Wine is an old beverage, only younger than beer and water in terms of human history. Wine only needs fruit, water, and yeast, as well as a little time to ferment. Raw wine, that hasnt been aged is called grappa and is usually very cheap to get, and is also of poor quality. Most wines derive their name from the location where they are grown, such as Porte, Burgundy, and Marsala. While it is a common notion that wine is only made of grapes, wine can be made of any sugar laden fruit, and in the southern United States wine can be found made from strawberries, peaches, blueberries, and less than commonly known grapes such as the muscadine and scuppernog.
Some Thoughts on Race and Wine
Humans are likely to be the most prodigious producers of wine, being the race most commonly associated with mass agriculture. Most of the wine for sale or in circulation will be human made. Elves would make better wines, having greater experience, delicate senses, but would always fall behind humans in that their wine is produced via hortaculture rather than agriculture. They let the grapes grow where they will, rather than creating vinyards. Dwarves, long time ale and beer drinkers would remain so, grapes dont grow well in mountainous terrain. Orcs and goblins would likely have wine as well, but rather than organized efforts, each clan, tribe, or band would have a few members who know how to make some stout home-brew.
Quick Wine Basics
The standard wine bottle (really a rather modern notion) is just shy of 1/5th of a gallon, or one liter. The dimple in the bottom of the bottle is called the punt and has been given a variety of reasons for existing ranging from the technique used to blow glass bottles, to strengthing the bottle, to being used a guide by servants, pointing with a thumb inside of the punt.
Piccolo - quarter-liter
Demi - half liter
Standard - 1 liter
Magnum - 1.5 liter
Double-Magnum 3 liters
Imperial - 6 liters
Sovereign - 25 liters
There are a large variety of other bottle sizes, such as the 20 liter Solomon, the 12 liter Balthazar, and the 9 liter Salmanazar. All of these bottle sizes are named for biblical kings and such, and would fit rather awkwardly in a standard genre fantasy game. As such, I only included the generic named sizes. The Demi and Piccolo (half and small, respectively) are easy enough to rename into another in game language. A Demi could be a Halflinger, or a Hobbit, and the Piccolo could be a Kobolder or some-such.
This is a very popular wine, formost coming from the Ermengarde valley in Nahalast perfecture. It is a ripe and full bodied wine that is best served slightly chilled. This wine is seen as a status symbol of sorts among the gentry and the nobility, and serves as the baseline of what is acceptable in polite company, and what is plebian wine.
The elves cultivate grapes in the open meadows of the Ferginwaithe forest, and ferment a potent wine from from it. This wine is special in that the entire process is handled, from picking to bottling, entirely by the elfin women of the forest. The grapes, renowned for their dusky color produce a sweet and slightly musky pink wine.
3. Turhin Red
Turhin is a very cheap wine, made from whatever grapes are left from the pickings in the Turhino river vinyards. This includes the grapes that were rejected for other wines, wild grapes, and anything else that might be dumped into the mixture. Given the size of the region, a large amount of this wine is made every year, and sold only in wooden casks. Generally it is sold to taverns, brothels, and slum hostels and is of uniformly poor quality.
4. Creustold Red
This wine, made from the fermented juices of the creuse, a fist sized red citrus fruit, is known for its strong citrus taste and palate cleansing ability. This wine can cut through the most persistant fish oils, overly spiced cuisines, and the like. It is seldom consumed by itself, but it popular on fish, served with runny cheeses, or taken as an eye-opener first thing in the morning.
5. Daidaugh Wildwine
An expensive wine with a complex taste, Daidaugh is made only from wild grapes found growing around the druidic copse at Daidaugh Hill. Very few bottles are made and most are consumed by the druids themselves, but the few that are sold command a hefty price on the market due to scarcity.
6. d’lil Auflaque
Elves are not known for making cheap wines, and d’lil Auflaque is as close as they get. This wine is a mixture of whatever is left from the casking and bottling for the year. It is blended, usually spiced with a blend of aromatic herbs, and bottled. It isnt a bad wine, but it is considered sub-par, even when compared to some human vintages.
This wine is generally reviled by elves and friends of the forest as it is aged in oaken barrels made from treefolk. The wine itself is mellow and nutty. It is an expensive wine since the winery only has a few barrels that can properly age the wine. The rest of the wine, which is similar in taste sells much cheaper and is simple Rhoh Red.
This blood red wine is made by the orcs of the Lynnian steppe from the fruit of the Ada tree, a fruit much like a pomegranite, but somewhat larger. The wine itself is almost syrupy in consistancy, and slightly adhesive. Orcs drink it in large amounts, and sometimes use it as a flammable weapon, throwing burning bladders of the wine at wooden defences and squads of human infantry. If cut with water, Adat makes a palatable beverage.
