The World’s Oldest Wine Cellar

By now, you may have heard that the world’s oldest wine cellar was discovered in Israel about a week ago. The cellar dates roughly Jars from the world's oldest wine cellarto 1700 BCE, and was found near a banquet hall in the ancient ruins of Tel Kabri. Forty jars were found in a storage room; although the jars were broken and contained no wine, archaeologists estimate that the cellar contained roughly 2000 liters, or the equivalent of 3000 modern bottles. Experts are certain that the jars once contained wine, due to the presence of tartaric acid and other by-products of the fermentation process.

While this discovery is being hailed as a hugely important one in the history of wine, certain key facts have been withheld from the public in a blatant example of archaeological conspiracy. Here are some of the concealed aspects of the world’s oldest wine cellar, available as an exclusive to the readers of Global Gourmet:

  1. The room contained no etched glass doors, redwood racking or granite tasting tables, which initially delayed the identification of the space as a wine cellar.
  2. In a further bit of confusion, there were no copies of The Wine Spectator found on the premises.
  3. After extensive research, archaeologists determined that none of the jars contained Opus One. This was particularly baffling, and members of the team have contacted the Robert Mondavi winery for an explanation. The only feasible explanation thus far is that allocations to the area were restricted, due to the fact that local merchants didn’t purchase enough Coastal wines.
  4. Excavation also revealed an absence of popular wine gadgets such as aerators, crystal decanters and wine preservation systems. This led archaeologists to speculate that the owners of the cellar were either beginning collectors, or woefully ignorant of cutting-edge trends.
  5. None of the jars were identified as counterfeits, supporting the belief that they were neither sold at auction nor belonged to an Asian collector.

Research is ongoing, and fact will be reported as they are discovered.

Mark Spivak is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxiacting History, published by Lyons Press; his second book, Moonshine Nation, is forthcoming from Lyons Press in June 2014. For more information, go to

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