Good Morning Gentle Readers,
Excavation of the oldest winery in the world, which began in 2007, has been completed. The winery is located in a complex of caves located in Southern Armenia near the town of Areni. Interestingly, the evidence also indicates that the wine was made from domesticated grapes rather than those found in the wild. Even better? These early Armenians were apparently making dry, red wine. Bravo. As you know, Gentle Readers, red wine is what all wine would be if it had a choice. Or as Christopher Hitchens succinctly put it.....
Wine. Is. Red.
The installation suggests the Copper Age vintners pressed their wine the old-fashioned way, using their feet. Juice from the trampled grapes drained into the vat, where it was left to ferment. The wine was then stored in jars—the cool, dry conditions of the cave would have made a perfect wine cellar.....
I find it fascinating that nearly six centuries millennia later, at the dawn of California's wine culture in the early 1800's, the Padres were making wine using essentially the same technology.
Mission Grapes were crushed in the above adobe vat at Mission San Juan Capistrano by young Juaneno (Acagchemem) Indian men whose legs and feet were carefully washed beforehand and who wore freshly laundered clothing. Once crushed, the juice flowed into an adobe vat (tank?) in an adjacent room for fermentation.
Vine growing, for instance, heralded the emergence of new, sophisticated forms of agriculture,.....They had to learn and understand the cycles of growth of the plant.....had to understand how much water was needed, how to prevent fungi from damaging the harvest, and how to deal with flies that live on the grapes. The site gives us a new insight into the earliest phase of horticulture—how they grew the first orchards and vineyards.....
The other thing I find fascinating is the connection to the mourning process. Though not entirely clear, it appears that the winery was part of a cemetery where this wine may have played a part in the funeral or the honoring of the deceased.
The Wine Commonsewer
Tip of the glass to Jay, Nancy, and Mrs TWC