The world's earliest evidence of grape wine-making has been detected in 8,000-year-old pottery jars unearthed in Georgia. Previously the oldest chemical evidence of wine in the Near East dated to 5,400-5,000 BC (about 7,000 years ago) and was from the Zagros Mountains of Iran.
The world's very first wine is thought to have been made from rice in China around 9,000 years ago. Scientists from the United States, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Israel and Georgia was involved in this research. The fragments of ceramic casks, some decorated with grape motifs and able to hold up to 80 gallons (300 liters), were found at two archeological sites called Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of the Georgian capital Tbilisi.
Neolithic jar in Georgia
This "discovery dates the origin of the practice to the Neolithic period around 6,000 BC, pushing it back 600-1,000 years from the previously accepted date," according to the study. "As a medicine, social lubricant, mind-altering substance, and highly-valued commodity, wine became the focus of religious cults, pharmacopeias, cuisines, economics, and society throughout the ancient Near East," Stephen Batiuk, a senior research associate at the University of Toronto said. Large jars called qvevri, similar to the ancient ones, are still used for wine-making in Georgia, said David Lordkipanidze, director of the Georgian National Museum who helped lead the research.