'World's oldest wine' found in 8000-year-old jars in Georgia
Archaeologists working in Georgia have uncovered the earliest evidence of winemaking anywhere in the world, pushing back the previously accepted date by 600-1,000 years.
Eight-thousand-year-old pottery shards found in Georgia point to evidence of the world's earliest grape wine-making, according to scientists. "Georgia is home to over 500 varieties of wine alone, suggesting that grapes have been domesticated and cross-breeding in the region for a very long time".
"Our research suggests that one of the primary adaptations of the Neolithic way of life as it spread to Caucasia was viniculture", said Batiuk.
"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 Stephen Batiuk, a senior research associate at the University of Toronto.
David Lordkipanidze, director of the Georgian National Museum who helped lead the research, said wines made in Georgia today still use large qvevri jars similar to the ancient ones, which measured 80 centimeters tall and 40 centimeters wide.
The earliest evidence of winemaking has been traced back 8,000 years to Georgia by an worldwide team of scientists.
The earthenware jars were found in two sites south of Tbilisi, Georgia's capital, and contained residual wine compounds, the BBC reports.
It's incredible 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.
Researchers also found three organic acids associated with wine - malic, succinic and citric - in the residue from the jars.
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.
McGovern, who co-authored the 1996 Nature study that placed the earliest evidence for grape wine in Iran, said the search for the truly oldest artifacts will continue.
Several excavations performed in the country of Georgia in South Caucasus revealed that humans made wine a lot earlier than it was initially assumed.
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 inside of the jars, dating back as far as 5,980 BC, were coated with chemical traces of wine.
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