Beginning of viniculture in France

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jun 18;110(25):10147-52. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1216126110. Epub 2013 Jun 3.


Chemical analyses of ancient organic compounds absorbed into the pottery fabrics of imported Etruscan amphoras (ca. 500-475 B.C.) and into a limestone pressing platform (ca. 425-400 B.C.) at the ancient coastal port site of Lattara in southern France provide the earliest biomolecular archaeological evidence for grape wine and viniculture from this country, which is crucial to the later history of wine in Europe and the rest of the world. The data support the hypothesis that export of wine by ship from Etruria in central Italy to southern Mediterranean France fueled an ever-growing market and interest in wine there, which, in turn, as evidenced by the winepress, led to transplantation of the Eurasian grapevine and the beginning of a Celtic industry in France. Herbal and pine resin additives to the Etruscan wine point to the medicinal role of wine in antiquity, as well as a means of preserving it during marine transport.

Keywords: Western Mediterranean; ancient medicine; biomolecular archaeology; viticulture.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Archaeology*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Culture
  • France
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Herbal Medicine / history*
  • History, Ancient
  • Household Articles / history
  • Humans
  • Spectrophotometry, Infrared
  • Vitis / chemistry*
  • Wine / analysis*
  • Wine / history*