Earliest wine in world found in 8000-year-old jars in Georgia

Ceramic pottery fragments from two sites about 30 miles south of the Georgian capital Tbilisi contained residues that yielded chemical signatures of grapes and wine

Pottery fragments from 8,000-year-old jars unearthed near the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, are the earliest evidence of wine-making in the Near East, bringing the tradition back nearly 1,000 years earlier than thought, researchers said on November 13, 2017.

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.

As innovative as this early viticulture was, though, it wasn't the first time ancient humans mashed grapes into a fermented liquid and chose to drink it. Researchers at Washington University, US revealed that women who consumed more than five servings of red wine a month enjoyed higher ovarian reserve - a measure of a woman's reproductive health.

The Neolithic period is characterized by a package of activities that include the beginning of farming, the domestication of animals, the development of crafts such as pottery and weaving, and the making of polished stone tools.

(A) Representative early Neolithic jar from Khramis Didi-Gora. The researchers said that the decorations possibly represent grapes. The excavated sites were originally two villages that date back to the Neolithic period. "6,000-5,800 BC", McGovern and colleagues wrote in their study. While numerous pieces were collected in recent excavations, two were collected in the 1960s; researchers have long suspected they might bear traces of wine.

The latest finds were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Tests on the associated soils largely showed far lower levels of the acid. Researchers said that tartaric acid indicates the presence of wine or a grape product.

That honour belongs to the long-ago people of Jiahu in the Yellow Valley of China, where researchers previously found evidence of an even earlier kind of wine production dating back to around 7000 BCE.

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Telltale chemical signs of wine were discovered in eight jars, the oldest one dating from about 5,980 BC.

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.

With their narrow base, the large clay pots used do not stand up easily, suggesting they might have been half buried in the ground during the winemaking process, as was the case for the Iranian vessels and which is a traditional practice still used by some in Georgia.

In the world of top drops there's aged wine and then there's 8,000 year-old wine.

The excavations in Georgia were largely sponsored by the National Wine Agency of Georgia.

"We believe this is the oldest example of the domestication of a wild-growing Eurasian grapevine exclusively for the production of wine". "They have been saying for years that they have a very long history of winemaking and so we're really cementing that position".

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