Dat de wijn al 8000 jaar in Georgië werd gemaakt, is nu uit archeologisch onderzoek gebleken. De bewijzen voor de vroegste wijnmakerij ter wereld zijn nu gevonden in de zuid-Kaukasus. Al meer dan 6 eeuwen voor christus, dus ruim 8000 jaar geleden, werd al wijn gemaakt in dorpjes tijdens het Neolithicum, 50 kilometer zuidelijk van de Georgische hoofdstad Tbilisi. Potscherven uit dat gebied toonden aan dat daar al wijn van uitsluitend druiven werd gemaakt. Aldus een archeologische studie, die zojuist is gepubliceerd. De collega’s melden:
Archeologists say they've unearthed the earliest evidence of winemaking in the world, dating the origin of the practice back hundreds of years earlier than previously believed.
The discovery, reported in a study being published this week in the journal Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences, was made in the South Caucasus region in Georgia, a country on the border of eastern Europe and western Asia.
The excavations on the project were conducted by a team from the University of Toronto and the Georgian National Museum as part of a larger research project investigating the emergence of viniculture in the region. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania were involved in studying materials recovered from the sites.
Previously, the earliest known chemical evidence of wine made from grapes was dated to 5,400 to 5,000 BC in Iran, but the archeologists say they can now trace the practice to about 6,000 BC in sites about 50 kilometres south of the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.
"What this shows is that (winemaking) was done in small scale in little villages and in the Neolithic period — and it's a period when we're experimenting with agriculture," said Stephen Batiuk, a senior research associate at the University of Toronto's Archaeology Centre, who co-authored the study.
The Neolithic period is characterized by activities that include the beginning of farming, domesticating animals and developing crafts such as pottery and weaving, and the early evidence of winemaking demonstrates further "human ingenuity" at the time, Batiuk said.
Fragments from ceramic jars recovered from the excavated sites were collected and anaylzed by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania to determine that the residue preserved inside came from grapes used to make wine.
"U of T's part is that we've been working with the Georgians on the excavations and what we did was, first of all, increased the area of excavation, changed the excavation strategies and brought in new methodologies," Batiuk explained, noting that the Canadian team joined the Georgian researchers about two years ago.
"It was a way of making sure that the samples that we would eventually get and send to (the University of Pennsylvania) for the analysis would be good, clean samples from good context that we could trace and date properly."
Archeologists found wide jars with narrow bases, which Batiuk said could mean that the wine was either partially buried or fully buried in the ground.
"This is important because this is the way traditional wine is made in Georgia," he said. "So this would suggest perhaps the technology had developed back then."
The absence of charred grape seeds, commonly found at ancient winemaking sites, remain a mystery for the archeologists though, the study says.