This wine is grown along the Pol river in the Keethian highlands, an area of fog and damp mornings. The vinters are a majority half-elven, and have preserved a blend of human industry and elfin pragmaticism to produce a several dozen acres of vinyard. These large pearl red grapes make for a delicate and savory wine, and bottled in a round-shaped bottle, a distinctive vintage. The wine commands a high price, but is generally considered a top vintage that isnt among the super-rare varieties.
10. Rast-Apple Cider
Ciders are all made from apples or pears, but are essentially still wines. Rast-Apple cider, made from a peculiar golden apple is a popular if expensive beverage. It is good for easing illness of the stomach and gut as well as never leaving a hang-over. To ensure that the cider is legitimate, a single seed is left in the bottom of the bottle.
From the time it is planted till the time it is vinted, Chetherlerorm is never touched by human hands. The vinyards at Lerorm, on the Chether river are run by a guild of magi, and they have bound elemental spirits and dryads to tend the vinyard and work the grape presses. As such, the grapes are unspoiled by human contaimination, and it isnt until the first drop falls on the tongue that it is touched by a human. Unfortunately, this wine is onyl expensive due to it’s mystique and status, and as a wine it is rather lacking in character.
12. Ilta Lynath
Often called the wine of bards, Ilta Lynath is made with extra potency, and after quaffing several glasses, even the most lead-tongued bumbler feels moved to sing and recite epic poetry. While the elves generally record this in their multi-volume books of prose, most human ramblings are quickly forgotten or become popular tavern songs. The wine itself is a passably good red wine with a smooth velvet finish and a warm citrus aftertaste.
13. Darkim Black
A red wine so rich and opulent that it is almost black in color, Darkim is the preferred wine of tieflings and darkling kindred. The grapes are watered with a mixture of blood and water, and fertilized with ground bone. The plants are thick and lush, the wine is fragrant and a pleasure to drink. In most regions, Darkim is considered an illegal good and is confiscated and destroyed, and Darkim vinyards tend to be put to the torch when they are found.
14. Lajoga Gold
Made from the Lajoga fruit, a golden raspberry shaped fruit the size of a pear, this wine is a local treat made by the halflings who live around Lajinduin and Hillscaer. The wine is very sweet and has a lingering aftertaste. Halflings drink it by the pint, while in human communities it’s cut with red wine, making a pink brew that is called Harlot’s Kiss. It is mainly cut thusly because there is plenty of mediocre red wine to be had, and not much Lajoga Gold makes it out of the halfling clachans.
The bellfounders of Eoro have long sponsored a winery to supply them with good wine. The Eoro region is rather known for it’s puritanical stance on alcohol, and have banned for profit wine and beer making. the Bellmakers guild has sponsored the winery, and the wine made isnt sold, but is a perk of being part of the Bellfounder’s guild. At the current time, of the guild’s 700 members, only 3 are actually involved in making bells.
16. T’puuli Hastras
A sacred wine, the elves only make seven bottles of it a year. The vintage is made exclusively by a single master vinter, each given as a gift to an elfin lord or lady. The wine is considered the height of wine-making and in the rare instances when a bottle reaches the open market, the price is astounding. This has happened twice before, the first time the bottle sold for close to 3200 pieces of gold, and dissappeared into a lord’s wine cellar. The second time, the bottle was sold, stolen, resold, and then six dozen bottles of counterfeit was discovered.
This white wine comes exclusively from the Mosant region, where it is grown and vinted by the monks of San Toor. This wine has a light floral flavor and a heady bouquet, and is popular among elfin-blooded, mercantile elites, and troubadors. Artowkr depicting the excesses of the upper crust frequently have Mosant depicted in it’s recognizable square glass bottle.
18. Kalakhammer honeywine
One of the few wines vinted by dwarves, Kalakhammer is made from honey, cardamon, and blueberries. The pale blue beverage has a potent spicy flavor and is more of an experiment among the Kalakhammer clans than a major consumable. They export most of the wine, the principle buyers being jaded humans looking for something different.
Empero wine comes in both red and white, and is generally only found in sovereign sized bottles. Vinted centuries ago, this wine is most commonly found in burial crypts, and the semi-preserved ruins of old Empire cities. It was a popular wine of the day, but the recipe, and likely the grapes that went into it, have been lost to time and decay. A single bottle of red can cost as much as a good warhorse, the white is slightly cheaper as more bottles of white have soured than the red.
