Culture&Arts

World's Oldest Wine Found In Georgia

World's Oldest Wine Found In Georgia

Not only does the latest evidence back-up theories that Georgia was the birthplace of modern wine culture, but it also suggests that wine is at least 500 years older than first thought. Before this discovery, the oldest chemical evidence of wine was from between 5400 and 5000 BC in Iran, making this new discovery quite a bit earlier than we had thought.

The oldest of the jars was dated at about 8,000 years old, which makes it the earliest artifact showing humans consuming juice from the Eurasian grapes.

Pottery from a site in Georgia has tested positive for traces of wine.

"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 Stephen Batiuk, a senior research associate in the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations and the Archaeology Centre at the University of Toronto.

The ancient winemakers who were once the keepers of the jars likely crushed the grapes, including the stems and the seeds, and fermented the mixture.




According to David Lordkipanidze who is the director of the Georgian National Museum and the man who helped lead the research, wine was made using a similar method to the gvevri process of today.

Researchers used a combination of mass spectrometry and chromatography techniques to identify the compounds found in wine in the ancient jar fragments.

The team analyzed 18 shards from pottery jars uncovered in recent years from multiple sites across Georgia, as well as samples from a 1960 excavation. The scientists there found traces of tartaric acid, which is a chemical signature for grapes and wine.

Researchers also found three organic acids associated with wine - malic, succinic and citric - in the residue from the jars. Experts from University of Toronto in Canada and Georgian National Museum have found that wine-making as a practice began hundreds of years ago on the border of Western Asia and Eastern Europe.

"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 world's oldest non-grape wine is believed to be a fermented drink made of rice, honey and fruit, found in China and dating back to around 7000 B.C.


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