Friday, January 28, 2011
Oldest Winery: 6000-year-old winery sets world record
ARMENIA -- A team of archaeologists from Armenia, Ireland and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) found a six thousand years old wine-making facility in Armenia - which sets the new world record for the Oldest Winery. Photo: The wine press (centre) and the vat (to the right of the press) used for accumulating grape juice and fermentation. Photo courtesy: Gregory Areshian (enlarge photo)
The World's Oldest winery is dated 4100 BCE, and is one thousand years older than the oldest comparable discovery in the eighties in Egypt in the tomb of King Scorpion I (dated around 3150 BCE).
The Guinness world record for the Oldest cultivated plant for drink was set in 6000 BC in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq), where archeologist found the earliest documented evidence proving that grapes were cultivated to make wine.
Guinness World Records noted that "it was the ancient Egyptians, in 3000 BC who first recorded the process of winemaking, known as viticulture."
"This is, so far, the oldest relatively complete wine production facility, with its press, fermentation vats and storage jars in situ," says Hans Barnard, the lead author of an article about the excavation published today in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
The archaeologists discovered the World's Oldest Winery in an old Armenian cave, part of a complex of caves in an ancient canyon in the Little Caucasus mountains, near the southern border of Armenia with Iran.
The cave is situated just outside a small Armenian village that today still produces wine.
In the cave, everything was found to make wine, including grapes (both the seeds and remains of pressed grapes were found), a rudimentary wine press, a fermentation vessel of clay, wine-soaked pottery chards and even a cup and a drinking bowl.
"This was a relatively small installation related to the ritual inside the cave. For daily consumption they would have had much larger wine presses in the regular settlement," Gregory Areshian, a team member from the University of California, Los Angeles, told Reuters.
Areshian also explained that the wine-makers produced merlots and cabernet sauvignons. The press itself is a shallow clay basin three feet in diameter, and is surrounded by grape seeds and dried-out grape vines.
In the same cave earlier this summer the world's oldest known leather shoes was found (dated around 5500 BCE).