Vin de Mariani (Mariani Wine) was invented by a Corsican by the name of Angelo Mariani (1838 - 1914) in 1863. The much coveted drink was a combination of Bordeaux wine and coca-extract. The uplifting and medicinal properties of Vin de Mariani was considered as nothing less than spectacular and became very popular in Europe. Angelo Mariani even opened branches of his company in North- and South America and in Indo China. He advertised his product with the help of some prominent people of the time like Queen Victoria, US pres. McKinley and even Pope Leo XIII who awarded his wine a golden medal.
The Americain John Pemberton took Mariani's idea and used it in his own version of 'Pemberton's French Wine Coca'. After alcohol was prohibited in Pembertons home town of Atlanta in 1886 he replaced the wine with a sirope and added Cola-nut extract. This drink later became (in)famous as Coca-Cola.
Some other prominent drinkers of Vin de Mariani are: Arthur Conan Doyle, Alexandre Dumas, Thomas Edison, Anatole France, Henrik Ibsen, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jules Verne and Emile Zola.
The secret recipe:
To be honest I am not absolutly sure how Mr. Mariani made his wine, but it is not hard to speculate. Either he simply added the dried leaves to the Bordeaux and let it sit for a while so that the alcohol can extract the alkaloids. But I am not sure it was done this way since the alcohol content of wine is not that strong. I rather suspect that he made a highly concentrated extract with 100% vol. consumption alcohol (ethanol) and then simply added a small amount of alcohol to the wine. There is also a chance that he distiled the alcohol prior to adding it to the wine to make it even more potent and reduce the flavor of the alcohol so all that remains is the bordeaux with a small amount of highly concentrated coca alcohol.