The culture of wine in Moldova goes back a very long way, with evidence of winemaking found dating back to the Neolithic Period, approximately 7000 years ago. Since then, wine production has passed through various stages of development. During the ancient stage, Greek settlers shared the secret of fermentation with the locals. Next came the Romans, who brought their winemaking experience with them to the country. In the Middle Ages, high-ranking Moldovan royal servants started entire businesses with vineyards and small wineries where wine was stored and processed. Proud cup-bearers staked their reputations on the wine choices they made for the royal table.