Sunday, 17 December, 2017

Evidence of 'World's Oldest' Grape Wine Dug Up in Georgia

The excavated sites contained the remains of two Neolithic villages at Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora The excavated sites contained the remains of two Neolithic villages at Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora
Nicole Thomas | 14 November, 2017, 19:31

Talk about vintage wine: Pieces of broken pottery found in the nation of Georgia provide the earliest known evidence for the origins of today's winemaking industry. Previously, the oldest evidence of wine-making was credited to pottery dating back 7,000 years which was unearthed in north-western Iran.

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.

"Our research suggests that one of the primary adaptations of the Neolithic way of life as it spread to Caucasia was viniculture", said Batiuk. "Georgia is home to over 500 varieties for wine alone, suggesting that grapes have been domesticated and cross-breeding in the region for a very long time".

"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.

Large jars called qvevri, similar to these excavated ones, are still being used for modern-day wine-making in Georgia, according to David Lordkipanidze, director of the Georgian National Museum.

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

The earthenware jars containing residual wine compounds were found in two sites south of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, researchers said.

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In 2011, Areshian reported the discovery of a 6,000-year-old winery in Armenia.

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. Researchers took them to the laboratory, and the chemical analysis identified traces of tartaric, succinic, citric, and malic acid. But now, an global team of researchers say the practice actually began around 6,000 BCE in the South Caucuses, on the border of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

The team said important next steps would be trying to narrow down exactly where in the general region wines were first produced from cultivated vines.

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

Testing of the Georgian pieces showed evidence of a slew of acids from wine that had been made inside the erstwhile vessels.

Telltale chemical signs of wine were discovered in eight jars, the oldest one dating from about 5,980 BC.

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