Italians taught French wine-making

Archaeology suggests Etruscans brought the grape to Gaul

6:48pm, June 3, 2013

A limestone platform (left) from a site in southern France resembles one on a Greek vase (arrow) in a scene documenting the wine-making process. 

French winemakers learned their art after developing a taste for Italian wines, a new study suggests.

Archaeologists have found traces of grapes on a stone platform dated to 425 to 400 B.C. from a site in southern France. The traces suggest that people used the platform for stomping on the fruit to make wine. The researchers also found wine traces at the same site in older, imported amphorae, the pottery shipping containers of the ancient Mediterranean.

The wine press provides the earliest molecular evidence for wine-making in France and the traces in the amphorae support the idea that local wine-making was inspired by trade with Etruscans from Italy, researchers report June 3 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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