Of all the many ruined buildings, temples and fountains in Glanum, these rooms were the most intriguing to me....
suggesting that the rooms were used for 'smoking' wine, a method of preserving it
Reading about the preservation of both natural and fermented grape juice (wine) in this article was very revealing. Not easy...any of it....in these ancient times. Wine quickly went bad becoming infected with bacteria that rendered it smelly, moldy and undrinkable. There were numerous methods for preventing this...adding boiled down must, adding salt, spices, or marble dust to the wine, or adding pitch or resin to it. Ick! These methods were not fool-proof. Wine was sold with the caveat that the buyer had 3 days to taste and approve of the wine. If it was still good after 3 days, he was stuck with it even if it went bad on Day 4. Once wine soured or developed a bad taste, there were some ways to fix it, however. One such way was to heat a roof tile in the fire, coat it with resin and then lower it with a string into the amphorae of bad wine. After sealing it in the jar for two days, the foulness should be gone. If not, repeat the process until it is!
Apparently, smoking was another way the Romans used to preserve their wine. Smoking artificially aged the wine in the sealed amphorae and kept bacteria from infecting the wine. At least, that's the theory. We'll probably never know how well it worked. Somehow I think that even the best Roman wine would fall far short of our modern standards.