The First Vintage

A molecular archaeologist traces the prehistory of our most celebrated beverage

Long before grapes grew on Trellises in Napa and Sonoma, long before vineyards flourished in Bordeaux and Bourgogne, a sophisticated wine industry arose along the banks of the Nile. From tombs, temples and palaces that date as far back as 5,000 years ago, archaeologists have uncovered clay amphorae stamped with seals that name not only the contents (irp, or wine) but also the region in which the grapes were grown, the year in which the wine was produced, the owner of the estate and often some indication of quality, such as "good" and "very, very good." And who is to say...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!