Discovery reveals that wine-making began in the country as far back as the 4th millennium BC.
Washington: Scientists have discovered evidence of the world's oldest Italian wine in a large storage jar from the Copper Age which reveals that wine-making began in the country as far back as the 4th millennium BC.
Traditionally, it was been believed wine growing and wine production developed in Italy in the Middle Bronze Age (1300- 1100 BC) as attested just by the retrieval of seeds.
Scientists from University of South Florida in the US conducted chemical analysis of residue on unglazed pottery found at the Copper Age site of Monte Kronio in Agrigento, located off the southwest coast of Sicily.
They determined the residue contains tartaric acid and its sodium salt, which occur naturally in grapes and in the winemaking process.
The finding, published in Microchemical Journal, is significant as it is the earliest discovery of wine residue in the entire prehistory of the Italian peninsula, researchers said.
It is very rare to determine the composition of such residue as it requires the ancient pottery to be excavated intact, they said.
Researchers are now trying to determine whether the wine was red or white.