Stone Age wine a vintage drop

The Australian - - THE NATION -

Two Stone Age vil­lages in Geor­gia were mak­ing gi­ant clay vats of wine at least 8000 years ago, say arche­ol­o­gists who be­lieve they have found the old­est known ex­am­ple of vini­cul­ture.

Pre­vi­ously, the ear­li­est ev­i­dence of wine­mak­ing came from six nine-litre jars buried in the floor of a 7000-year-old house at Ha­jji Firuz Tepe in Iran.

The Ge­or­gians ap­pear to have been fer­ment­ing grapes about 2500 years be­fore the wheel was in­vented.

Ex­ca­va­tions at ham­lets south of Tbil­isi turned up frag­ments of jars that bear the dis­tinc­tive chem­i­cal sig­na­ture of wine. One of the jars would have held be­tween 200 and 300 litres. An­other fea­tures a fig­ure danc­ing with up­raised arms, strik­ingly sim­i­lar to a mod­ern Ge­or­gian ar­chi­tec­ture mo­tif.

Arche­ol­o­gist Stephen Batiuk said the Ne­olithic wine was very hard to char­ac­terise be­cause no DNA had been found.

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