Oldest Winemaking Equipment Ever Found

A team of archeologists from Armenia, the United States and Ireland discovered the oldest winemaking equipment ever found in an Armenian cave. The facility, which dates back to roughly 4100 B.C.—1,000 years older than the earliest comparable find, unearthed a complete wine production site, including fermentation and storage vessels, grape seeds, withered grape vines, and a rudimentary wine press. A desiccated grape vine was found adjacent to the wine press and is reported to have grown around 4000 BC based on carbon dating.

Gregory Areshian, co-director of the excavation and assistant director of UCLA’s Cotsen Institute of Archaeology stated, “For the first time, we have a complete archaeological picture of wine production dating back 6,100 years.”

The installation suggests vintners pressed wine the old old-fashioned way using their feet, just the way it was done all over the Mediterranean and the way it was originally done in California, Areshian said. After stomping the grapes, the juice would flow into a vat where it fermented, and then the wine was stored in jars.

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