The grapes used to make the best European wines may come from the West Asian country of Georgia
Forget France, Italy and Spain – the grapes used to produce the best European wines could come from the West Asian country of Georgia, where vineyards have been around for 8,000 years, study finds
- Study suggests grapes used to make European wine come from West Asian country Georgia
- Italian scientists analyzed 204 genomes of common grapevines as part of the study
- They found evidence suggesting that only one ‘domestication event’ occurred in West Asia.
According to a study, the grapes used to make the popular French, Italian and Spanish wines may not have come from Europe but rather from the West Asian country of Georgia.
Italian scientists analyzed 204 genomes of grapevines common in Georgia and found this evidence to suggest that only one “domestication event” occurred in West Asia.
Experts discovered that the birth of the grapes used in wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir took place during this event, which was followed by numerous and ubiquitous crosses with grapes from Georgia and Europe, reports the Times.
According to a study, the grapes used to make the popular French, Italian and Spanish wines may not have come from Europe but rather from the West Asian country of Georgia. Pictured: a vineyard in Georgia
The grapes were scattered from West Asia to Europe in a movement driven by human migration and maritime trade.
The results differ from other theories which suggest that European wines originated from wild grape species on the continent without crossing with grapes from Western Europe.
Georgia boasts of producing wine for 8,000 years – longer than any other nation – since archaeologists found traces of wine residue in ancient clay vessels.
The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, also “identified the genetic fingerprints for domestication and genetic selection, which determine the grapes used for winemaking today,” the journal reports.
âThe authors observed similar levels of genetic diversity in wild grapes and in varieties used for winemaking today,â added the study by Italian scientists Michele Morgante, Gabriele Di Gaspero and their colleagues.
Italian scientists analyzed 204 genomes of grapevines common in Georgia and found this evidence suggesting that only one ‘domestication event’ occurred in West Asia (file image)
In 2017, scientists discovered that Georgians were drinking “spirit-altering” wine 8,000 years ago.
Archaeological evidence has stretched the origins of wine 1000 years back to the Neolithic period, when humans still used stone tools.
Previously, the oldest known traces of wine dated from around 5,000 BC. AD and were recovered from the Zagros Mountains in Iran.
Scientists at the University of Toronto and the Georgian National Museum believe that the practice of crushing grapes to produce an intoxicating alcoholic beverage began as much as 1,000 years earlier in the South Caucasus region, between Europe eastern and western Asia.
Fragments of ceramic pottery from two sites about 30 miles south of the Georgian capital Tbilisi contained residue that gave chemical signatures to grapes and wine.
Advanced chemical extraction methods have revealed tartaric acid and the organic acids malic, succinic and citric acid, the researchers reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr Stephen Batiuk, team member at the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto, said: “We believe this is the oldest example of a vine domestication. Eurasian wilderness only for wine production. ‘
The excavated sites contained the remains of two Neolithic villages at Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora.