The Quest for Wine’s Origins (by winespectator.com)

Posted: December 13, 2012 by wynmaker in Uncategorized

Through DNA profiling and archaeology, researchers have found what they believe is the cradle of wine grapegrowing

vietti-grapes

What was the first wine appellation? According to new research from leading scientists, mankind’s long history of cultivating grapes for wine began in southeast Anatolia, located in modern-day Turkey. Their research has also shown that our favorite wine grapes are more closely related to each other than previously thought.

When Dr. José Vouillamoz, a Swiss botanist and grape geneticist, embarked nearly a decade ago on research with biomolecular archaeologist Patrick McGovern, he set out to find, genetically speaking, where wild and cultivated Vitis vinifera vines showed the closest relationship. Researchers have long believed that wherever wild grapevines show the most diversity and share the most similarities with cultivated vinifera, the European species of vines most top wine grape varieties belong to, that would be where early man first started growing vines specifically for wine.

Southeast Anatolia has been on the list of likely birthplaces of viticulture, along with nearby areas in Transcaucasia—Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Southeast Anatolia is part of the Fertile Crescent, where Stone Age farmers are believed to have first domesticated wild grains. Those crops provided a steady food supply, and allowed our nomadic ancestors to settle down, giving rise to villages, society and civilization.

After collecting hundreds of grape variety samples, Vouillamoz compared minute portions of DNA called microsatellites—repeating sequences that are helpful for comparing genomes. He was able to use them to create DNA profiles of the grape varieties. The densest concentration of similarities between wild and cultivated Vitis vinifera appeared in southeast Anatolia.
Read on …

Also Read:

DNA sleuth hunts wine roots in Anatolia (by Suzanne Mustacich)

 

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