Forget France, Italy and Spain – the grapes used to make top European wines may be from the west-Asian country of Georgia where vineyards have existed for 8,000 years, study suggests

  • Research suggests that the grapes for European wine are from Georgia, a Western Asian country.
  • The study involved the analysis of 204 genes from common grapevines by Italian scientists.
  • The evidence suggests that there was only one ‘domestication’ event in Western Asia.  

A study suggests that the grapes for popular French, Italian, and Spanish wines might not have come from Europe, but from Georgia in West Asia, as a result of this research. 

Italian researchers analysed the genomes of common grapevines from Georgia, and discovered evidence that suggests that there was only one ‘domestication’ event in Western Asia. 

The Times reports that experts concluded that wine grapes like Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Chardonnay were created during the event. They also experienced a lot of interbreedings with European and Georgian grapes. 

The grapes used to make popular French, Italian and Spanish wines may not be from Europe but instead from the Western Asian country of Georgia, a study has suggested. Pictured: A vineyard in Georgia

Study suggests that grapes used in popular French, Italian and Spanish wine may have been grown in Georgia rather than Europe. Image: Georgia vineyard 

In a movement driven by migrations and maritime trades, the grapes spread across West Asia from Europe to West Asia.   

These findings are different from previous theories that suggested European wines were made from wild grape varieties on the continent, and not from interbreeding with Western European grapes. 

Georgia claims that its wine production has continued for eight thousand years. Archaeologists discovered wine residues in old clay vessels. 

According to the newspaper, the research was published in Nature Communications. It also “identified genetic footprints for breeding selection and domestication, which are responsible for the current winemaking practices.”   

“The researchers observed the same levels of genetic diversity both in wild grapes as in wine varieties today,” the Italian scientists Gabriele Di Gaspero, Michele Morgante and their colleagues concluded. 

Italian scientists analysed 204 genomes of common grape vines in Georgia and found that evidence to suggest that a single 'domestication event' occurred in Western Asia (file image)

Italian researchers analysed 204 common grapevine genomes from Georgia. They found evidence suggesting that there has been a single domestication event in Western Asia. File image

Researchers discovered that Georgians are a great place to live. drinking “mind-altering” wine, 8000 years ago. 

According to archaeological evidence, wine was first discovered in the Neolithic period. This is when stone tools were still being used by humans.

The oldest known wine trace was found in Iran’s Zagros Mountains, around 5,000 BC.

According to scientists from Georgian National Museum, the Georgian University and University of Toronto, the process of crushing grapes into alcoholic beverages began around 1,000 years ago in South Caucasus between east Europe and west Asia.

Two sites 30 miles from the Georgian capital Tbilisi had ceramic pottery fragments. These residues contained chemical signs of wine and grapes.

The researchers published their findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr Stephen Batiuk is a University of Toronto member of the Team. He said that this was the oldest instance of domestication of an Eurasian wild-growing grapevine for wine production.

Excavated remains from two Neolithic villages were discovered at Gadachrili Gora, and Shulaveris Gora.