The wrap-up: Old wine in old pouches

In this article from National Geographic, an archaeologist traces drink to the Stone Age and finds pouched wines.

Wine snobs might shudder at the thought, but the first wine-tasting may have occurred when Paleolithic humans slurped the juice of naturally fermented wild grapes from crude wooden bowls or animal-skin pouches.

The idea of winemaking may have occurred to our alert and resourceful ancestors when they observed birds gorging themselves silly on fermented fruit and decided to see what the buzz was all about.

“The whole process is sort of magical,” said Patrick McGovern, an expert on the origins of ancient wine and a leader in the emerging field of biomolecular archaeology. “You could even call [fermentation] the first biotechnology,” said McGovern, who is based at Philadelphia's University of Pennsylvania.

The article, First Wine? Archaeologist Traces Drink to Stone Age, points out that winemaking is not only ancient, it’s Biblical. Noah landed on the slopes of Mount Ararat (in what is now eastern Turkey) after the Flood. He is described as immediately planting grapevines and making wine. No details are available regarding Noah’s packaging methods, but we believe it was an inspired choice.

-RL

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