chapter  2
37 Pages

The history of wine

Wine appears to have been made at least 7400 years ago (McGovern, 2003); archaeologists using molecular biology have discovered traces of wine in pottery vessels from the Zagros mountains, in what is now Iran, from 5400 BC. In fact, argues McGovern (one of the foremost archaeologists in this field), wine was almost certainly developed first further to the north at the foot of the Caucasus mountains, and dating of grape pips suggest this occurred at least back to 6000 BC. It seems probable that this part of the world (around modernday Georgia or Armenia or towards Kurdistan) was the original home of wine (Unwin, 1996), and from there it spread south towards the civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt; early stories about the origins of wine, such as Noah in the Bible and Gilgamesh (Anon., n.d./1972), suggest the authors of these narratives saw wine originating from that direction. In any event, the natural limits of wild grapevines were from present-day Lebanon and northern Syria and Iran, along the coast of Mediterranean Turkey and the Black Sea through the Caucasus region; somewhere there wine originated.