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A vat to press the grapes, fermentation jars and even a cup and drinking bowl dating to about 6,000 years ago were discovered in the cave complex by an international team of researchers. While older evidence of wine drinking has been found, this is the earliest example of complete wine production, according to Gregory Areshian of the University of California, Los Angeles, co-director of the excavation
Such large-scale wine production implies that the Eurasian grape had already been domesticated, said McGovern, author of "Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer and Other Alcoholic Beverages."
The earliest comparable remains were found in the tomb of the ancient Egyptian king Scorpion I, dating to around 5,100 years ago.
According to the archeologists, inside the cave was a shallow basin about 3 feet across that was positioned to drain into a deep vat. The basin could have served as a wine press where people stomped the grapes with their feet, a method Areshian noted was traditional for centuries. They also found grape seeds, remains of pressed grapes and dozens of dried vines. The seeds were from the same type of grapes — Vitis vinifera vinifera — still used to make wine.