Wine’s long history

Some amazing stories poured from wine’s long history:

• Archeologists in Central China have found 9,000-year-old relics of wine making in the same area famous for evidence of some of earliest musical instruments, pictographic writing, and domesticated rice. So, humans may have been rocking out at a wine shop, catching up on the news, and enjoying a bowl of rice for a very, very long time.

The wine was made from rice, honey, and fruit—not grapes—but clearly appears to be wine. Heavy concentrations of calcium salt from tartaric acid—compounds that develop naturally in large amounts only in wine—are key clues.

• Oldest evidence of grape wine is 7,000 years old. It was unearthed at a Neolithic site in Iran in 1976. Six jars, each able to hold more than two gallons, were found in what archeologists believe was a kitchen in a mud-brick building near the Zagros Mountains. Grapes grow wild in the mountains, providing fruit. So, earliest wine lovers bought in bulk, probably for the discount.

• According to the Guinness Book of Records, the world’s oldest living grape vine is more than 400 years old. The vine grows in Slovenia near the town of Maribor on the river Drava and still produces grapes made into wine. Its descendants are found in vineyards around the world.

Paintings dating from 1657 and 1681 depict the vine in front of the house, now suitably named “The Old Vine House.” Google “Old Vine House, Maribor, Slovenia” for photographs.

Enjoy a glass tonight. Share in a world-wide tradition that began in the Stone Age.


• Becker Riesling. Green apples and limes in winner from one of Texas’ best wineries. $9

• Ruta 22 Malbec. Patagonian appellation, about as far south as you can get in the Americas. Serious wine for the price; intense black berries. Argentina. $13

• Rustenberg Unwooded Chardonnay. Lemons and mandarin oranges, hints of pine; crisp pleaser out of Africa. South Africa. $21