Researchers have discovered traces of what could be the world’s oldest wine at the bottom of terracotta jars in a cave in Sicily, showing that the fermented drink was being made and consumed in Italy more than 6,000 years ago.
Previously scientists had believed winemaking developed in Italy around 1200 BC, but the find by a team from the University of South Florida pushes that date back by at least three millennia.
“Unlike earlier discoveries that were limited to vines and so showed only that grapes were being grown, our work has resulted in the identification of a wine residue,” said Davide Tanasi, the archeologist who led the research.
“That obviously involves not just the practice of viticulture but the production of actual wine – and during a much earlier period,” Tanasi said.
Published in the Microchemical Journal, the finding was significant because it was “the earliest discovery of wine residue in the entire prehistory of the Italian peninsula”, the researchers said. Continue reading at The Guardian.