Retsina has a tradition that goes back 3500 years, and like many other things we enjoy today, it is a product that was discovered by chance. In ancient Greece, when wine was vinified and stored in large clay pots known as amphorae, the oxygen easily passed through the porous surface, thus resulting in oxidation. In order to protect the wine, one solution was to cover the mouth and inside of the pot with resin from the pine trees neighbouring on the vineyards.
However, the contact between the resin and the fermenting must, added some of the pine's freshness to the wine, thus creating a character that soon became very popular. So a new category of wines was born, resinous wines, which—beyond the borders of Greece—were also found in many other areas in the Mediterranean during antiquity. In the Po Valley in northern Italy, or on the shores of southern France, there are accounts of the production of resinous wine, which was often more expensive, as it was considered to be a more select wine than the others.
There are also many references to this unique category of wines. In his treatise On Odours, Theophrastus expresses his 'weakness' for retsina, stating how compatible this union of two agricultural products, resin and grapes, is. He then goes on to underline that the best resin comes from the Pinus Halepensis (the Aleppo Pine), while Pliny provides a detailed description of the manner in which resinous wine is produced.