In ancient times, a large part of Persia belonged to Mesopotamia, where, among other things, the origin of the cultivated grapevine and viticulture is suspected. There is a beautiful legend about the "invention of wine" in the time of the legendary Persian king Dschemid, who lived about 2,500 years before Christ. According to the Greek historian Herodotus (482-425 B.C.) and later confirmed by Strabo, intoxication was deliberately used during the Achaimenid dynasty (559-331 B.C.) to judge important issues. The decisions made had to be confirmed in a sober state. This also applied vice versa, because decisions made in a sober state were reaffirmed in intoxication. At that time there were also rations for the population, fixed according to the occasion. For example, women who had given birth to a son received ten litres of wine, whereas a daughter received only five litres. Even the royal horses and camels were given beer and wine. The working population received fixed monthly rations of wine, men 20 to 30 and women 10 litres.
Despite the Muslim seizure of power in 641 and the associated ban on alcohol, wine was still produced. The city of Shiraz near the old capital Persopolis was a wine centre and had a reputation for fine wines in the Middle East. It is erroneously named as the origin of the Syrah grape variety. In the works of the poet Omar Khayyam (11th century) wine plays an important role and the famous poet Hafis (1324-1388) made a declaration of love to wine in his verses. In the 17th century wine was already bottled and exported to India. From the 17th to the 19th century, wine from Shiraz was repeatedly praised by English and French travellers, for example with "No part of the world has better wine than Shiraz". The most frequently described was a sweet (for longer storage) or dry (for immediate enjoyment) aged white wine. According to a documentation of an English traveller, it was produced with mash fermentation and a kind of filtration through canvas roofs. He writes that "only after five years does the wine develop a fine aroma and bouquet with a nutty taste".
After the exile of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (1919-1980) and the seizure of power by the Ayatollah regime in 1979, wine growing in Iran came to a complete standstill very quickly. In 2012, the area under vines amounted to 226,000 hectares (see under Wine Production Quantities). But not even one percent of this area is used for wine production and almost exclusively table grapes and raisins are produced. Wine as a basis for the distillation of alcohol is mainly used for medical (for example disinfection and medicines) and industrial purposes.