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Georgia dethrones Armenia and Iran as oldest-ever wine producer

Georgia dethrones Armenia and Iran as oldest-ever wine producer

PanARMENIAN.Net - Scientists say 8,000-year-old pottery fragments have revealed the earliest evidence of grape wine-making.

The earthenware jars containing residual wine compounds were found in two sites south of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, researchers said, according to BBC.

A 6100-year old winary was unearthed in Armenia back in 2011 when a wine press and fermentation jars were discovered in a cave in Vayots Dzor province.

Previously, the earliest evidence of grape wine-making had been found in the Zagros Mountains of Iran and dated to 5,400-5,000 BC.

Some of the jars bore images of grape clusters and a man dancing.

Previously, the earliest evidence of wine-making was from pottery dating from about 7,000 years ago found in north-western Iran.

The latest finds were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

"We believe this is the oldest example of the domestication of a wild-growing Eurasian grapevine solely for the production of wine," said co-author Stephen Batiuk, a senior researcher at the University of Toronto.

"Wine is central to civilisation as we know it in the West. As a medicine, social lubricant, mind-altering substance and highly valued commodity, wine became the focus of religious cults, pharmacopoeias, cuisines, economies and society in the ancient Near East."

The pottery jars were discovered in two Neolithic villages, called Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora, about 50km (30 miles) south of Tbilisi, researchers said.

Telltale chemical signs of wine were discovered in eight jars, the oldest one dating from about 5,980 BC.

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