Wine is Life

Coan amphora
Capacity, 25.2 liters

Among the many Greek wines that the Romans particularly respected was one called simply bios("life"). Apparently it was both flavorsome and had many distinctive health-giving qualities. Its reputation meant that its production was described in detail:

"The grapes are picked a little before they are ripe and are dried in a fierce sun, being turned three times a day for three days, and on the fourth day they are put through the press and then left in casks to mature in the sun. The people of Cos mix in a rather large quantity of sea-water: a custom arising from the peculation of a slave who used this method to fill up the due measure, and this mixture is poured into white must, producing what is called in Greek 'white Coan.'" (Pliny, Natural History XIV.78)