Birthplace of Wine. 8000-year-old Jars Found Near Tbilisi

Birthplace of Wine. 8000-year-old Jars Found Near Tbilisi

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

Previously, the earliest evidence of grape wine-making had been found in the Zagros Mountains of Iran and dated to 5,400-5,000 BC.

"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, co-author of the study from the University of Toronto.

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

In Georgia, there are some types of wine that are still made in a similar type of jar, called a qvevri.

The team of researchers hailed from the United States, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Israel, and Georgia.

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In 2011, a wine press and some fermentation jars from around 6,000 years ago were found in a cave in Armenia, proving that wine-making is an ancient process. They have been working for the past four years to re-analyze archeological sites that were found decades ago.

But the Chinese drink used a wild grape that has apparently never been domesticated, while the Georgian wine used a Eurasian grape species that did undergo domestication and led to the vast majority of wine consumed today, said researcher Patrick McGovern.

Researchers also found three organic acids associated with wine - malic, succinic and citric - in the residue from the jars. "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".

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. "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". These decorations, the researchers hypothesize, represent grapes.

"As a Georgian, we always believed that wine came from Georgia, but now we have scientific evidence from natural science and archaeology to prove it", said David Lordkipanidze, director of the Georgian National Museum and co-author of the study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

But the new findings push the date of origin back further.

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