Oldest evidence of wine-making found near Tbilisi
14 November, 2017
Oldest evidence of wine-making found near Tbilisi
Scientists found evidence that world’s earliest known vintners were Georgians. An international team of archaeologists found the oldest-known evidence for wine-making about 30 miles south of Tbilisi on a small mound called Gadachrili Gora and in a nearby village.

The scientists investigated fragments of 8000-year-old earthenware jars they had found at the sites, two Neolithic villages, once home to perhaps 60 people each, consisting of small mudbrick houses. Both BBC News and The National Geographic have reported about this important
discovery.
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Archaeologists excavating this Neolithic Georgian village found pieces of clay pots containing residues of the world's oldest wine (Photograph by Stephen Batiuk).

The researchers performed biochemical analyses to find residual wine compounds the pottery had absorbed. As they announced on Monday they detected telltale chemical signs of wine. According to the experts, the findings show that people had been making wine earlier than previously known and that this important cultural achievement occurred in Georgia. Until now, the oldest wine-making evidence had come from pottery from the Zagros Mountains in northwestern Iran dating to 5400-5000 BC.

"Alcohol had an important role in societies in the past just as today," said University of Toronto archaeologist Stephen Batiuk, one of the researchers in the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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Wine-making is an important Georgian tradition (Photograph: Brian Finke, National Geographic).

David Lordkipanidze, director of the Georgian National Museum who helped lead the research, said large jars called qvevri similar to the ancient ones are still used today for wine-making in Georgia.

Some of the grayish jars are decorated with simple images of grape clusters and a man dancing. Evidence of wine was spotted in eight of the jars, the oldest from about 5980 BC.

"The wine was probably made similarly to the traditional qvevri method in Georgia today, where the grapes are crushed and the fruit, stems and seeds are all fermented together," Batiuk said.

This is not the earliest sign of any alcoholic beverage. Evidence previously was found in China of a fermented alcoholic mix of rice, honey and fruit from about 7000 BC.

Related stories:

Georgia – 8000 years of wine-making

Is Georgia the world's cradle of wine? - CNN

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