Where in the wine world are we? Ancient edition

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This ancient land was known for precious metals and wine–a fine pairing for any society! If we were teleported there right now, we could try wine from gold or silver vessels while wearing gold-spangled robes. And you thought wine and bling was sooo 2007!

In fact, some residents were so rich that they were buried with their gold wine service. And some were so kinky as to be buried with their servants or horses. But that doesn’t concern us.

Get a load of that silver cummerbund thing above! The scene depicts some grand poobah, complete with five o’clock shadow, getting served wine. Peeled grapes coming up next, no doubt.

Archaeologists have also unearthed a shrine to the god of wine complete with a large, ornate bronze cauldron presumably filled with the fruits of the vine.

Where was this ancient land? And why is it timely now? Win our respect and admiration–and a link back to your site if you have one–by being the first with a correct answer in the comments below.

UPDATE: We have a winner–in record time! RichardA nailed it that it is ancient Colchis in modern day Georgia. The society felt the influence both east and west in the form of Persia and Greece. Chaz nailed the timely relevance since the exhibit ““Wine, Worship & Sacrifice” runs through February 24 at the Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian. He even gave you the link to the exhibit! Here’s a map to help you get a better lay of the land.

I’m not going to be able to see the exhibit myself. But I’m looking forward to the sword and sandals movie set in Colchis with Brad Pitt.

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10 Responses to “Where in the wine world are we? Ancient edition”


  1. The answer is Colchis, a country at the eastern end of the Black Sea.


  2. Modern-day Georgia.

    Amateur art historian’s approach: the tight concentric circles on the piece’s borders are a giveaway that you’re near ancient Greece (where they would have been tight spirals), but the relief looks more Babylonian (Iraq) or Afghani , placing this piece farther east. The treatment of facial features is fairly crude, providing a time frame between maybe 3,000 and 1,000 BC.

    It’s timely because the Freer & Sackler Galleries at the Smithsonian have a “Wine, Worship & Sacrifice” exhibit going on right now, displaying the graves of the ancient city of Vani.

    http://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/online/Gold/default.html


  3. Greece. Not as much background as Chaz, but the ornamentation and imaging seem to indicate Greece.


  4. Yep, Colchis. The city of Vani in particular, which lies in modern-day Georgia.


  5. Modern-day Georgia.


  6. I don’t know a thing about ancient Vani or Colchis, but somehow this says “Crete” to me


  7. Great job! Colchis it is, RichardA. And Chaz, you got the timely relevance!


  8. Excellent detective work, but here’s the real issue: What did that wine taste like? Wouldn’t you just die to be able to have one sip of what they drank in ancient times? I’m sure it was awful, but what an experience!


  9. Nancy- indeed! If anyone makes it to the exhibit and they have suppositions about what the wines looked like or tasted like, please do post and let us know!


  10. Sweet and oxidized the fermentation was not carried to the end, so there was a higher sugar residues and often some honey was added to it, to cover the harsh and immature tannins and also to avoid an excessive oxidation, being that at that time the only sulphate present in the wine was the one produced during the fermentation.
    Buona Bevuta a Tutti
    http://www.de-vino.com
    http://www.de-vino.blogspot.com


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