It was believed that winemaking process in Italy began in the Middle Bronze Age somewhere between 1300-1100 BC, however, ancient containers have proved it wrong. Evidence of the world's oldest Italian wine has been found in large storage jars from the Copper Age which hints that winemaking in the region began as early a fourth millennium BC.
The discovery which was published in Microchemical Journal could dramatically predate the commencement of winemaking in Italy. Chemical analysis conducted on the ancient large storage jar tested positive for wine. Lead study author Davide Tanasi from University of South Florida in Tampa, US, conducted chemical analysis of residue on unglazed pottery found at the Copper Age site of Monte Kronio in Agrigento, located off the southwest coast of Sicily. They used spectroscopy method that allows samples to be examined in their current state whether solid or liquid without any preparation.
The team determined that the residue contains tartaric acid and its sodium salt, which occur naturally in grapes and in the winemaking process. Tartaric acid is an organic acid found in grapes and during fermentation, it maintains chemical stability of wine. The researchers are now studying further to determine whether the wine was red or white.
(With IANS inputs)