According to Science, Italians Have Been Drinking Wine for Longer Than Thought

An Italian vineyard
An Italian vineyard | © Francesco Sgroi/Flickr

To Italians, good wine is one of life’s essential pleasures. They produce more than anyone else and bottles from renowned wine regions such as Tuscany and Emilia Romagna are considered among the world’s best – hardly surprising given that Italy has been fermenting grapes for millennia. The discovery of an ancient storage jar containing traces of 6000-year-old wine, however, means Italians have been drinking it for much longer than previously thought.

Scientists from the University of South Florida conducted a chemical analysis of residue on a large Copper Age storage jar found in a cave in Agrigento in Sicily. They discovered traces of tartaric acid, which naturally occurs in grapes, and its sodium salt, potassium bitartrate, which develops during the winemaking process.

Lab work

The findings, published in Microchemical Journal, dramatically predate previous evidence of winemaking in Italy, making this the ‘earliest discovery of wine residue in the entire prehistory of the Italian peninsula’.

Prior to the analysis of this large storage jar (from the early 4th millennium BC), grape seeds found in Sardinia dating from 1300-1000 BC meant scientists believed wine production in Italy was a much more recent development. The discovery is made even more remarkable by the fact that such chemical analysis is only possible when the artifact is intact when excavated – it turns out ancient Italians were as careful as their modern counterparts when it comes to storing a choice vintage.

A great Italian wine

This 6000-year-old wine may be the oldest in Italy but the oldest wine in the world was found in jars in northeastern Iran, dating back to 5400 BC. While this is the earliest chemical evidence of winemaking, some scientists believe even Paleolithic humans had figured out that drinking naturally fermented grapes could be fun.

The scientists involved in the study of this ancient jar are now hoping to determine if the wine was red or white.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.