Bloodwine, long associated with the Sani Sabik truly has its origins in ancient Athas, refined by the Takmahl and perfected by current Sani Cults.
It comes as no surprise that in all the spirits available in New Eden, that wine is where Amarr Empire excels in. The “weaker” spirits are often overlooked when stronger spirits such as Whiskey’s are dominated by the Federation Distilleries. And beer the Minmatar Republic. Though Ammatar Mandate Beer’s do come close to the richness and texture to their Beers.
Wines in the Ammar Culture (including the Ni-Kunni and Khanid) can be found in every major meal and religious ceremonies. And that is where Bloodwine has its origins, as many Amarr Religious often have context of eating the body of God and drinking his blood. And the small detail that the Amarr people in general are considered the chosen by God only makes the reverence for blood even more important.
This becomes more or evident when examining the death rites of the Amarrian peoples. In houses of Commoners or slaves very rarely was Blood or the Body of the departed was used. Cremation has usually been the process. And yet when looking at the death rites of many Holder Families, they take special care of deceased. Often the blood of the departed is drained and the skin is removed before the rest of cremated and entombed.
Of then the flesh serves to add to chronicle or even add to the Holy Scriptures to a Family’s sacred tome. The process using all the flesh to make special hand written pages. Thus they contribute to the chronicle of the House.
The Blood is then sent to the Family (or a Retainer’s) Vintner to be made part of special blend. This blend will be used in the Family’s religious rites in order to continue to partake in Family traditions. Death Rituals involving the Emperor and Empress are unclear if such practices persist. Though it is know that some Heir’s Blood especially after competing for the through are allowed to go through the ritual providing future generation’s the strength and perhaps a connection to God through the consumption of the Heir’s Blood.
The process of creating this sacred wine starts with the grape of course. While there thousands of varieties grapes and wine blends almost all Bloodwine is made from the Zinfandel grapes. The closer to Ancient Athras (Amarr) the better.
After fermenting properly in oak barrels, the Bloodwine is given as the name of decedent and the year of his death (Example: John Smith YC 115). The end product is dark red wine, thick like a port, robust like Zinfandel and ageless.
It goes without saying that the author prefers this form of Bloodwine, over all else as the flavor of the barrels, the purity of the Blood including type can all be tasted in a mere sip.
Commercialization and Cloning have indeed muddled the process and created an inferior product. Thus the Bloodwine purchased from these sources tend to have no respect for the grape or the blood used. That is even is any remotely resembling human blood is used. While hydroponics do help in the growth of genetically modified grapes. These grapes are often a collage of older species that were specifically for the use in space borne environments. Thus many of the grapes are used for juices, sugars and other products; for which they are excellent at. But not good wine.
The same can be said for the other chief component, the Blood. As mentioned before the Blood from an Amarrian is preferred. True Amarr is the best. With Cloning technology the Blood can be “made” in vats. Usually such medical grade Blood is pretty much neutral (Blood Type is O which is for a Universal Donor). And the Blood in Question may not even be completely Human or Organic.
So while these can be considered to be Bloodwine and sold commercially on the Federation Markets. They are very non-traditional though, perhaps the best source outside of the Empire. Through reputable sources. Most Sani Sabik Cults in the Federation will use these sources.
Wine making is not for the professional Vintners across New Eden. Amateur wine making kits tend to have more traditional instructions regarding various fruit wines. However a quick search on the GalNet will turn up some decent recipes that can be made home.
Sani Sabik Blends made in this fashion tend to be bolder and even more potent; often rivaling Whiskeys and Rums for flavor. The only issue becomes that of Blood. Thus the wine-maker should make every attempt to retrieve the blood of a True Amarr.
The General rule of thumb for Bloodwine, is this. True Amarr of Holder birth, Amarrians of Holder Birth, Commoner Amarrians (which covers most non-Amarrian races) and Slaves. Again this is using more traditional Athrasan methods, not conventional ones.
As most Sani Sabik Cults tend to have different ideas and philosophies regarding the use of Bloodwine it would be too many to list. So how to honor the tradition of Bloodwine without taking away from the spirit of the process. Here are some recommended methods.
Do not treat it like a casual wine. Thus is should not be served with meals like other wines, and at the same time. It is too heavy and potent for such common use. It is not for wine tastings. This popular Gallente Event requires many wines and foods (to clean the palette) for additional tastings. A good rule is that if Champagne is not served with an item then Bloodwine will have the same level of formality.
Drink it for special occasions. Anniversaries, Weddings, Death Rites, special days all qualify for Bloodwine consumption. It can be served warm much like a Port. So when winter settles on your part of the Cluster you can have something warm and significant to drink, whereas Champagne might be more appropriate for Summer time events.
To summarize the Bloodwine is still the primary sacramental beverage of the Holy Scriptures though time has not been kind to it in regard to Imperial Law and the consumption of human blood. But if done correctly (even getting sanctified by a local priest) it can be use in part of the most formal occasions. It’s potency would make it one of the most revered but misunderstood drinks in the cluster.