Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes or other fruits. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, water, or other nutrients. Yeast consumes the sugars in the grapes and converts them into alcohol. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts produce different types of wine. The well-known variations result from the very complex interactions between the biochemical development of the fruit, reactions involved in fermentation, and human intervention in the overall process. The final product may contain tens of thousands of chemical compounds in amounts varying from a few percent to a few parts per billion.
Wines made from fruits besides grapes are usually named after the fruit from which they are produced (for example, pomegranate wine, apple wine and elderberry wine) and are generically called fruit wine. The term "wine" can also refer to starch-fermented or fortified beverages having higher alcohol content, such as barley wine or sake.
Wine has a rich history dating back thousands of years, with the earliest known production occurring around 6000 BC in Georgia. It first appeared in the Balkans about 4500 BC and was very common in ancient Greece, Thrace and Rome. Wine has also played an important role in religion throughout history. The Greek god Dionysus and the Roman equivalent, Bacchus, represented wine. The drink is also used in Christian Eucharist ceremonies and the Jewish Kiddush.
Monbazillac is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) for sweet white wine produced in the village of Monbazillac on the left bank of the Dordogne River just across from the town of Bergerac in South West France. The appellation covers almost 2,000 hectares (4,900 acres) of vineyards.
The AOC of Monbazillac was first established in 1936, but the area has a long history of sweet wine production. Only wine made from grapes grown in Monbazillac that are affected by the "noble rot" (Botrytis cinerea) can be sold under the Monbazillac designation. (Dry white wines from the same area are sold as Bergerac sec.) The grape varieties Sémillon, Sauvignon blanc and Muscadelle are used for Monbazillac, and the permitted base yield is 40 hectoliter per hectare, although actual yields are lower for many producers.
Monbazillac wines are broadly similar to Sauternes, but a difference is that Monbazillac often has a significantly higher proportion of Muscadelle in the blend, which can lead to slightly different aromas. While Monbazillac in former times could be a simpler semi-sweet wine, the style in more recent years has been that of a fully botrytized wine, since from 1993 no mechanical harvesting is allowed, and harvesting in several tries is required.