Ancient Eygptian and Mesopotamians first planted the grape and made wine according to the archaeological data. It could be seen from the living scenes that Egyptian planted grapes, made wine and wine business from a piece of grave frescoes about 5000 years ago.
Wine was first recorded in �<<SSHI JI>> ( A Historical Record written by Si Maqian in Western Han Dynasty). In 138 B.C.,Emperor Han Wu Dia sent a diplomat, Zhang Qian, to the West Region on a diplomatic mission.Zhang Qian found out that the most popular alcoholic drink in the locality was wine produced from grapes. The rich people stored more than ten thousand `Dan' ( a unit of dry measure for grain and 1 `Dan' is equal to 0.3425 hectolitre) of wine which could be kept for about ten years. People enjoyed drinking wine. The Han Dynasty messenger learnt the techniques of planting grapes and wine- making. The plantation of grape and wine-making in the Imperior Palace was undergoing in large sclae according to historic records. This historical data fully explained that the Han nationality had learned and grasped the techniques of grape platation and wine-making at least in 2000 years ago.
The processes of wine-making is simpler than those of rice wine -making, but the production of wine in ancient China was not so popular for several reasons: grape harvest was a seasonal work, so it was not ease to get grape at any time. The techniques of wine-making had not been widely spread out. The Hans in Han Dynasty failed to grasp the main points of wine-making. After Han Dynasty, probably people did not plant grape any more at Central Plains. Some outlying districts often presented wine as a tribute to the imperial families of sucessive dynasties.
Wine was still a valuable drink in Eastern Han Dynasty. It was recorded that Meng Tuo in Fufeng sent wine as a gift to Zhang Rang. Zhang offered him prefectural governor of LIang Zhou. In the begining of Tang Dynasty, the people at Central Plains knew nothing about how to make wine at all. According to the historic records, Emperor Tang Tai Zong learnt the wine-making techniques from the West Region. The Emperor himself made wine in the Imperial Palace and awarded a variety of wine to aristocrats, The aristocrats had just knew the wine. Gradually, the people in Chang'an City began to enjoy the wine." Many famous poets such as Li Bai, Bai Juyi also wrote poems to praise wine. Moreover the people of minority nationalities set up wineshops to sell wine brought from the West Region at that time.
The rulers of Yuan Dynasty were very fond of wine, and stipulated that people must use wine when they offered a sacrifice to Temple.The scale of wine production reached the largest in the ancient times in Yuan Dynasty and the production of wine was centered in Xinjiang and Tai yuan. The West Region had always been the major wine producing area in ancient China. Some historical data in < Unearthed Document of TuLuFan >� (compilation according the unearthed documenst ) recorded situation of the grape planting, wine production, and wine business in TuLuFan area from 4th centurty to 8th century. It can be inferred that the wine producing scale was fairly large at that time.
Because of the development of distillation techniques, people in Yuan Dynasty began to produce distilled spirit from wine ( brandy), it was recorded in in << Shan Zheng Yao>>�, LI Shizheng also recorded the West Region's grape spirit in his << Ben Cao Gang Mu >>� in Ming Dynasty.
Xu Guangqi in Ming Dynasty ever recorded the varieties of grape cultivatied in ancient China as following:
- The crystal grape, pink white , as powder at surface, large and long, sweet taste.
- The purple grape, black color, large or small, acidic or sweet taste.
- The green grape, produced in the Middle of SiChuan Province, green when it matured. As it concerned green grape in the West Region, its name
- called "Rabbit eyes", sweeter than honey, the seedless grape is precious.
- The "SUO-SUO" grape, produced in the West Region, small as peppers, but that produced in YunNan, large as jujube, good tasted.
After the foundation of the People's Repblic of China, wine -production industry was recovered. From 1950's to the beginning of 60's, varieties of good-quilified vine had been introduced from East Europe. At present, vineries and wine production centers have been set up in Xinjiang, Gansu Province, the plain along the bank of Bo Hai, the ancient reach of Yellow River, and the area of Huangtu Plateau, Huaihe River valley and Changbai Mountain area of Northeast China.The annual output of various wines amounts to 200,000-400,000 tons.