World's Oldest Wine Found in 8,000-Year-Old Jars
The jars, which the scientists dug up in the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, contain residue from wine once stored inside. According to the BBC, some of the jars were also illustrated with images of men dancing and clusters of grapes.
“We believe this is the oldest example of the domestication of a wild-growing Eurasian grapevine solely for the production of wine," Stephen Batiuk, a researcher at the University of Toronto and co-author of the paper describing the findings published in the Proceedings in the National Academy of Scientists, told the BBC.
The jars came from two Neolithic—a period which began around 15,200 BC—villages called Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora. The inside of the jars, dating back as far as 5,980 BC, were coated with chemical 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 ancient winemakers who were once the keepers of the jars likely crushed the grapes, including the stems and the seeds, and fermented the mixture.
Before this discovery, the earliest evidence of winemaking was found in Iran, in similar pottery, dating back at least 7,000 years—still quite ancient even compared to this new discovery. In fact, similar discoveries have been made Armenia as well, where 6,000-year-old jars used to store wine were found in 2011. Over the summer, scientists from the University of South Florida turned up pieces of pottery in Italy from the same period that contained tartaric acid, a chemical often left behind by wine.
Seems like the ancient people of the world liked to get drunk—understandably; life was probably not easy back then—and all figured out a similar way of getting the job done. Our process might result in better wine in the modern era, but you have to at least admire their ingenuity.