In the world of top drops there’s aged wine and then there’s 8,000 year-old wine. Scientists in Georgia have just unearthed the latter in a discovery which details the earliest evidence of grape wine-making amongst human civilisation.
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.
The jars were most likely for storing wine in these areas as they depicted images of grape clusters and a man dancing. Previously, the oldest evidence of wine-making was credited to pottery dating back 7,000 years which was unearthed in north-western Iran.
According to Stephen Batiuk, a senior researcher at the University of Toronto who helped publish the findings via the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), this latest artefact find is a serious window into the earl days of wine making.
“We believe this is the oldest example of the domestication of a wild-growing Eurasian grapevine solely for the production of wine,” he said.
“Wine is central to civilisation as we know it in the West. 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.”
One question still boggles the mind though: How did earlier civilisations produce their wine?
According to David Lordkipanidze who is the director of the Georgian National Museum and the man who helped lead the research, wine was made using a similar method to the gvevri process of today. “The grapes are crushed and the fruit, stems and seeds are all fermented together,” he told the BBC.
If drinking wine that’s a little bit less prehistoric sounds like a better idea then check out these cool Australian wines that won’t break the bank.