Areni-1, World’s Oldest Winery Discovered in Armenia
Areni-1 is the world’s oldest winery, recently discovered in Armenia by a group of archaeologists and explorers. It is well-known that wine has been present in daily life since prehistoric times, ever since man realized the powers that fruit fermentation holds. For a very long time, wine was considered a drink with magic powers and it is still used in religious ceremonies even today.
The Areni-1 winery was discovered in 2007 in the Areni-1 cave complex, near the Areni village, located in Armenia’s Vayots Dzor province. The winery is 6100-years-old! The archaeologists behind this remarkable discovery are Boris Gasparyan (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia) and Ron Pinhasi (University College Cork, Ireland), with the sponsorship of Gfoeller Foundation (USA), University College Cork and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
The excavations were completed in 2010. The findings in this thousand-year-old winery were amazing! The winery still had very well-preserved fermentation vats, storage jars, potsherds and a wine press. Areni-1 is believed to be at least 1000 years older than the West Bank winery discovered in 1963 which was considered to be the oldest in the world until now.
When the archaeologists first unearthed a large and very well-preserved 2-foot (60 cm) deep vat and a 3.5-foot (1 m) long clay basin covered with malvidin, they new they were on to something huge. Shortly after, they also found grape seeds, prunes, walnuts, remains of pressed grapes and desiccated vines, all leading to the conclusion that they were inside a prehistoric winery.
Drinking cups and ancient graves were also discovered in the cave, which are considered to be signs of funeral and ritualistic ceremonies. All these discoveries are very well-preserved thanks to sheep dung which prevented fungi from destroying them after the cave was abandoned.
In the same area surrounding the Areni village in Armenia, the world’s oldest shoe has recently been discovered, making the entire Vayots Dzor province one of the most mystical places on Earth.