Grape wine has a history that dates as far back as 8,000 years ago. Archeological discoveries have revealed the use of wine for various activities in the olden days, especially in religious rituals dating back to Greek and Roman times. In 2007, archeologists unearthed what could be the genesis of winemaking: a winery that is at least 6,100 years old. The winery was discovered in Armenia’s Areni-1 complex in a massive cave. It is currently one of the best-preserved ancient wineries. Germany, Spain, Italy, and France also host some significantly old wineries.
The Oldest Wineries in the World
Germany is probably not the first country that comes to mind when thinking about wine but ranks highly among the leading wine producers. It is also home to one of Europe’s oldest wine companies. The Staffelter Hof was established in 862. This winery has connections to a Belgic monastery, and at the onset, wine production was exclusively for the monastery until the French revolution. Schloss Johanisberg is also a notably ancient winery whose history began in 1100. The winery sits on a religious site that has been transformed to the wine-growing company it is today. Schloss Vollrads and Karthäuserhof also rank highly among the oldest wineries in the country having been founded in 1211 and 1335 respectively.
Italy boasts of three of the oldest wineries in the world. Barone Ricasoli established 1141 is one of the leading wineries in the world today. It is also a forerunner in the manufacture of Chianti wine. In the middle ages, Barone Ricasoli built a reputation for quality and elegance and consequently grew into one of the major European wine exporters. The products of this winery found their way to England and Netherlands, and by the beginning of the 20th century South Africa, Costa Rica, China, Guatemala, and Saudi Arabia were also importing. The Antinori Winery in Florence was established 39 years after Barone Ricasoli and has shaken the winemaking industry with creative winemaking techniques and products. In 1308, Frescobaldi came into the business. Located in Tuscany, this winery has a track record of excellence having been a supplier for the Italian painter Michelangelo and King Henry VIII.
Spain is home to two of the world’s oldest wineries: the Can Bonastre and the Codorníu. Can Bonastre was founded in 1548 and centuries later this winery is renowned for its excellence in the winemaking process. The company holds vineyards stretching hundreds of hectares and have more than 50 varieties of grapes. Today Can Bonastre produces 13 different varieties of wine. Codorníu was founded three years after the Can Bonastre in Spain’s Catalonia region. This winery is known for pioneering the use of hollow bottles in the production of cava wines; a tradition it has since retained.
France is the world’s most-renowned wine producer. The country had its first winery, the Château de Goulaine, founded in 1000 in the Loire Valley region. Since its inception, the winery remains owned by the family of the Marquis Goulaine and still produces impressive Vouvray and Muscat wines making it the oldest family-owned winery in Europe. The Dopff family founded France’s second winery, the Dopff-Au-Moulin in Alsace in 1574. This winery is accorded the pioneering of the delightful Crémant d’Alsace, an intricately designed wine.
Wineries from Around the World
The production of wine spread to other countries across the globe. Today the world enjoys exquisite wines from wineries in the US, Australia, Mexico, and South Africa. In fact, South Africa is home to two of the world’s oldest wineries: Boschendal Winery founded in 1688 and the Rustenberg founded in 1682.