And we thought our press was an old-timer!

A recent paper from the University of California LA has described a 6000 year old winery discovered in a cave in Armenia.  We have known for a long time that the Caucasus was the cradle of winemaking, but to see evidence of such technology so long ago is astounding.  The archaeologists are pretty sure that the fruit was crushed by foot in a shallow basin and the juice then ran off into jars for fermentation and storage.  The grapes were the same species, vitis vinifera, that is used for making wine today.  They hope to find enough DNA  to identify a variety - wouldn't that be amazing!  The cave is within sight of mt Ararat, the biblical dawn of winemaking, where Noah planted grapes pretty much as soon as getting off the Ark.  

Rustic wine is still made in the region (although I can’t say that I have ever tasted one) and they produce a huge amount of brandy that is mainly sold in the former Soviet Union.  Armenia is a stunningly beautiful country with a difficult history and huge diaspora.  Somewhat oddly, the national sport appears to be chess and they have produced a great many grand masters.  There are some new wineries opening with money from returning émigrés and the future for Armenian wine may be as promising as its past is long.