The origins of wine predate written records, and modern archaeology is still uncertain about the details of the first cultivation of wild grapevines. Wild grapes grow in Georgia, the northern Levant, coastal and southeastern Turkey, northern Iran, and Armenia. The fermenting of strains of this wild Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris (the ancestor of the modern wine grape, V. vinifera) would have become easier following the development of pottery during the later Neolithic, c. 11,000 BC. However, the earliest evidence so far discovered dates from millennia afterwards.
Patrick McGovern argued that the domestication of the wine grape and winemaking may have originated in what is now Georgia in the Caucasus and spread south from there. The earliest archaeological evidence of wine production yet found has been at sites in Georgia (c. 6000 BC) and Iran (c. 5000 BC). The Iranian jars contained a form of retsina, using turpentine pine resin to more effectively seal and preserve the wine. Production spread to other sites in Greater Iran and Grecian Macedonia by c. 4500 BC. The Greek site is notable for the recovery at the site of the remnants of crushed grapes.
The oldest-known winery was discovered in the “Areni-1″ cave in Vayots Dzor, Armenia. Dated to c. 4100 BC, the site contained a wine press, fermentation vats, jars, and cups. Archaeologists also found V. vinifera seeds and vines. Commenting on the importance of the find, McGovern said, “The fact that winemaking was already so well developed in 4000 BC suggests that the technology probably goes back much earlier.”
Domesticated grapes were abundant in the Near East from the beginning of the early Bronze Age, starting in 3200 BC. There is also increasingly abundant evidence for winemaking in Sumer and Egypt in the 3rd millennium BC.
Legends of discovery
Wine (mey) has been a theme of Persian poetry for millennia.
There are many etiological myths told about the first cultivation of the grapevine and fermentation of wine.
Why is wine so interwoven with our own humanity?
This global adventure reveal’s the special connection we have always had with wine.
And how the crossroads were constructed between wine and art, religion, politics, love, and war.
In this first installment, we take you to one of the “Birthplace’s of wine” – the Country of Georgia.
The Biblical Book of Genesis first mentions the production of wine following the Great Flood, when Noah drunkenly exposes himself to his sons. The resulting Curse of Ham was originally intended as a justification for the Hebrew conquest of Canaan but was later adapted to explain black skin and African slavery.
Greek mythology placed the childhood of Dionysus and his discovery of viticulture at the fictional and variably located Mount Nysa but had him teach the practice to the peoples of central Anatolia. Because of this, he was rewarded to become a god of wine.
In Persian legend, King Jamshid banished a lady of his harem, causing her to become despondent and contemplate suicide. Going to the king’s warehouse, the woman sought out a jar marked “poison” containing the remnants of the grapes that had spoiled and were now deemed undrinkable. After drinking the fermented wine, she found her spirits lifted. She took her discovery to the king, who became so enamored of his new drink that he not only accepted the woman back but also decreed that all grapes grown in Persepolis would be devoted to winemaking
read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_wine