Lindsey Zahn at On Reserve traces wine regulation back to the First Century A.D., when Roman Emperor Domitian banned the planting of new vineyard in what is now Italy and ordered half the vineyards in outlying provinces to be torn up.
The edict was created because of a strong outbreak of famine in the Empire and was designed to increase the production of corn in the Roman Empire by eliminating “mediocre vines occupying land that could be ploughed and was better suited for corn crops than wine-growing”…History suggests the edict was ignored by the Roman provinces, as “the Gaulish (French) wine-growers took their sacrifice with a very bad grace, and the legions had to be brought to enforce obedience . . . [but] the vineyards of Bordeaux survived this holocaust without suffering too much damage.”
Even before that, however, there were taxes levied on wine shipments. That apparently didn’t go well either.
Read the whole interesting thing here.