World’s Oldest Italian Wine Just Discovered

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Chemical analysis on ancient pottery, led by a USF professor, could dramatically predate the commencement of winemaking in Italy.
Agrigento, Italy – Chemical analysis conducted on ancient pottery could dramatically predate the commencement of winemaking in Italy. A large storage jar from the Copper Age (early 4th millennium BC) tests positive for wine.
This finding published in Microchemical Journal is significant as it’s the earliest discovery of wine residue in the entire prehistory of the Italian peninsula. Traditionally, retrieval of seeds has led to the belief that wine growing and wine production developed in Italy in the Middle Bronze Age (1300-1100 B.C.). This newest research, led by the University of South Florida, provides a new perspective on the economy of that ancient society.
Lead author Davide Tanasi, PhD, of the University of South Florida in Tampa, 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. He and his team determined the residue contains tartaric acid and its sodium salt, which occur naturally in grapes and in the winemaking process.
It’s very rare to determine the composition of such residue, because it requires the ancient pottery to be excavated intact. The study’s authors are now trying to determine whether the wine was red or white.

An article from UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA by Tina Meketa




In an effort to provide local beer and reduce emissions, a brewery based on the Isles of Scilly sent its beer to a Cornish micro-pub by way of a replica 18th century privateer sailing boat.
Ales of Scilly is the only brewery to be based on St Mary’s, the largest island in the Scillonian archipelago. Having been launched in 2001 by retired local teacher Mark Praeger, it was taken on by Jennie Trevithick in March 2017.
It currently provides beer for local events and also supplies local bars, cafés, restaurants and shops on the islands.
Earlier this month, the brewery was contacted by the owners of The Barrel, a micro-pub based in Bude in North Cornwall, who, keen to stock its beer, devised an unusual and antiquated delivery method.
In a Facebook post, the pub announced: “We expect a special delivery in Penzance on Thursday 16 August. Special because our latest beer delivery is from Britain’s most South Westerly brewery, Ales of Scilly and is arriving on the Grayhound; a replica 18th Century three-mast Cornish Lugger!”
“Two barrels of beer were loaded on-board on Friday the 11th by Jennie Trevithick the first female Cornish brewer at the Ales of Scilly brewery and hopefully, with fair weather, they will arrive in Penzance in the inner harbour, where the supply ships for the Scillies dock at 11am”.

An article from The Drinks Business by Phoebe French

‘Little Pompeii’, the Roman neighbourhood discovered in France including a Bacchanalian House


French archaeologists have discovered a “little Pompeii” — the remarkably well preserved remains of an entire district of an ancient Roman town — in the east of the country.
Villas and public buildings have been unearthed in what Benjamin Clément, the archaeologist leading the dig, described as “undoubtedly the most exceptional excavation of a Roman site in 40 or 50 years.”
Many household objects are still where they were left by residents who fled fires. Some villas date from the 1st century AD and the district is believed to have inhabited for about 300 years until it was abandoned after a series of fires.
Like Pompeii, the ancient Roman site near Naples, much of it was buried under ash which helped to preserve it.
One villa has been dubbed the Bacchanalian House because its tiled floor depicts a procession of maenads, female followers of Bacchus – the Roman name for the god of wine known to the Ancient Greeks as Dionysus – and satyrs, male companions of the god with goat-like features.
Believed to have been the home of a wealthy merchant, it had marble tiling, extensive gardens and a water supply system.
“We’ll be able to restore this house from floor to ceiling,” Mr Clément said. “We’re incredibly lucky.”
In another villa, an exquisite mosaic shows a bare-bottomed Thalia, muse and patron of comedy, being abducted by lustful Pan, god of the satyrs.
The site is on the outskirts of the city of Vienne, less than 20 miles south of Lyon.
Located on the River Rhône, Vienne became a major urban centre under Julius Caesar and is known for its Roman theatre and temple.
Discovered on land where a housing complex is to be built, the excavation site covers an area of 75,000 square feet — an unusually large find in an urban area.

An article from The Telegraph by David Chazan

Field Museum to serve history on tap with an ancient Chinese beer

The Field Museum is bottling up ancient Chinese history, 12 ounces at a time.
Made with ancient Chinese brewing techniques, the museum’s newest limited-edition beer, QingMing, features the bubblegum flavor of sake derived from jasmine rice, and an infusion of jujubes, honey and lemon rinds.
Chicago’s Off Color Brewing crafted QingMing using beer-making approaches found from analyzing jars found in two Chinese tombs dating back thousands of years.
The partnership between the museum and brewery — which spawned last year’s ancient Peru-inspired Wari ale and the Field Bistro’s Tooth & Claw — will release the new beer at the museum’s “Hop To It” event from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday. The beer will be available at local and national retailers starting the next day.
Researchers examined the inner walls of ceramic jars they thought were associated with alcohol serving and production in the two tombs, said Gary Feinman, a Field Museum archeologist. They derived evidence of mold-based saccharification, a Chinese-bred brewing technique that converts starch in rice to sugar.
hey also found indications of ingredients including hemp seeds, osmanthus flowers, honey and more, said John Laffler, owner of Off Color Brewing and one of the heads of the project.
Laffler said he studied research about the findings for a year, ultimately modifying brewery equipment he had on-hand to complete the saccharification process. Legal complications forced him to forego ingredients such as hemp seeds and osmanthus flowers, which Laffler said are hard to get approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in beer.
Sans illegal ingredients, Laffler said the beer is still “unlike any other beer on the market.”
“You can get narrow-minded in what you think of what is beer,” he said. “To have this cross-foundation of all human history, is really neat for us.”
The beer’s name — QingMing — is actually the title of a traditional Chinese festival in which people honored their ancestors with celebrations that most likely included alcohol, said Feinman.
Painters made vivid portrayals of these celebrations on scrolls, which were replicated over time. The Field Museum has one of these scrolls on display, which is part of the reason the team decided on QingMing as a name, said Feinman.

An article from Chicago Suntimes by Amanda Svachula



An archaeologist believes she may have found proof of Naboth’s biblical vineyard at an excavation site in Jezreel Valley, Israel.
The Jezreel Expedition was founded in 2012 with the aim of surveying, excavating and documenting the site of greater Jezreel over a long period of time.
Dr Norma Franklin, one of the heads of the expedition, and her team have already established that the valley was a major wine producing region during biblical times.
Now the team believes it may have found proof of Naboth’s vineyard, which was said to have been located in the Jezreel Valley according to the biblical text, 1 Kings.
The scripture states that Naboth the Jezreelite owned a vineyard in Jezreel, near the hêḵal of King Ahab of Samaria. King Ahab wanted to turn the vineyard into a vegetable garden, saying to Naboth: “Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs. (I Kings 21:2). To which Naboth replied: “The lord forbid that I should give up to you what I have inherited from my fathers!”
Using laser technology, Dr Franklin believes she may have discovered proof that the vineyard was in fact factual and did exist during this time.
Several wine and olive presses were discovered including the largest ancient winepress in Israel found to date, along with more than 100 bottle-shaped pits carved into the bedrock, which Dr Franklin believed were used to store wine.
“Vineyards do not leave archaeological remains, but circumstantial evidence suggests that Jezreel likely had one,” said Franklin in a report on her findings.
“Kibbutz Yizre’el alerted us to the fact that they had independently conducted a soil analysis and found a plot of land with proper quality for growing grapes, whereas the soils in the fields further west were found to be better suited to growing olives. This plot is immediately north of an ancient winery, and during the biblical period wine processing areas were generally located next to vineyards.”

An article from The Drinks Business by Lauren Eads