rhône are none other than descendants from Greek explorers who settled in southern France around 2500 years ago.

The study's chief supporter, Prof Paul Cartledge, suggests that the world's biggest wine industry might never have developed had it not been for a “band of pioneering Greek explorers” who settled in the South of France around 600 BC.

What is more, the study found that it was following the founding of Massalia by the Ancient Greeks, now known as the port city of Marseilles, wine helped Massalia become a major trading site, where local tribes of Ligurian Celts (.. those Irish were everywhere!) undertook friendly bartering.

The original newspaper article on the Cambridge University study that shows how the ancient Greeks gave the French their l'eau de la vie" is at

I wonder if the French pride is just a bit dented, perhaps even galled over the revelation that the Ancient Greeks introduced wine to their culture? If I recall correctly, the French along with the rest of Northern Europe favour using the Roman name of the "God Of Wine" which is Bacchus but in Greek he is known as Dionysos or Dionysus or Διόνυσος or Διώνυσος . In view of the latest Cambridge University revelation perhaps we should also use more appropriately the Greek name of Dionysos.