World’s oldest Italian wine discovered

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Rejoice wine lovers! US researchers have discovered a large storage jar that predates advent of wine during the Copper Age (early 4th millennium BC).

Chemical analysis conducted on ancient pottery could dramatically predate the commencement of winemaking in Italy.

These findings, published in the Microchemical Journal, are significant as it is the earliest known discovery of wine residue in the entire pre-history of the Italian peninsula.

Traditionally, it’s been believed wine growing and wine production developed in Italy in the Middle Bronze Age (1300-1100 B.C.) as attested by the retrieval of seeds, providing a new perspective on the economy of that ancient society.

Lead author Davide Tanasi from the University Of South Florida in Tampa, US conducted chemical analysis of residue on unglazed pottery found at the Copper Age site of Monte Kronio in Agrigento, located off the southwest coast of Sicily.

The researchers determined the residue contains tartaric acid and its sodium salt, which occur naturally in grapes as well as in the winemaking process.

It’s very rare to determine the composition of such residue as it requires the ancient pottery to be excavated intact.

The study’s authors are now trying to determine whether the wine was red or white.