When the Gods Smile
from the book, "Our Fascinating Earth"

Our Fascinating Earth

When the Gods Smile

Seven thousand years ago wild grapes were a major source of food for the people who lived along the Nile. These grapes were harvested by women and quite frequently placed in large urns. Since grapes were continuously added to those already in the urn, the original harvest on the bottom remained there for quite a while. It was soon discovered that they had a desirable quality, so the were purposely left on the bottom.

Grape skins contain natural yeast, so it was not unusual for the crushed grapes on the bottom of the urn to ferment before the top bunches were eaten. Those who were aware of the special quality of the bottom grapes would wait impatiently for the urn to empty so they could indulge in the "bubbling" nectar. The good feeling that always followed was attributed to the "Smile of the Gods."