When & Where Grapes Domesticated

Map of Grape Domestication

I got some archaeobotany for you to start your weekend off right with — a new open access study in PNAS announces a genome wide association of 8,000 years of grape domestication, spanning the Eastern Caucasus to Western Europe. Lead author Sean Myles of Cornell University wrote in the abstract,

“support a geographical origin of grape domestication in the Near East. Grape growing and winemaking then expanded westward toward Europe, but the degree to which local wild sylvestris from Western Europe contributed genetically to Western European viniferacultivars remains a contentious issue. Our results … all support a model in which modern Western European cultivars experienced introgression from local wildsylvestris.”

In related wine archaeology, earlier this week, UCLA archaeologist Hans Barnard published the findings of a 6,000 year old uncorked wine barrel in Armenia. The barrel was discovered in the Areni-1 cave near the Iranian border. The results were published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, but you can read a bit more about it here.

Hope you found these two tidbits as interesting as I did. Cheers to a good weekend!

    Myles, S., Boyko, A., Owens, C., Brown, P., Grassi, F., Aradhya, M., Prins, B., Reynolds, A., Chia, J., Ware, D., Bustamante, C., & Buckler, E. (2011). Genetic structure and domestication history of the grape Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1009363108

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