Retsina, the Greek wine flavoured with pine resin, inspires an immediate love/hate reaction. For better or worse, it is still one of Greece's most iconic wines, and it harks back to at least the first century AD. In his work Naturalis Historia ( Natural History ), the Roman encyclopaedist Pliny the Elder recommended the addition of resin to wine. Another Roman writer, Columella, known for his farming tome De Re Rustica , also wrote in the first century that resin should not be mixed into high quality wines. Resin was used to seal vessels containing wine, to prevent oxidation and leakage, and also mixed into wine, either as a preservative, flavouring, or for medicinal purposes. The most popular legend about how resinated wine became a uniquely Greek beverage refers to the Roman conquest of Greece (146BC), well before the documented usage by the Romans. As the Romans invaded Greece, they looted the country and stole, among other things, Greek wine. In order to prevent the Romans from stealing their tipple, the Greeks deliberately tainted it with pine resin, giving it a distinct flavour that is said to have put the Romans off. (But first-century Roman documentation suggests that they later found a taste, or at least a use, for it.) Until the middle of the 20th century, white and rose wine was delivered to tavernas in Greek cities by the barrel, and taverna owners had control over the resin that was added to the wine. A team from the University of Pennsylvania working in Iran discovered jars from the Neolithic period (8,500-4,000 BC) that once held resinated wine, suggesting that neither the Romans nor the Greeks were the original inventors of retsina.