Archaeologists claim to have discovered the world’s oldest winery, dating to about 6,100 years ago, in a remote cave in the mountains of Armenia.
An international team, which has made the discovery, says it has found a grape press, fermentation jars and even a cup and drinking bowl in the winery, the latest edition of the ’Journal of Archaeological Science’ reported.
While older evidence of wine drinking has been found, this is the earliest example of complete wine production, said Gregory Areshian of the University of California, Los Angeles, co-director of the excavation.
According to the archaeologists, inside the cave was a shallow basin about 3 feet across that was positioned to drain into a deep vat. In fact, the basin could have served as a wine press where people stomped the grapes with their feet, a method Areshian noted was traditional for centuries.
They also found grape seeds, remains of pressed grapes and dozens of dried vines. The seeds were from the same type of grapes - Vitis vinifera vinifera - still used to make wine.
The earliest comparable remains were found in the tomb of the ancient Egyptian king Scorpion I, dating to around 5,100 years ago. And as the newly discovered wine facility was found surrounded by graves, the team members suggest the wine may have been intended for ceremonial use.
The same Armenian area was the site of the discovery of the oldest known leather shoe, dated to about 5,500 years ago, at the area known as Areni-1.
“The evidence argues convincingly for a wine-making facility,” the ‘Daily Mail’ quoted Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, who also authored ‘Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer and Other Alcoholic Beverages’.