Every wine lover should visit Areni, in Caucasia, at least once in his or her lifetime. It is here where the oldest winery in history was discovered, dating back 6,000 years: a cave where archeologists found traces of Vitis Vinifera, fermentation vats, a wine press, storage jars and other innovative tools used for winemaking.
On Saturday at the presentation of the 2015 Slow Wine guide in Umbria, Roberto Colacicchi, geologist and professor at the University of Perugia for 46 years, spoke about this village in Armenia. He talked about how the global spread of the vine and winemaking was made possible thanks to Areni’s particular geographic position.
After the four glaciations of the Quaternary period, planted species were all but wiped out, with some managing to survive only in particular geographic locations. The area in south Caucasia, west of the Black Sea, was the basin where traces of life survived the frost.
The flooding that then struck the area 7,500 years ago forced the population to flee and settle elsewhere. This exodus brought about the spread of the vine to other locations until its cultivation took root across the Mediterranean. If we expand our vision to embrace the immensity of ancient history, our deep-rooted concept of ‘native’ certainly begins to waver…
So the next time your pass a travel agency and you see an offer for a pilgrimage to the Vatican or Lourdes, look below, maybe there is a coach direct to Areni.
I suggest you don’t miss it, dear devotees.