This goblin-vinted wine is quite foul, both in scent and in taste. Popular only among goblins and the most desperate of the poor, it is potent, and can be used for cleaning wounds. It has a second use that is largely kept secret, marinading tough meat in the wine makes it tender and imparts a special savory flavor. The nobles who live close to goblins often eat meat soaked in goblin wine, all the time not knowing what their chef does to make even the rankest cut of meat palatable.
This wine is made along the boundaries of the Tirwaithe forest, and is frequently traded with the elves who live there. The humans of the region adopted the name the elves called the wine, Shujhinrae, without knowing it’s meaning. Later on, it was discovered that Shujhinrae is really Shu j’hinrae, or s**t wine. The wine has greatly improved since then, but the locals cannot expell themselves or their wine of the name.
This uncommon wine is only found in piccolo sized bottles, as it is vinted by the faeries of the Suingmc Clique. It is made from a variety of fruits, the most common being blueberries, wild grapes, and milkweed pods. The wine itself is a milky purple color and slightly thick. The taste is strongly floral with a mildly bitter aftertaste. The main reason the wine is popular is that consuming an entire bottle will leave the drinker in a semi-conscious hallucinogenic stupor. After this, they are afflicted with a certain manic energy and creative urge. this is caused, in speculation, by the dust from the fairies wings that falls in the wine.
23. Engarban Red
A fairly common red wine, Engarban is known for coming only in double-magnum sized bottles. It is a decent quality wine, with a citrus-woodsy flavor and goes quite well with most red meats. It is a common practice for less affluent middle and low ranking nobles to refill expensive bottles of wine with Engarban, since it is cheaper and is fairly good.
24. Khyashma Blue
This potent blue wine is made from the delicious but highly poisonous Khyashma Baharavaush berry. While the berries, and the wine are lethal to humans and goblinoids, it is considered a delicacy among the fey. On occasion, the fey will ‘forget’ that this blue wine is indeed poisonous to humans and their ilk. The flavor is deep and mellow, with a floral aftertaste.
Made from the ‘apples’ of a desert cactus, this dry white wine is commonly found in arid regions and near trade routes that pass through nomad territory. Bottled in whatever is at hand, most vinters authenticate their bottles by dropping a desert sand scorpion into the bottle before corking it. This has the side effect of making the wine lethally poisonous for about 24 to 48 hours, until the alcohol breaks down the poison in the scorpion. Counterfeiters will put regular scorpions in white wine and try to pass it off as Lyetincha.
26. Old Warback
This passable red wine has been grown for made for close to three centuries. The guild that manages the vinyard, presses, and aging are old military families, their sons having traditionally served in the King’s Army for several years before retiring to the vinyards. Warback is given to the soldiers of the army in lieu of paying taxes to the crown, and being soldiers themselves, they make sure the wine is good enough to drink and enjoy. It falls short for connesiurs, but most soldiers lack a certain snobbishness when it comes to wine.
27. Ashold Firewine
The Ashold province has a number of semi-active volcanoes and fumarole fields. This produces a constant fall of ash across a good part of the province, fertile soil for the hardy grapes that grow there. The so-called firewine usually has herbs and oils added to it to give it a spicy flavor. Without this treatment, it is a rather sour red wine.
Also known as Green Forest Wine, Elm-Aleril is made predominantly from juniper berries and white grapes. it has a distinct light green color and a spicy taste but finishes clean. This is the most common elfin wine that humans ever encounter, and is plentiful enough that it can be purchased at a high, but not astronomical price.
29. Criton Double-Wine
Criton, fermented from the large white grapes common to Critonshire, has a simple floral flavor but is a rather watery and weak wine. To make up for this, the venters will ferment the wine, distill it into brandy, and then mix it with a water-undistilled wine mixture. This double-wine, as it is termed is a decent white wine, but varies highly from batch to batch. One bottle can be great, the next suited only for washing fungus off of feat.
This wine is vinted in massive 1000 gallon vats, and is borderline unconsumable by humans. The grape juice is spiked with pure grain spirits, powdered sulfer, ground bone, and several other repulsive ingredients. Left to ferment for several weeks, the vats when complete are drained into wagon mounted tanks and taken to the sole consumer of Mebelche, a massive red dragon. After drinking the tank of idragon-wone/i, the beast belches repeatedly, spewing fire about. It later passes into a comfortable stupor and sleeps for several days. Rather than slaying the dragon in it’s sleep, the community that vints the wine instead has a pet dragon for their defence. If they die or flee, no more dragon wine for the dragon.