12.03.17

Anatolia - the cradle of wine making?

Anatolia - the cradle of wine making?
Our wine this week is from Turkey, but more specifically, East Anatolia.
 
This region of the globe, along with neighbouring Georgia and Armenia, lays claim to be the birthplace of vine domestication and growing grapes specifically for making into wine.
 
While the other areas all played a role in ancient winemaking, preliminary evidence from pottery and even older clay mineral containers seems to place the very first domestication of the wild Eurasian grape Vitis viniferain (the 'common' grapevine) in South-Eastern Anatolia between 5,000 and 8,500 BC (thanks to 10 years of research by Jose Vouillamoz and Patrick McGovern)
 
Wine had an indispensable role in the social lives of the oldest civilizations of Anatolia (the Hattis and the Hittites). It was offered to the gods during rituals attended by royalty and high governors. Provisions protecting viticulture in Hittite law, and the custom of celebrating each vintage with a holiday, suggest that wine was important to both ancient economies and ancient cultural practices.
 
Eventually, wine was introduced to Greek colonists on Anatolia’s western flank, and by the 6th century BC wine was being exported as far as France and Italy.
 
Nowadays, Turkey is home to an estimated 600–1200 indigenous varieties of Vitis vinifera, though less than 60 of these are grown commercially. It is also the world's fourth-leading producer of grapes.

Paul


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