The significance of wine, as hailed by poets and touted by kings is evident in ancient Greece’s cult worship of Dionysus and the Dionysian celebrations. The position of wine in religion was a prominent one. Libations, the ritual pouring of wine, were the manner in which the ancient Greeks honored their gods and an amphora of wine was the last companion of their dead as they embarked on their final journey.
Wine, however, remained the Greek people’s everyday companion in later historic periods as well, such as Hellenistic and Roman times. During Byzantine times, wine was no longer known as oenos. Its name had changed to krasi and as it gradually came under the protection of Christianity, it acquired symbolic significance: Christ was referred to as “ambelos” (vine) and wine symbolized the blood of Christ, drunk by the faithful during the sacrament of the Holy Communion. Thus, the link and affinity between Greeks and wine continued and the position of wine in religion was maintained, even though the Dionysian celebrations became a “forbidden” memory of pageantry -resurfacing during such times and Christian celebrations as those honoring Agios Tryphon, patron saint of vintners in Greece.