Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Wine was Originated in Iran

The origins of wine are as cloudy as the first vintages must have been. We will never know who first allowed grape juice to ferment to the point that it became wine, just as we will never know who ground grain and baked it to produce the first loaf of bread. But the impossibility of tracing the very first batch of wine ever made has not deterred archaeologists and historians from searching for the earliest evidence, a quest that has taken them back more than 7,000 years. The most we can expect to find now is earthenware jars or other vessels bearing evidence that they might have held wine: the remains of grapes -- seeds, stalks and empty skins -- or stains and residues from wine. Evidence of this kind has been found in pottery jars at a number of sites in the Middle East dating from the neolithic period (Late Stone Age), which lasted from about 8500 to 4000 BC.
The most persuasive evidence of early wine has been obtained by a combination of chemical analysis and archaeological inferences. At a number of neolithic sites in the Zagros mountains, in what is now western Iran, archaeologists have located jars that have reddish and yellowish deposits on their interior walls. Analysis of these deposits has shown them to be rich in tartaric acid and calcium tartrate.
The earliest of these neolithic finds were six nine-litre jars embedded in the floor of a mud brick building, dating from 5400-5000 BC, in the community of Hajji Firuz Tepe in the northern region of the Zagros mountains. These vessels contained not only the residues appropriate to grape juice but also bore deposits of resin. Resin from the terebinth tree that grew wild in the region was widely used as a preservative in ancient wine because it has the ability to kill certain bacteria, and tree resin (generally pine) is still used in Greek retsina wine.
Further evidence of ancient wine comes from Godin Tepe, a trading post and administrative and military centre also in the Zagros mountains, but much further south of Hajji Firuz. There, archaeologists discovered thirty- and sixty-litre earthenware jars dating from 3500-3000 BC, just after the neolithic period. Further significance of this discovery is that this area was not a grape growing one, the main crops were grain and the preferred drink of the time was beer, which suggests that wine was probably used as a commodity. Godin was located on the Silk Road from China to the Mediterranean, the probable origin of the wine.
The traces of beer has been found on ancient bowls & dishes in Shoosh. They were the oldest civilization in the world who were drinking alcohol, specifically "beer."
Hence, as one may imagin, wine was not invented in Greece or Italy, but the real land of Wine was Persia and it was later traded through the Silk road to other parts of the world (as Herodotus states). Even today the best wines in the world comes from northern Iran around the region of Armania.

Picture of The Vessle from Iran that contained the remains of 7,000-year-old wine:

Pictures from an excavation in Haji Firuz Tapeh:


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