Surely, at some point, you have wondered what the origin of the word “vino” is. Perhaps the first thing you have thought was that it comes from Latin (like most Spanish words), you have looked for it and in effect, you have come to the conclusion that the word “vino” comes from the Latin vinum which means “grape juice fermented”. But in reality, this word hides more etymological secrets than it seems.
The difficulties of finding its etymological origin lead us to think that wine and its tradition have accompanied man since its appearance. As proof of this, we know that it is one of the words that appears in most languages for thousands of years.
The origins of the word “vino”
It is clear that to speak of the etymological origin of the word “vino”, it is necessary to go back to the origin of viticulture and the discovery of the cultivation of the wine. The oldest documented archaeological remains of wine production are found to date back to the Neolithic, some 8,000 years ago.
Viticulture and wine production originated in Asia Minor (now Turkey). Therefore, the word comes from some language of that area. Specifically among the Semitic languages, there is the Arabic and Ethiopian “wain”, the Assyrian “īnu” and the Hebrew “yàyin” with a proto-Semitic form “wainu”.
Years passed, and the word, along with viticulture, traveled to the western Mediterranean. There it is found in Greek “οἶνος”, in Albanian “vēnë”, in Hebrew “yayin”, in Georgian “gvino” and in Latin “vinum”. It was from this last language that it came to Spanish and it became the term: “vino”.
The wine throughout history
Just as the origin of the word “vino” is the result of the coexistence of several languages, wine has also been nourished, throughout all these centuries, by the properties of different areas of the world.
Studying the etymological origin of the word “vino” helps us discover that it is a concept that has lived and traveled a lot throughout the history of mankind. And it is that, wine has been (and continues to be), one of the main travel companions of human beings.
The history of words helps us to reflect that they hide realities that exceed us in age. It makes us part of a history, of a culture.