NEW YORK, Nov. 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Georgians were producing and enjoying wine in the Caucasus as far back as the Neolithic period (6000-5800 BC), new research released today by PNAS* reveals. These are the earliest tangible signs of viticulture and winemaking ever discovered, some 600-1,000 years older than the previous recorded discovery of Hajji Firuz Tepe, in the Zagros mountain region of Iran.
The evidence was obtained by applying state-of-the-art technology to newly excavated materials from two sites in Georgia, with an international team led by Patrick McGovern, Scientific Director at Pennsylvania University, also known as the "Indiana Jones of ancient wine".
Georgia, which borders the Black Sea and is situated at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains between Europe and Asia, is noted for its dynamic, traditional winemaking activity. The country attracts interest from wine lovers and professionals alike.
Today Georgia remains faithful to its ancient traditions of making wine in qvevri, large ceramic pots which are buried underground, creating distinctive 'amber' wines. UNESCO has included this unique traditional method in its Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) list.
Most recently, Georgia's ancient wine culture was celebrated at Bordeaux's La Cité du Vin, a facility dedicated to the living heritage of wine, which hosted a special 'Georgia, cradle of viticulture' exhibition as its first "Guest Wine Region". Produced by the Georgian State, Georgian National Museum of Tbilisi and the Georgian Wine Association, it showcased 125 works of art and period photographs from the Georgian National Museum collections. The exhibition, which reveals Georgian mythology, folklore, art and dining traditions of which wine is a fundamental part, is likely to tour to other cities across the globe.
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Notes to editors:
Early Neolithic Wine of Georgia in the South Caucasus
By Patrick McGovern, Mindia Jalabadze, Stephen Batiuk, Michael P. Callahan, Karen E. Smith, Gretchen R. Hall, Eliso Kvavadze, David Maghradze, Nana Rusishvili, Laurent Bouby, Osvaldo Failla, Gabriele Cola, Luigi Mariani, Elisabetta Boaretto, Roberto Bacilieri, Patrice This, Nathan Wales, David Lordkipanidze.
Universities of Montpellier, Pennsylvania, Copenhagen, Milan, Toronto, INRA Montpellier, EHESS, CERCEC, Scientific Research Centre of Agriculture of Georgia, Georgian National Museum.
The Neolithic period was a time of great changes across the globe:
6100 BC – Storegga Slide causes a mega-tsunami in Norwegian Sea
6000 BC – Doggerland, the land bridge connecting England with Europe disappears into the sea
5677 BC – Volcanic eruption on Mount Mazama creates Oregon's Crater Lake
5600 BC – Red Paint People established in area from present-day Labrador to New York state
Late 6th and early 5th millennium BC – Start of the Samara culture in middle Volga, Russia
5500 BC – Start of Xinle culture in China
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SOURCE Georgian Wine Association