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Wine & Spirits

The Oldest Wine in Europe Was Discovered in Greece

The oldest evidence of wine consumption in Europe has been found in Greece. The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki discovered that 4,300-year-old remains of grape seeds and pomace were in Philippi, located in northwest Greece.

The grape remains were found in the residue of a fireplace inside a residential house. Scientists however have not made it yet clear whether these grapes had been cultivated or collected, although it can be assumed that this was part of the daily diet of people living in Early Bronze Age Greece.

Archeological flotation was the first technique utilized. The residue is dissolved in water and pieces of preserved matter float to the top. Professor Valamoti Soultana-Maria analyzed archaeobotanically the biological material recovered from the site, refining “thousands of litres of soil.”

The research didn’t stop there, as it was extended across archeological sites around northern Greece. Soultana-Maria explained that the data collected, “provides a wealth of information on the social and economic organization in northern Greece, the daily activities of people, their farming, and agricultural practices,” according to The Drinks Business.

By approximately two millennia, viticulture was the greatest influence the Near East had laid upon Greece, with Georgian winemaking predating. Alternatively, this could have been a case of convergent advancement. In Greece, wine was most likely discovered a thousand years before beer.

Wine holds a unique place in Greece’s history as it was the drink of choice at philosophical symposia in Ancient Greece. Even when the Romans took over, Greece was dominant in the ancient wine industry, with a broad Mediterranean export market.

Though scientific analysis can provide a great deal of significant information about wine of the past, the lack of written records diminishes the precision of these findings. As technology develops, more answers could come to surface.

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