When you think of Italy, images of food and wine immediately come to mind. It’s a country known for its wine-making talent and expertise and it’s no wonder as Italians have been making wine for nearly 4000 years. But funnily enough, the oldest winery in the world is not located in this Mediterranean country. Instead the oldest winery in the world is Areni-1 located in Armenia.
Less than 10 years ago, this ancient winery was found and various tests have verified that it is indeed the oldest winery in the world, dating back to over 6000 years ago. If you thought wine drinking was a fairly new fashion, you certainly haven’t heard of Areni-1. Think about it, this wine cellar dates back to 3500BC! They probably weren’t drinking your summer rosé or anything similar to the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, but they were indeed drinking a type of wine. Scientists examined the chemical traces left in the containers found in this Armenian cave and they resulted positive for a substance called malvidin. This is a substance which is found in red wine, giving it its natural pigment.
So, what can you find in the world’s oldest winery? Pretty much everything you’d expect to find in a modern one. There area contains a wine press for grape crushing and an area for fermentation. There is also a cellar-like area where wine is stored.
Why Is This Such an Important Discovery?
Winemaking has long hit global consumerism with countries like Italy and France leading the modern-day market. But what has made this market grow over the past few centuries, or better yet, over the past few millennials?
Winemaking is an art form, a ritual, a tradition. Simply visit Tuscany to understand this in the flesh. But what is it that has made winemaking one of the oldest crafts in the world? Reasons are many and now we know, they can be traced all the way back to thousands of years ago.
Cheers to the world of winemaking!