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The Oldest Known Wine Cellar & Winery

Proof that wine was intentionally produced (instead of grapes left out to ferment on their own) has been found on a pot shard, dating back to the Neolithic period, or about 7,000 BC –wine making is far older than tea or coffee. In fact, the intentional production of wine even out-dates the written word. Humans were producing, drinking and collecting wine before they knew how to write- at this time they used images to convey ideas.

Early in the Neolithic period is also when humans started farming. Before farming, humans lived a nomadic lifestyle: they had to keep on the move to hunt game and gather nuts, fruits and vegetables. Farming gave Homo sapiens the ability to grow their own food and to stay in one place. Man could maintain permanent homes, and with these settlements came food and animal storage. Humans created permanent wine production areas and wine cellars to ferment their wine-filled clay pots and jars, and save for special occasions. As soon as humans understood how to keep a wine cellar, they did. Wine is thought to be the earliest form of horticulture, as humans learned the cycles of the grape vine, and learned which grapes to pick at what times in order to make a good tasting wine.

Oldest Wine Cellar & Winery

In September 2010, archeologists discovered a 6,100 year old winery and wine cellar, in present day Armenia. Within the underground wine cellar, archaeologists discovered a wine press for stomping grapes, fermentation and storage containers, drinking cups, grape vines, skins, and seeds.

Though evidence of wine has dated back 7,000 years, this is the earliest winery and wine cellar found to date. The findings indicated large scale wine production, quite possibly the earliest retail winery. Archeologists suggest that our early ancestors used wine in ceremonies to honor the dead. It is also thought as a gift, placed and consumed inside the tombs. Wine-pressing tools have been found installed into burials and tombs, and drinking cups around the graves. Illustrations from that time reflect this evidence.

What does it mean?

Wine making was a significant innovation for prehistoric societies and could be the earliest forms of horticulture. They cultivated and domesticated the grape, and enjoyed wine in times of grief. Before we could write, we learned how to keep wine cellars and wine collections.

Cellaraiders, like the early Armenians, know the important of having a personal wine collection. Whether you save certain bottles for a special occasion or if you intend to sell it later, Cellaraiders has the inventory of wine to suit. Visit our wine inventory to collect some fine wine!

Resources

National Geographic, “Earliest Known Winery Found in Armenian Cave” 2011

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