You are using an old browser that may not function as expected. For a better, safer browsing experience, please upgrade your browser.

Log in Become a Member


The addition of various aromatic substances to wine to improve its taste and/or appearance or to make it more durable is a practice that goes back thousands of years. Many of the ancient wines were flavoured. In ancient texts from Mesopotamia there are recipes with the addition of honey, spices, myrrh and also drugs. The Germanic tribes were already making mead (honey wine) before the turn of time. With the Greeks, resin was added, as is still common with retsina today, but also various spices such as absinthe, aniseed and pepper. With the Romans, spiced wines were very popular, for example piperatum (pepper wine). But they also used lead in the form of white lead or litharge to reduce the acidity and make the wine sweeter. Lead addition was also common in Europe well into the 18th century and correspondingly dangerous. In Stuttgart in 1708, several customers of the cooper Hans Jakob Erni died of lead poisoning, and the punishment is documented: "So, to well-deserved punishment, his head was cut off in the royal city. In other cases, people were content to make such offenders drink larger quantities of their own wine.

Voices of our members

Dr. Christa Hanten

For my many years of work as an editor with a wine and culinary focus, I always like to inform myself about special questions at Wine lexicon. Spontaneous reading and following links often leads to exciting discoveries in the wide world of wine.

Dr. Christa Hanten
Fachjournalistin, Lektorin und Verkosterin, Wien

The world's largest Lexicon of wine terms.

26,011 Keywords · 46,819 Synonyms · 5,324 Translations · 31,346 Pronunciations · 184,293 Cross-references
made with by our author Norbert F. J. Tischelmayer. About the Lexicon