Is the earliest wine getting earlier and earlier?

There’s been a rash of stor­ies about how new grape vari­et­ies will be needed to fight dis­ease if winer­ies are to keep flow­ing. As far as I can tell, because I haven’t seen any­one link to the paper, it’s based on Genetic struc­ture and domest­ic­a­tion his­tory of the grape and Open Access paper in PNAS (back-up link because the doi isn’t work­ing). Sean Myles argues that there’s plenty of room to develop new vari­et­ies of grape by care­ful cross-breeding.

A sur­pris­ing res­ult (to me) is that the date for domest­ic­a­tion is by 5,000 years ago. Meanwhile in related archae­olo­gical research, the earli­est evid­ence of wine-making equip­ment has been found in Areni, Armenia dat­ing from around 4100 BC. The two don’t neces­sar­ily con­tra­dict each other. For a start the Armenian winery could have been using grapes that were aban­doned for super­ior vari­et­ies, but I don’t know how accur­ate the dat­ing is on either side as I haven’t had chance to read the papers prop­erly. If it’s the latest com­mon ancestor then that’s close to a match.

Myles places the earli­est domest­ic­a­tion as a region of the South Caucasus between the Caspian and Black Seas. Here’s a map with the Areni winery marked.

View Areni and Grapes in a lar­ger map

h/t BBC News.

Alun Salt. ORCID 0000-0002-1261-4283

When he's not the web developer for AoB Blog, Alun Salt researches something that could be mistaken for the archaeology of science. His current research is about whether there's such a thing as scientific heritage and if there is how would you recognise it?

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