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

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

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

Neolithic pottery shards were found to contain grape wine residue from 6000-5800 B.C., nearly 1,000 years earlier than previously 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.

"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, co-author of the study from the University of Toronto. The find in Georgia dates to about 6,000 BC, the researchers said.

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

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The ancient people of Georgia may have stored 300 liters of wine in the massive jars measuring about three feet tall with small clay bumps that are clustered around the rim.

Mr Batiuk said the wine was likely made in a similar way to methods used in the modern day, "where the grapes are crushed and the fruit, stems and seeds are all fermented together".

Scientists on the team came from the United States, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Israel and Georgia.

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.

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Whilst what little remaining liquid has certainly evaporated from the earthenware jars, researchers were still able to identify residual wine compounds that originated from two sites south of the Georgian capital of Tbilisi from around 5,980 BC.

It's awesome 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. But now, an worldwide 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 domestication of the grape apparently led eventually to the emergence of a wine culture in the region".

Wine has been used as a "social lubricant, mind-altering substance, and highly valued commodity" throughout the ages.

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

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"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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