March 03, 2012

A moment of eternity

Ten thousand years! Of course, that is a long, long time. So what? Well, the reason it fascinates me is the link to the history of the shimmering liquid in my glass.

Yes, it is thought that wine first was made 10.000 years ago. In a region that is now Georgia and Armenia. Then of wild grapes. The cultivation was a later practice, believed to have started some 3.000 years later.

We know for certain that wine was elaborately made, by the hands of men or women with use of winemaking equipment, for more than 6.000 years ago. The location was Armenia, near the southern border with Iran.  In 2007 archaeologists found ancient grape seeds in a cave complex in the Little Caucasus Mountains. The discovery encouraged them to begin an excavation, with an amazing result. In 2010, the oldest winery of the world was found.

The cave holds a complete wine making facility, dated back to 4100 BCE, with a wine press, a clay vat used for fermentation and storage pots. There were even remains of pressed grapes and grape must made of vitis vinifera.

In Georgia, wine is still made very traditionally, using qvevri. A clay vessel buried under the ground, where the grapes are fermented up to six months, taking advantage of the natural coolness provided by the surrounding earth.

So different compared to the modern shining stainless steel wineries. And yet the same. The grapes are crushed, fermented, pressed and there it is - the wine. Young, but still possible to drink at once.

It is a breath-taking perspective, feeling the history and development during thousands of years. An eternity of time. Thinking of the people dedicated to wine then and now. I am grateful to them all. Thanks for this wonderful glass of wine!

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