Several excavations performed in the country of Georgia in South Caucasus revealed that humans made wine a lot earlier than it was initially assumed. The excavations revealed several ceramic jars used for storing the beverage. Researchers tested the jars and discovered they were about 8,000 years old, suggesting that wine was being made about 1,000 years earlier than we thought.
The ceramic jars held traces of wine
Researchers were performing the excavations at two Neolithic sites situated close to Tbilisi, the capital. These two sites, Shulaveris Gora and Gadachrili Gora, dated back from 6000 to 4500 BC, and hid some remains of several ceramic jars. Researchers took them to the laboratory, and the chemical analysis identified traces of tartaric, succinic, citric, and malic acid. All of these can be found in wine.
Researchers were excited to make such a discovery. Stephen Batiuk, one of the lead authors of the study, concluded that this was the first evidence of winemaking among humans.
“We believe this is the oldest example of the domestication of a wild-growing Eurasian grapevine solely for the production of wine.”
Georgia is one of the most suitable areas for winemaking
Before stumbling upon these ceramic jars, the oldest evidence related to the existence of wine came from today’s Iran, in the Zagros Mountains. However, these traces dated back from 5400 to 5000 BC, also in the Neolithic period. This was the moment when humans started involving in agricultural activities such as plant-growing and animal domestication. Also, they started creating tools out of stone and pottery out of clay.
Therefore, this discovery doesn’t only highlight the beginning of winemaking. It also shows the first attempts at farming and at domestic activities. Georgia is one of the perfect environments for such undertakings, as it hosts about 500 species and varieties of grapes used only for wine, together with many others cultivated for fruits.