Georgian Excavation Site Holds the First Evidence of Wine Production

'World's oldest wine' found in 8000-year-old jars in Georgia

The World's Oldest Wine Has Just Been Unearthed

Previously, the earliest evidence of wine-making was from pottery dating from about 7,000 years ago found in north-western Iran.

Earlier this year, in August, researchers found traces of 6,000-year-old wine on ancient pottery recovered from a Sicilian cave, rewriting the history of wine-making on the Italian peninsula.

"Our research suggests that one of the primary adaptations of the Neolithic way of life as it spread to Caucasia was viniculture", Batiuk said.

"We believe this is the oldest example of the domestication of a wild-growing Eurasian grapevine exclusively for the production of wine", said co-author and senior researcher Stephen Batiuk.

In Georgia, there are some types of wine that are still made in a similar type of jar, called a qvevri.

The earliest evidence of winemaking has been traced back 8,000 years to Georgia by an global team of scientists.

It's unbelievable to think that 8,000 years ago the world's earliest winemakers were producing something very similar to the wine we consume today - and what's even more startling is it hints we probably had lots more in common with these ancient ancestors too.

The excavation sites in Georgia are about 50 km south of the capital of Tbilisi and comprise of two ancient villages. They have been working for the past four years to re-analyze archeological sites that were found decades ago. The scientists there found traces of tartaric acid, which is a chemical signature for grapes and wine.

"Wine fermentation isn't a survival necessity", archaeologist Patrick Hunt from Stanford University, who wasn't involved with the research, told National Geographic.

But this heady drop wasn't the wine we know and love today, and incorporated hawthorn fruit, rice, and honey mead, in addition to grapes. "The domestication of the grape apparently led eventually to the emergence of a wine culture in the region".

"As a medicine, social lubricant, mind-altering substance, and highly valued commodity, wine became the focus of religious cults, pharmacopeias, cuisines, economics, and society throughout the ancient Near East", he said.

The researchers say this chemical evidence is a snapshot of early human civilisation toward the end of the Stone Age, as it encountered new environments and made the best use of whatever resources found there - which in this case included cultivating the beginnings of all modern wine.

"The Taurus Mountains of eastern Turkey are also a prime candidate for further exploration with its monumental sites at Gobekli Tepe and Nevali Cori at the headwaters of the Tigris River", dating as far back as 9,500 BC, he said.

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