Why wine is integral to Persian culture

 

Iranians have enjoyed and been inspired by wine for millennia

IT IS easy to assume that Iran has never been a site of drunken revelries. Westerners imagine Iranians to be a homogenously pious and modest group, and so suppose that viticulture is wholly foreign to them. This image is not helped by recent legislative action; in January, the government banned the printing of the word “wine” in all books as it deemed the beverage an element of a “Western cultural onslaught”. Yet suggesting that drinking is a quasi-blasphemous act obfuscates the fact that alcohol—and wine in particular—has been an inextricable part of Iranian culture and identity for millennia. Indeed, current estimates suggest that Iranians imbibe around 60m litres of alcohol a year despite the government crackdown.

During the heady reign of the Pahlavis (1925-79) Iranians freely indulged in drinking as it was legally permissible to do so. While it is true that legislation was much more liberal before the Revolution than it is today (one need only take a glance at popular pre-Revolution Iranian cinema and advertisements of the era), the Pahlavi dynasty was far from the first to openly tolerate drinking. Indeed, the oldest-known traces of grape wine—found in the Zagros Mountains in western Iran—date back some 7,000 years.

 

Source : https://www.economist.com

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