The technique of drying fruit was likely discovered by accident. It is conceivable that our ancestors came upon fallen fruit, which had dried in the sun, and discovered its sweetness after tasting it. Evidence has shown that raisins were produced by the Egyptians as early as 2000 B.C. Raisins specifically have been mentioned in ancient writings and suggest they were used for eating, treating illnesses, and even paying taxes.
Throughout the ages, wine making has been the most important use for grapes. However, a small amount of these grapes have always been made into raisins. During the late 1800s, Spanish missionaries from Mexico introduced grapes into the United States. Many of the vineyards established by these missionaries in California are still producing today. These early vineyards were primarily used to make wines. However, in 1873 when the vineyards discovered they could make quicker profits by making raisins, the raisin industry was born.