Saturday, November 26, 2022

These are the oldest wineries in the world

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In ancient Egypt, wine was consumed by the upper classes, while beer was the drink of the common people. In the area of ​​the Levant, i.e. today’s Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Turkey and Cyprus, wine was being produced as early as 4,000 BC.

A wine cellar from 3,500 BC was discovered in a cave in Armenia. However, indications were also found which document wine production from the year 6,000 BC.

Evidence has also been found in Iran that wine was already being pressed 5,000 years before Christ. In China, residues of liquids were discovered in 9,000-year-old vessels. Research showed that the vessels were filled with a mixture of wine, rice, honey and fruit.


In the Rhône Valley, viticulture can be traced back to the 1st century AD, but there is no corresponding evidence for the famous Bordeaux. However, one can assume that viticulture came to Bordeaux together with the Romans. The oldest written evidence of viticulture in the region comes from Ausonius (310-394), the Roman poet who came from Bordeaux. The name of the Château Ausone, the 1er Grand Cru Classe A from St. Emilion, is reminiscent of the poet.

With the rise of the West out of the darkness of the Middle Ages, the desire for wine also increased: And at that time, viticulture was already firmly anchored in many parts of Bordeaux in Europe. The Médoc region, today one of the most famous regions of Bordeaux, is an exception: until the 17th century it was riddled with swamps and absolutely unsuitable for viticulture. The oldest still existing winery is the Château Pape-Clement in Pessac-Leognan.

Château de Goulaine, founded around 1000

The Château de Goulaine is and always has been owned by the Goulaine family; except for the period 1788-1858 when it was transferred to a Dutch banker during the French Revolution. The fact is: since 1984, hundreds of tropical butterflies have found a home in the château. The butterflies fly around in a huge aviary – a project started by Robert de Goulaine, the 11th Marquis.

Baron Ricasoli, founded in 1141

This Tuscan castle belonged to the Ricasoli family when Florence and Siena were still city-states. The Ricasolis survived Italy’s mid-12th-century fighting, the plague, and World War II. Today, with a lot of effort and a bit of luck, you can find these historic wines for the equivalent of around 80 Swiss francs.

Johannisberg Castle, founded around 1100

Founded in 1100 as a Benedictine monastery, the monks of the Johannisberg monastery in the Rheingau turned to viticulture right from the start. There is still a written order from Charlemagne (748-814) for 6,000 liters of wine to Johannisberg Castle. In 1525, during the Peasants’ War in what is now Germany, the castle was almost completely destroyed. Today the oldest Riesling vineyards in the world are at home on the estate. Schloss Johannisberg claims to have pressed the first late harvest wines in 1775 – but there is no evidence.

Vollrads Castle, founded in 1211

The castle was named after Herr Vollradus von Winkel: Vollradus is a first name. The oldest documented wine sale from Schloss Vollrads took place in the year it was founded, 1211. The Rheingau winery still produces a wide range of Riesling wines to this day. Old but modern: since 2017, practically all wines have been provided with screw caps.

Codorníu, founded in 1551

Arguably the best-known cava house in Spain didn’t start with sparkling wine. It wasn’t until the 1820s that Codorníu started making cava (and referred to it as champagne). Today Codorníu is one of the three largest cava producers in the world. In 1976, King Juan Carlos I declared Codorníu a “National Monument of Historical and Artistic Interest” – making Codorníu the historic center of Cava.

Casa Madero, founded in 1597

America’s oldest winery is in Mexico. Casa Madero is located in Parras de la Fuente, a tiny valley in Coahuila, the northeastern Mexican state, very close to the Texas border. Spanish conquistadors came to this area in search of gold – but instead of gold they found water springs and wild vines; and made the best of it.

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