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Discovering the World's Oldest Wines

Photo by Roberta Sorge on Unsplash

While some wines taste better with age, some special ones end up becoming the sheer fascination of history buffs. On a rare occasion, a wine which might have lost its shelf life in a cellar might be glorifying the shelf of a museum quenching the thirst of a thousand feasting eyes, even many years later.

Such is the story of the 350AD vintage Roman wine, believed to be the world's oldest bottle of wine. Discovered in 1867, this 1,650 old wine is now the pride of the Pfalz Historical Museum in Germany. The Pfalz happens to be one of the top winegrowing regions in Germany and this ancient wine is most certainly believed to have been produced nearby.

The first ever wines

Astonishingly, the history of winemaking and drinking dates as far back as the Neolithic Period. Anthropological digs in Egypt have unearthed pottery wine vessels traced behind to the 6000 B.C. Many historians claim that the oldest fermented drink is actually a 9000-year-old rice and honey wine recovered from a village in Central China. Vitis Vinifera, the European wine grape originated in the Zagros Mountains and the Caucasus Mountains. Interestingly, the Stone Age dwellers of Armenia and Georgia also seemed to have been fermenting these grapes as hinted by the 7,400-year-old jars with tartaric acid residues. Right in Armenia, in Areni, also exists the oldest known winery dating back to the 4100 B.C. The sea-faring Greeks and Phoenicians then spread wine grapes throughout Europe. And, although some of the oldest wines are from France, winemaking in the country only dates back to 425 B.C.

The prestigious oldest wines

For a wine in bottle or cask to be ancient it needs to be somewhat fortified. Well, at least most of the times. Kloster Eberbach of Germany's wine-growing region - Rheingau boasts of being the proud owner of bottles of Rieslings dated 1706. On the other hand, is the oldest intact bottle of Tokaji dating between 1650 – 1690, from the royal Saxon cellar. But older than that is the wine that sits stored in a barrel dated 1472 in a wine cellar under the Strasbourg city hospital. Tasted only three times to mark important occasions - first in 1576, then in 1716 and after that, in 1944, the wine still remains drinkable and waiting for the next occasion to be poured in a glass.

But above are only a handful of mentions in the long list of many such oldest wines. New discoveries of age old wines lengthen up this intriguing list every other day - thanks to the anthropologists, the historians and oh yes, the winemakers.

Jackie Author Bio: After taking a career sabbatical to become a mother, Jackie now writes full time on topics ranging from history and current affairs through to health and fitness. She has, in the past battled problems with anxiety and panic, and in her spare time she volunteers for a number of local charities that support people with mental health issues.

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