Oinomancy is a form of divination by interpreting the patterns in wine. Derived from the Greek οίνος (oinos – wine) and μαντεία (manteia – divination).
Oinomancy can be traced back from ancient Greece and Rome where wine was poured as a libation to the gods, hoping for a prosperous future. The ancient practice was performed by a priestess known as a Bacchante, and protected by Bacchus, the Roman god of wine.
Oinomancy could be done in various ways:
Spilling out the wine on a cloth or paper and examining the stains
Soaking or boiling a cloth or paper in wine and evaluating the patterns formed on the material
Pouring a wine as an offering during libation and observing its appearance
Studying the sediments formed in a glass or bottle of wine
Studying the physical features of wine such as color and taste
The procedure known as the ‘three vases of Artephius’ is a divinatory method related to the magic mirror, hydromancy, and oinomancy.
Modern forms Drinking to someone’s health is a modern survival of such old customs.