Son of Zeus and Sèmele, Dionysus is the only one among the celestials who has a mortal as a parent. He was revered as a protector of the fruit harvest, as well as being the inventor of wine. He was credited with the art of divination and was invoked as a healer.
Dionysus, son of Zeus and Semele, discovered wine by chance and immediately offered the great gift of Mother Earth in all the vast and enchanted valleys of Olympus, decides to make known the new "nectar" to all humanity, and he sets out on a journey accompanied by his faithful friends. Silenus, an affectionate and wise old satyr, is always beside him when he is not drunk, but mostly he is. He rides a donkey that trots alongside the princely chariot, where Dionysus travels, adorned with vine shoots and pulled by the two inseparable tigers. The unbridled and playful procession crosses many regions, populated by unknown people but well used towards a young man, handsome as a god and kind as a prince, who teaches them the art of making wine and also explains the main properties with an abundance of details of the vine.
Egypt and India were the first to receive the notions for making wine and declare wine a divine drink granted to men by celestial benevolence. But, in the destiny of Dionysus, there are not only garlands of roses and wreaths of vine leaves. Zeus's wife Hera hates to death the son of her young rival Seele and pursues him with endless calamities. Once while he was traveling on a ship, the furious goddess had him chained in his sleep by the pirates. But the young man wakes up and here is the ship transformed by magic into a fertile vineyard and the pirates into leaping dolphins. On the way back, the festive procession arrives on the island of Naxos, on the Aegean Sea, full of vines and fertile crops. As evening falls, when the songs and dances have ceased, harrowing laments are heard from afar. It is Arianna, the daughter of Minos, who desperately weeps for the abandonment of her lover Theseus. Dionysus orders the girl to be brought before him, looks at her, and immediately lights up with love for her. He wipes the tears of her beauty with his kisses, makes her sip a glass of wonderful, sparkling red wine, and asks her to marry. Arianna feels invaded by a sweet sense of well-being, she forgets Theseus and flies, happy, into the arms of Dionysus. The wine this time too was full of love and joy. The god returns to Olympus with his young wife, to whom he has given immortality, while men on earth honor him with feasts and sacrifices and venerate him as the inventor of wine and master of viticulture. This is the myth of the Greeks, which is lost in the mists of time when historians have seen the symbol of civilization in the winemaking.
Source: Editoriale Domus, Il Vino nella Storia