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  1. #1

    Just where in Cerilia does wine come from?

    Has any of you ever wondered where in Cerilia it is that that noblest
    of all potable substances, the ornament of the princely table and the
    sine qua non of ceremony - yes, it is wine I speak of - comes from?

    Many a realm in the wiki is mentioned as an importer of wine, yet with
    the exception of Alamie and a single province in Avanil, there is hardly
    a mention of where the stuff is actually made!

    Some suggestions. According to Wikipedia the wine grape thrives
    between rougly 30 and 50 degrees latitude on either hemisphere.
    The map of Aebrynis from the download zone suggests that the
    southern shore of the Great Bay is more or less at the 50 degrees
    mark. This would make all but the Rjurik possible viticulturalist.

    This to me seems far too generous. Perhaps the grapes of Cerilia
    are less tough than those of our world, perhaps it's the lack of a
    Gulf Stream on the western coast like Europe has (Halskapa after
    all is roughly where Ireland is, though I would guess much colder),
    but either way, I just can't see the Vos or Brecht having the sort
    of climate which would allow them to make wine. Or the skill and
    patience, for that matter!

    Perhaps then the line should be drawn roughly at the latitude of
    Rhuobhe and the Chimaeron. Any realm above this line, my guess
    would be, is simply too cold for more than weak and incidental
    viticulture. This leaves only the south of Anuire and most of
    Khinasi (about which more later, perhaps).

    Next to temperature, terrain should come into it as well, hills with
    relatively poor soil being by far the best. This should be good news
    for, say, Avanil and Diemed; less so for the swamp-ridden lowlands
    of the eastern Anuirean shore.

    There is also the difference between red and white to consider,
    the latter being somewhat easier to grow in more northern areas.
    If Alamie is indeed a wine producing realm (still not sure about that
    one, me), it's probably sweet-ish whites rather than heady ruby
    reds it goes for.

    Ideas? Comments?

  2. #2
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    I can see the Brecht of the southern basin making wine - Muden certainly although Kiergaard might have had Vineyards before being conquered - and possibly even a few left to serve the Gorgon's table...

    The Rjurik don't strike me as wine drinkers, ale and mead seems more their sort.

    To have vinyards however suggests a food surplus or lack of alternate use for steep land. So I'd agree that Anuire and Khinasi would be the main wine producing regions

  3. #3
    Indeed, southern Brechtür might just be up to it. I'm not sure the Gorgon
    drinks anything at all these days, but if he does, though, I hardly think he'd
    be satisfied with anything less than prime Dieman reds. I mean, if you were
    Napoleon, and had conquered half the known world, would you be drinking
    Rhineland Liebfraumilch?

    Note by the way that Kozlovny is quite a bit further to the south than Müden
    is. Nice hills, river too...

    What about the elves, though? Almost all of the Sidhelien realms are too far
    north for wine. Now, there is a wonderfully ringing sound about the phrase
    "elven wine", but when you think about it, one could well argue that the elves
    don't make wine in our sense of the word at all.

    Not only is viticulture hard work, after all, something tender elven hands can't
    be too fond of, but it is also quite unnatural in a forcing nature to do your
    bidding sort of way. I'd say elves prefer wild berries for their tipple, or mead
    perhaps.

    Another reason for restricting wine to Anuire and Khinasi might be its religious
    value. If the Church of Haelyn is anything like the Catholic Church, after all,
    and I certainly think it is, then red wine should play a major role in its rite.

    I've heard it said that monastic orders were some of the most important wine
    producers of the middle ages, spreading the grape and techniques around
    europe precisely because they needed red wine for ritual purposes. Anuire
    might well be the same.

    As for the Khinasi, Avani as the goddess of reason should hardly encourage
    clouding one's judgment with intoxicants; probably wine is strictly forbidden.
    On the other hand, the Khinasi might well have a mystical tradition as well
    which involves drinking copious amounts to reach unity with the divine.

    Any ideas on the Haelynite uses of wine, then?
    Last edited by willezurmacht; 08-11-2007 at 03:49 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    I can assure you that you seem to have forgotten a number of issues that crop up...

    Latitude, altitude, wind speeds, and temperature, all of these can destroy an otherwise possible vineyard. The Vos hardly have the proper temperature to grow vines, and places like Mhoried have few if any places that suit grapevines.

    The same applies to various provinces. I could check it out more thoroughly, though, but I don't have the mindset to do that kind of research now.

  5. #5
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    It is worth remembering that in a medieval world very few places will have safe water - weak ales and wines likely form the basis of much fluid intake for the populace, particularly in cities and the like where any water is likely to be polluted to some degree.

    Given the choice between ale, wine and possibly mead I would expect that the Khinasi do drink a reasonable amount of wine. They may well welcome the added creativity perceived from mild inebriation and the ability to bend a few of their social mores without necessarily losing face - codes of conduct can be very different at social gatherings, temple rituals, orgies and the like to the rest of society which provides useful safety valves in repressive cultures. I would expect that at the same time excessive drinking leading to drunkenness or other loss of control would likely be seen very negatively indeed by the Khinasi and known openly only amongst the lower castes.

    I see the elves as being able to shape the growths around them either by direct magic or sympathetic response, so growing vines, albeit not in industrial quantities, should be viable for them in places well beyond the latitudes available to other races. Similarly other dull repetitive tasks to do with wine-making (which is where I struggle to see elves doing the work) could be avoided through magic to do the job (unseen servant tread those grapes!) or preferably (since I dislike the idea of overt magic being common place) more subtle magic on the grapes themselves (to make them ferment naturally on the vine for example).

