How old is wine? A University of Pennsylvania archeologist has evidence that Neolithic humans made wine as long as 7,000 years ago. Last week Professor Patrick McGovern announced the results of his analysis of a piece of an earthenware jar that was discovered in the mountains of northern Iran. His conclusion: It had been used to hold wine. The dating: 5400-5000 B.C.
The evidence? A yellowish stain on the pottery fragment contains traces of tartaric acid, a sure indication of wine. White wine, in this case, with some amount of tree resin to help preserve it and cut its tartness -- like modern-day retsina from Greece.
We don't know how long those Neolithic winemakers lived, let alone how long they would have lived had they not made wine. However, there's a pretty good argument to be made for the health benefits of drinking wine in moderation.
So we say "Hats off!" to those pioneer vintners of the late Stone Age.
For resources on wine and enology, the McKinley Internet Yellow Pages lists a number of good Web sites, including the 4-star Wine Net News. You'll find still more resources on line in the McKinley Magellan Internet Guide.