Researchers say they’ve found evidence of grape winemaking from 8,000 years ago in Georgia, which is a thousand years (give or take) older than anything previously discovered. Inventing fermented beverages was practically civilization’s first order of business. And indeed, who can blame our Neolithic ancestors?
In a study published Monday, researchers found wine residue on pottery shards from two archaeological sites in Georgia dating back to 6,000 B.C. The findings are the earliest evidence so far of wine made from the Eurasian grape, which is used in nearly all wine produced worldwide.
“Talk about aging of wine. Here we have an 8,000-year-old vintage that we’ve identified,” said Patrick McGovern, a molecular archaeologist from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and lead author of the study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Previously, the oldest evidence of grape winemaking was from Iran, and China remains the alcoholic champ, boasting the oldest known fermented beverage—“a cocktail consisting of rice, honey, hawthorn fruit and wild grapes”—from around the time of 7000 B.C. But remember, this is all about what researchers can confirm. The New York Times talked to wine chemist Andrew Waterhouse:
he suggested that humanity’s love affair with wine most likely extended deeper into the archaeological record. The animal hides probably used by even earlier prehistoric peoples who fermented grapes into wine most likely decayed over thousands of years, so pottery remains our best bet for discovering how humanity first got buzzed.
Have you tried following the trail of cork art?