Where Are the Oldest Wines in the World?
By Jackie Edwards
It’s common knowledge that our ancestors enjoyed indulging in a drop of wine. The birth of viticulture dates back before the birth of Christ where wine was made exclusively for the privileged few and even savored by the gods. These days, wine is created for everyone to enjoy, whether it’s a fine bottle of Bordeaux or a sparkling Prosecco, but which countries still have oldest wines in the world? Pour yourself a glass and find out!
The most ancient wines in the world come from far and wide but archaeologists believe that they found evidence of wine from two Neolithic villages - Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora - which date to the period around 15,980 BC. Discovered inside jars were chemical traces of wine, likely to have been made from crushed grapes, stems and seeds. At the time of discovery, there were also reports that the jars included images of clusters of grapes and men dancing. Some types of wine made in Georgia continue to be made in a similar type of jar which is called ‘quevri’ and the country continues to attract wine lovers for its dynamic wine industry.
First discovered in 1867, this ancient vintage dates back to 350AD and can now be found on display for more than a century at the Pfalz Historical Museum in Germany. The 1,680 year old wine was originally buried alongside a Roman noble close to the city of Speyer and is thought to have been produced locally in one of Germany’s most productive wine regions of Pfalz. Although scientists have debated whether they should crack the bottle open, it’s widely agreed that the contents would not survive if it was exposed to the air. One of the reasons accredited for its survival is the combination of olive oil and hot wax seal which has kept the remaining white wine liquid and given its title as the oldest bottle of wine in the world.
Considered to be the oldest bottle of Bordeaux, it was accidentally discovered by a worker at the famous Saint Emlion vineyard at Château Coutet in France, and is thought to be from the 1750s, or thereabouts. Buried in a pile of earth, the emery seal bottle with a heart glass at the top of it, is now thought by specialists to be the oldest of its kind in the world. During the 1700s, wine was more often stored in barrels so it's believed that this particular bottle was bottled for an important event and will remain unopened to hold onto it's title.
Over the centuries our wine-making processes have changed to produce better wine, but the ingenuity that went into making this ancient tipple has to be admired, even if it cannot always be sampled to enjoy.