News Special Coverage Industry Overview Supply & Demand Price Reference Forum

Chinese scientists uncover the history of grape domestication by Sam Blanchard03/03/2023  


for wine were first farmed by Stone Age man 11,000 years ago, a study has found.

DNA analysis revealed the domestication of vineyards began three thousand years earlier than was thought.

Varieties for eating and wine-making were dated to 9,000BC — the same time mankind began growing crops including wheat to make bread and migrating from Asia to Europe.

The findings emerged in the biggest ever study of grapevine DNA, using 3,000 plants.

It identified the point where all samples matched closely and wild gene mutations stopped.

Cultivation was started separately by settlers in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, Armenia and Georgia — known to be the “cradle of wine”.

Study co-author Dr Wei Chen, of Yunnan Agricultural University in China, said: “These domestication events took place 11,000 years ago, in line with the advent of farming.

“We know that the grapes in this region are genetically suitable for making great wine.

“Whether ancient humans had the know-how to make wine right at the beginning is still debatable.”

Physical proof of fruit crops previously reached back 8,500 years, while the first evidence of wine-making is 8,000 years old.