Scientists have discovered the world's oldest wine - a vintage produced by Stone Age people 8,000 years ago. The find pushes back the history of wine by several hundred years.
New discoveries show how Neolithic man was busy 'bottling' and deliberately ageing red wine in Georgia, the former Soviet republic. Although no liquid wine from the period has survived, scientists have now found and tested wine residues discovered on the inner surfaces of 8,000-year-old ceramic storage jars.
Biochemical tests on the ancient pottery wine jars from Georgia are showing that at this early period humans were deliberately adding anti-bacterial preservatives to grape juice so that the resulting wine could be kept for longer periods after fermentation. The preservative used was tree resin, which contains several bactericidal compounds, says Professor Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania Museum, the scientist leading the study of ceramics from the 6th and 5th millennia BC. The wine may have tasted something like retsina, the resin-preserved wine still popular in Greece.
I guess this is more seasonal (grog-related) blogging. The silly season will pass and I will finish my opus on odious debt and perhaps slip in a few thoughts on what might happen this year. Meanwhile, the archaeology of wine is a good way to pass the blog.