The origins of wine date back 11,000 years

The origins of wine date back 11,000 years

New research dates winemaking origins to 9,000BC

Wine Inspiration Global News

First domestication events for wine grapes in line with the advent of farming.

While most know that wine is a drink whose history can be counted in millenniums rather than centuries, new research has revealed that the origins of wine date back 11,000 years.

A large-scale genetic analysis of grapevine varieties across 16 countries revealed that two separate domestication events occurred around the same time in “Western Asia and the Caucasus” 11,000 years ago, in effect the first incidents of humans growing grapes suitable to make wine. That puts the origins of winemaking starting around 9,000BC, the same time that mankind started growing crops such as wheat.

“These domestication events took place 11,000 years ago, in line with the advent of farming,” said study co-author Dr Wei Chen, of Yunnan Agricultural University in China. “We know that the grapes in this region are genetically suitable for making great wine,” added Dr Chen who, however, added: “whether ancients humans had the know-how to make wine right at the beginning is still debatable.”

The results of the study can be found in the Science journal, researchers using genomic analysis to discover that two domestication events occurred on two different lineages of wild grapes – one in Western Asia and the other in the Caucasus region, the area of land between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea.

The researchers sequenced genes from 2,448 different grape varieties from both Vitis vinifera, from which the likes Cabernet, Merlot and Pinot Noir are cultivated, and its ancestor, Vitis sylvestris, allowing them to map their history of domestication.


Before the latest study, physical proof of wine-making dated back 8,000 years, with evidence of other fruit crops going back 8,500 years.

Adam Murray

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