Georgians widely, one might even say universally, claim their homeland as the birthplace of winemaking. And there is strong evidence for their pride, particularly for the southern Caucuses region as a whole.
The earliest known winery was recently discovered in Armenia, with a wine press, fermentation vats, storage jars, grape seeds, and vines dating from the Copper Age. The oldest known evidence of wine was found in Iran’s Zagos Mountains dating back several thousand years earlier to the Neolithic period, although the site didn’t include such strong evidence of a winery.
Where Georgia has its strongest case is in DNA studies of modern cultivated grape varieties, which have been traced to the mountains of Georgia, Armenia, and Eastern Turkey. In fact, a single Eurasian domesticated grape variety, known as Vitis vinifera L. subsp. sylvestris, has been found to be the source of 99% of the world’s wine today. Of course, it may be China that wins the winemaking archaeological prize, but the ancient Chinese used rice, while their use of grapes is not as clear, and it is the harvesting and cultivation of the grape that holds iconic status in Georgia. Read full blog at Novel Adventurers.