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World’s Oldest Wine Found at Stone Age Site

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Archaeologists have discovered the world’s oldest known example of wine made from grapes

Just last week a bottle of wine from 2015 sold for $350,000 at auction, making it the world’s most expensive bottle of wine. But now a much older are rarer wine has come to light, because archaeologists say they’ve discovered the world’s oldest known example of wine made from grapes at a stone-age archaeological site in Georgia.

According to CBC, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, the Georgian National Museum, and the University of Toronto found six clay jars containing residue of wine made from grapes. The jars date back to between 5400 and 5000 BCE, which makes this wine residue about 8,000 years old, and 600 to 1,000 years older than the previous “oldest wine” fine, which was from the Zagros Mountains of Iran.

The world’s oldest chemically confirmed alcoholic beverage is from 7,000 BCE and is from Jiahu, China. That one was made of wild grapes, hawthorn, rice, and honey, so it’s a mixed fermented beverage and not technically “wine.”

This new find from Georgia is made entirely of grapes, and some of the pots were decorated with images of grape clusters. The residue was yellowish, leading archaeologists to suspect it was a white wine, not a red. From the volume, researchers believe the people in Georgia were making wine from domesticated grapes, not wild ones.

“Talk about aging of wine. Here we have an 8,000-year-old vintage that we’ve identified,” said Patrick McGovern, from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

McGovern previously collaborated with Dogfish Head Brewery to create Chateau Jiahu, a reproduction of the spirit found at the Jiahu site in China. With any luck, maybe in a few years we’ll get to taste a reproduction of this wine, too. That would add another good one to the list of reasons to drink wine every day.

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