I went to the Louvre recently for a change, and with a few friends we had a special tour centered on wine related scenes, sculptures and vessels. This is an exciting way to go through the museum, passing vertically across the centuries with wine and other fermented beverages being the civilizational thread uniting all these vibrant cultures. B. was the one that could explain us all the untold stories behind these works, which certainly helps because the small plaques wouldn't tell much more than the author, the date and where it came from. In the Louvre, you can look at ancien historic eras and civilizations, but you can also manage to have on the side an intuitive understanding of the History of wine, because paintings and artifacts speak by themselves if you open yourself to them. Wine has made all these civilizations beautiful, and thinking to the troublemakers who are doing a lot of harm today around the world, I'll repeat the great words of Benjamin Franklin they'd be wise to emulate : Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance...
Wine is as old as known and defunct past civilizations, it is even certainly older than Civilization itself, prehistoric humans had soon understood that Mother Nature had given them the possibility to transcend and elevate their mood and social sharing by indulging in a few drinks. Give a few grapes or berries left to rot in a corner and there would be after a while this sticky inebriating juice that was possibly consumed for religious or pagan perspectives in these early human groups (like in this 6000-year old winery found in an Armenia cave). It's hard for us to imagine how all this began, we tend to project our preconceived view of "civilized man" toward our savage ancestors and we may be wrong all along, they may have had then an internal eye which allowed them to see the world much better than we do, and use its tools and herbs with a visionary intuition [my Rudolf Steiner training speaks here...].
There are so many things to see in the Louvre, most people go straight to a few works that have acquired a cult status worldwide, even among people not particularly into arts, and the Mona Lisa painting (La Joconde in French) must be in that regard the queen of selfies and Instagram. The good side of mass tourism is that crowds more or less concentrate on a few rooms in the large museum, pay for the general costs of running a museum and otherwise leaves much of the collection rooms with reasonable attendance. Lately, the threat of renewed islamic terror has kind of diminished the crowds on major monuments in Paris, including in the Louvre, but you might not notice it easily at first glance, it's still crowded on certain days with foreign visitors including Chinese groups, so it's wise to go there at the opening hour and preferably on a week day if you look for quieter times.
A personnal 2/3-hour tour can be arranged on this wine thread at the Louvre (in French, English & Japanese) and with much more info including the untold story behind these works.
Here you can see interesting information about viticulture in the 16th century : you can see that the man picking the grapes on the right has to climb a ladder as the vine grows along the trunk of a tree. Vines were thus left grow by themselves, possibly unpruned and the trees were doing the job of today's posts, the fruit load for each vine may have been the equivalent of many modern trellised/pruned vines.
On the lower right you can see a man foot stomping the grapes, and a woman checking the flowing juice.
In the background you can see a scene with wood baskets of grapes (looking like half barrels) being loaded into a big open-top fermenter at the back of an ox cart. At the foot of the woman holding the grape box you can see a smaller basket which may be the one used by pickers on their ladder.
Here at the door of the farm (same painting) you can see the cooper busy fixing or building barrels, with scattered cooper tools in the background. The head cooper who is rather well dressed (this was obviously a money-making job) is standing and giving the last touch to a finished barrel while his aide (who is wearing torn clothes) is preparing the wood staves.
In the foreground, center-right, you can see a child drinking the delicious grape juice. Near his/her bare foot you can see what looks like a miniature barrel, of the kind pickers used to carry in the vineyard to quench their thirst.
Here on this little-known picture which was possibly part of a larger painting originally, you can see an interesting detail about the way vines were grown back then : the vine here again is growing around a tree, of which you can guess the trunk in the background. The diameter of this trunk compared to the size of the head on the lower right means it's not the vine itself but a tree which is used as a post.