    On Haelynites, red wine often symbolises blood, so has obvious ritual uses for a god of battle (I am presuming of course that human sacrifice is obsolete in the Haelynite faith). Also alcohol has clear links to mysticism and wine is often perceived as more refined than mere ale so could be preferable to aesthetic branches of the church. I would see Cuiraecen as also preferring red wine, and Belinik although the Vos are too far north. Kreisha would likely go for white wine due to the colour but again is mostly too far north (although I'd see her as a natural in the deserts down south in a role as 'the scorching sun' or 'pitiless sands' where again she would be the goddess of the harsh side of nature).

    I see the Gorgon incidentally as very much the Anuirean gentleman who refuses to accept that he has become a monster. Unto a god perhaps but monster no. So I see him as enjoying the finest silks, smoothest liquors, etc and practicing manners becoming a prince - barring his occasional wild rages or dealing with uppity peasants or other persons who refuse to recognise his true station. Given his immortality wine is a natural hobby (in an overseer with minions kind of way) as he has time to cultivate varieties to suit his palate in a way few other beings do. He cultivates bloodlines in the nobility, I see him as doing so for both animals and plants too. Of course the idea of outsiders being fortunate enough to taste his age-old vintages is unlikely, only the bravest or foolish would even think of daring to steal from his casks...

  6. #6
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    I doubt Kriesha is ever perceived as the "scorching sun."

    A point I feel I should make: I also doubt that the Vos and Rjurik have much dealing with wine; ale, lager, beer, mead, all make far more appealing drinks to them, basically due to the near inability to grow grapes (honey, grains, and hops are all far easier to procure in cold climates).

    I expect that the Brecht will also be very particular about their few white wines, rums, and ales. I can even imagine them being the ones to invent the stout, all the above being related to ports and sailors (a white wine is far better than a red one when it comes to seafood, for example - and white wines are best cold, whereas red wines should generally be chilled).

  7. #7
    RaspK - I wouldn't say I've "forgotten" a number of issues concerning wine-
    making, seeing as how that would imply I know something about it in the first
    place. Sadly, my oenological nous is as good as nothing.

    What I was asking was something much simpler than a proper scientific expla-
    nation. Wine is, by our common expectations of a medievalesque world, an im-
    portant substance on Cerilia, economically as well as culturally. Despite that
    fact, the books tell us very little about it.

    Looking at the map, then, I asked myself, where could wine be produced? And
    where should we, for adding flavour to our understanding of Cerilia, want it to
    be produced? After all, whatever knowledge of viticulture may come into this,
    it's only a tool for us to make things more believable, more exciting.

    Andrew - your take on the Gorgon is intriguing. Wouldn't that make the most
    audacious adventure for your that jaded Rogue of yours - to spirit off a bottle
    of the Gorgon's most treasured wine right from under his nose? Hmm...

    As for the Khinasi, it all depends on how much Muselman you wish to make
    them. I like to think of them as something quite close to the Islamic world
    just after the collapse of the united Califate, fully kitted out with an orthodox
    faith which strongly frowns on the use of alcohol, and a strong tradition of
    rationalist philosophy; but even such a culture is bound to have its share of
    scoundrels, poets and mystics who take orthodoxy with a pinch of salt.
    Whether I'm right - Allahu a'lam!

    Here's some suggestions for where the best wines in Anuire would come from,
    then. The west coast is out - the Sea of Storms with its constant gales and
    fog makes sure of that. The eastern coast is too flat and soggy. But rather
    good would be the Arnienbae, which is warm, sheltered from sea and wind,
    and rocky. I picture it as a bit like the Bay of Napels. The eastern slopes of
    the Seamist mountains in Avanil, and even better the foothills before them,
    should work admirably as well. Tuornen and Alamie are too flat in the south,
    too cold in the north. Didn't Tuornen have a pint of beer in its arms, as well?
    The hilly bits of Ghoere and Roesone I could very well see working, though,
    and Endier might have terraces cut out along the Maesil, if you imagine the
    land as sloping down to the river from the hills of the Spiderfell.

    Now, the economic implications of this would be quite interesting - a handful
    of realms in Anuire would control the flow of wine to most nobles in Cerilia.
    What if they closed the tap? Boeruine reduced to drinking a commoner's ale?!
    It would be an unspeakable insult. I can just picture him exploding.

    I'll try and come up with some vintages of name. Too bad my own campaign
    is set in crummy old Dhoesone all the way up north!

  8. #8
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    I'll try and wrap up something when I have more free time; hell, call it either oenology or winery, that's what I study!

  9. #9
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Hi RaspK_FOG.

    My take on Kreisha is that she is the harsh side of nature - in the north the freezing winter, in the south the pitiless burning sun - these are complimentary spheres in my view not opposites - although the relevant priestesses would likely disagree!

    I took that view as it allowed one of the evil gods to have a natural home in Khinasi which otherwise has no natural native dark god to spice things up. By contrast in canon Belinik can be easily placed in Anuire (i.e. wherever nobles focus on might and their rights rather than honour and their duties they tip from Haelyn to Belinik); Belinik and Kriesha can both resonate in the Rjurik Highlands (rugged toughness turning to brutality for Belinik, the constant battle to survive in a hostile environment for Kriesha); the Brecht suffer Kriesha's attention (freezing seas, mountainous terrain) as well giving her a home.

    An alternative to expanding Kriesha's portfolio would be to create a minor deity (Avani and Erik's bitter wayward daughter?) or have one of the awnies worshipped, the Serpent is the obvious candidate in the latter case.

  10. #10
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    You are mistaken if you think that cold does not creep in the desert: at night, the temperature can go below 0° C (32° F).

    But to each his own.

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