Grapes Used To Make Top European Wines May Be From Georgia

Posted: Dec 31, 2021

The grapes used to make popular French, Italian and Spanish wines may not be from Europe but instead from the Western Asian country of Georgia, a study has suggested.

Italian scientists analysed 204 genomes of common grape vines in Georgia and found that evidence to suggest that a single 'domestication event' occurred in Western Asia.

The experts found that the birth of the grapes used in wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir took place during that event, which was followed by numerous and pervasive interbreeding with grapes from Georgia and Europe, reports The Times.

The findings differ from other theories which suggest that the European wines came from wild grape species on the continent without interbreeding with grapes from Western Europe.

Georgia has boasted that it has been making wine for 8,000 years - longer than any other nation - since archaeologists found traces of wine residue in ancient clay vessels.

The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, also 'identified the genetic footprints for domestication and breeding selection, which determine the grapes used for today's wine making,' reports the newspaper.

'The authors observed similar levels of genetic diversity in wild grapes and in the varieties used for today's wine making,' the study by Italian scientists Michele Morgante, Gabriele Di Gaspero and colleagues added.

By Rachael Bunyan
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