Cyprus was the first Mediterranean country to make wine, an Italian archaeologist has claimed.

Maria-Rosaria Belgiorno said she uncovered evidence, during an archaeological dig near the southern coastal town of Limassol, that Cypriots produced wine up to 6,000 years ago, AFP reports.

‘At Pyrgos we found two jugs used for wine and the seeds of the grapes. And at Erimi, of the 18 pots we looked at, 12 were used for wine between 3,500BC and 3,000BC,’ Belgiorno was quoted as saying in the Cyprus Weekly newspaper.

It was previously believed that the Mediterranean wine-making tradition originated in what is now Turkey and Syria, or with worshippers of the Greek god of wine, Dionysus.

The world’s first wine is thought to have been made from rice in China around 9,000 years ago, followed by a grape-based alcohol not entirely dissimilar to modern day claret in what is today’s Iran 7,000 years ago.

Written by Agencies