Verjus is an indigenous product of any winegrowing region. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when verjus was first used but there are references made to sour grape juice in Roman cooking in Platina's De honesta Voluptate, the first printed cookbook, written in 1465. The following is a translation of article 26 of that volume:
26. ON VERJUICE
What they commonly call acresta, I would call omphacium, on the authority of Pliny, and acor [verjuice], on the authority of Macrobius, for omphax, as I have said, means a still-bitter grape; therefore, I would rather call oil from an unripe berry omphacium than acresta, which I do not quite see as being from omphax. [Macrobius] thus defines verjuice: vinegar is sharper than verjuice, whose force it is agreed is greater than acresta, which soothes I>, which soothes the burning of the stomach more mildly and does not emaciate or weaken the body as vinegar is apt to do. Verjuice is wonderfully good for an unsettled or upset stomach or thirsty liver, if you use it raw, for it is less helpful cooked. We use it easily and healthfully against poison and in seasoning foods.
Pliny and Macrobius were ancient scholars and like many others in early Rome, among the first gourmands. Their accounts of banquets dating from the 1st century A.D. describe lavish spreads of exotic foods. The monetary wealth that was generated by the Romans as they expanded their empire coincided with an influx of new foods brought from new territories and that translated to an appreciation for elaborate cooking.

The Romans were also adept at viniculture and viticulture and their cuisine reflects that. Wine was served at the table as well as being used in the kitchen. One of their cooking wines, caroenum, was made by cooking table wine down to a concentrated state and was used to marinate meats. Grape juice in various forms was also used in their cooking; the sweet, unfermented must called sapa, and the sour unfermented must acresta (the Italian word for verjus). Their cuisine would have a substantial impact tial impact on early French cooking, which would be born several hundred years later during the medieval period.

By tracing the path of vineyard propagation by the Etruscans through northern Italy and France, one finds proof that wine grapes were grown in what is now Lyon by 300 A.D. The different climate, much cooler than Rome, is good evidence that the grapes planted there had trouble ripening in certain years and that verjus was probably used in early Burgundian cuisine.

The fall of Rome in 476 A.D. was a disaster to civilized living. Whatever civilization the Romans had brought to the "barbarians" of Northern Europe died. The Dark Ages would last for the next 500 years, a time when mere subsistence was a priority above culture. Without the central government of Rome, roads and cities disappeared and along with them went trade and cooperative commerce. Feudalism, plagues and famine characterize the period from 500 A.D. to 1000 A.D. Intellectual life existed only in the monasteries, where classical literature and the Latin language still existed. Ancient texts were translated and copied by Benedictine monks and were to preserve among other things, winemaking and the brewing arts.

The High Middle Ages, 1000 A.D. to the year 1500 A.D. saw a renewed interest in the arts, trade, and the Roman style of living that would that would manifest itself during the Renaissance. During the Crusades of the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries, ships sailed the "Trade Winds" and discovered new worlds and new ideas. Explorers who traveled to the Middle East returned with such exotic commodities as saffron, cloves, ginger, vanilla and black pepper. An infatuation with spice was present in early medieval cooking and not unlike the Romans, symbolic of wealth and decadent living.