As any wine enthusiast would know, 4089 BC was a good year for reds.
Scientists have discovered what is believed to be the oldest known winemaking operation in an Armenian cave. The site dates back around 6100 years and included a vat for fermenting, a grape press, storage jars, bowls, a drinking cup made from an animal horn, grape seeds, pressed grapes, stems, shriveled grapevines and red wine residue.
The wine was probably used for ritual purposes, as burial sites were seen nearby in the cave. Dr. Areshian said at least eight bodies had been found so far, including a child, a woman, bones of elderly men and, in ceramic vessels, skulls of three adolescents (one still containing brain tissue).
Wine may have been drunk to honor or appease the dead, and was “maybe also sprinkled on these burials,” he said.
Residue in some of the vats suggests that winemaking had been going on at the site for as many as 7,400 years—proving just how important booze has been to humans throughout our history.
Interestingly, the site also yielded the world’s oldest leather shoe last year, which is only 5500 years old. Perhaps early man valued drink more than keeping our feet warm. We wouldn’t be surprised.
(via The New York Times)