Wine History 101



I recently stumbled across an article in the Wall Street Journal showcasing Archeological Research on wine. I never knew there was such a field to work in! Oh the things they hide from us in school!!

Among the fascinating tidbits of info I found the following data to share with you:

A Prehistory of Wine

No one knows who first made wine or domesticated wild grapes, but vintners today produce about 6.6 billion gallons of wine every year. Recent archaeological discoveries suggest that the art of fermenting wine is a biotechnology breakthrough as old as civilization itself.

  • 9,000 years ago – World’s oldest known fermented beverage, a rice wine made with honey and fruit, from traces on pottery shards found in the village of Jiahu in northern China.
  • 7,400 years ago – Earliest chemical evidence of grape wine, unearthed at Hajii Firuz Tepe in the Zargos Mountains of Iran.
  • 6,500 years ago – Earliest evidence of mashed grapes in Greece and of wine production in Europe.
  • 6,100 years ago – Earliest known winery, found in Armenia, including a basin for squeezing, fermentation jars and the remains of crushed grapes, leaves and vines.
  • 5,100 years ago – Earliest evidence of medicinal wine in Egypt, from jars encrusted with wine residue found in tomb of Pharaoh Scorpion I.
  • 5,000 years ago – World’s oldest known wine press, found in the ruins of Vathypetro in Crete.
  • 4,000 years ago – Earliest documented mention of wine, in a Sumerian clay tablet that, in ancient cuneiform, recorded a receipt for jugs of wine.
  • 3,300 years ago – First evidence of white wine in Egypt, from traces in jugs found in the tomb of King Tutankhamen.
  • 3,000 years ago – Oldest known surviving sample of Chinese rice wine.
  • 2,200 years ago – Chinese grape wine first produced, when domesticated European grapes are introduced to Asia.
  • 1,686 years ago – Oldest known surviving bottle of wine, sealed in a glass amphora by ancient Romans and buried in a stone sarcophagus in Germany; unearthed in 1867, it is still sealed and on display.

Source: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Journal of Archaeological Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science News, Archeology.


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