The consumption of wine was widespread throughout antiquity and not only by the Greeks - or Macedonians! I just learn that a DNA study has been undertaken in search of the place where the wild grape was domesticated for the first time .
Botanists collected samples from grape vines all over the Near East, i.e. southeastern Anatolia (roughly today’s
They also analyzed the residues from wine jars thousands of years old. I am not
familiar with chemical techniques, but as I understand from this article published by Phys.Org,
they looked for significant amounts of tartaric acid, which by the way was only
available from grapes in antiquity. Georgia
Armed with their results from ancient winemakers in
Georgia, Armenia and Iran
cross-checked with the traces in old clay vessels, the researchers were able to
place the very first domesticated Eurasian grape in southeastern Anatolia at some point between 8,500 and 5,000 BC. Southeast
Anatolia is part of the Fertile Crescent,
where our civilization is claimed to be born. This is generally the area
between Euphrates and Tigris called Mesopotamia in today’s Iran and Iraq,
and also comprises southeastern Turkey,
the Levant down to ancient .
This crescent is widely accepted as being the birthplace of the world’s first
known domesticated plants. Egypt
Thanks to DNA research, botanists were able to isolate 13 so-called founder grapes by running through a family tree of European grapes. This ancestor grape is called “vitis vinifera” and the very theory cancels the idea that most Western European grapes supposedly came independently at different times from various places in the Middle or Near East, or from
Egypt, Greece or . Turkey
It is quite interesting to learn that wild grape vines still grow in gullies and washes somewhere between the Turkish cities of Elazig and
Specialists call it a true pilgrimage to genetically 8,000-9,000-year old
vines! It seems like finding the mother of all grape vines! Diyarbakir
Unfortunately these ancestral wonders are being endangered by a virus called phylloxera, which in the late 19th century annihilated so many vineyards all over
It seems that wild wines are somewhat protected by their eco-system, while
cultivated varieties are extremely vulnerable. Because of that, experts fear
the worst for the Kurdish Diyarbakir region where we may lose a unique genetic
diversity. A remedy is to graft vines onto disease-resistant rootstock, but
this procedure is being rejected by the local population and eventually the
Turkish wine industry is doomed to suffer the consequences.
It is quite dramatic to realize that these precious grape vines that have survived so many centuries and even millennia might soon disappear for ever.