Grapes for modern European wine were grown in Western Asia and the Caucasus 11,000 years ago

(ORDO NEWS) — Many of the most popular wines come from France, Italy and Spain. But a new study suggests that the grapes used to make these European drinks may actually be from Western Asia and the Caucasus.

Which country should rightfully be considered the birthplace of wine?

Until now, the oldest archaeological evidence of winemaking dates back 8000 years.

However, a study by the Yunnan Agricultural University in China shows that grapes were grown simultaneously in Western Asia and the Caucasus around 11,000 years ago – much earlier than previously thought.

Author Wei Chen, lead author of the study, said: “Our estimates based on genomic data suggest that the domestication of the grapevine is about the same time that humans domesticated crops.

This is a significant advance compared to previous estimates.”

History of grapes

The experts found that the domestication of grapes occurred simultaneously “in Western Asia and the Caucasus to produce table and wine grapes.”

In Western Europe, the grapes were brought by “migrant farmers”, then the vines “diversified along the routes of human migration into unique Western varieties.”

Grapes for modern European wine were grown in Western Asia and the Caucasus 11 000 years ago 2

Grapes for wine in the Balkans could have appeared 8,700 years ago, in Spain and Portugal – 7,740 years ago, and in Western Europe – 6,910 years ago.

The study notes that these dates are “consistent with the historical migration of Anatolian farmers to Europe, substantiating the role of grape cultivation in the formation of Neolithic agricultural societies.”

However, the researchers point out that growing grapes and making wine are two different things, and whether ancient people had the know-how to make wine from the start is still “debatable.”

Mr. Chen suggested that Stone Age farmers originally cultivated grapes for food, not for making anything alcoholic, but eventually developed the art of winemaking.


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