The World's Oldest Winery Is Located Inside A Cave

What visuals come to mind when asked to picture a winery? Are you dreaming of wine vaults on the rolling hills of Bordeaux, France? Or maybe you remember the vacation you took to Sonoma County, sipping Chardonnay in a beautiful tasting room along the California coast. The stereotypical winery may paint a picture of rows of grape vines underneath blue skies; however, what if we told you the world's first winery didn't have any of those characteristics?

People have been fermenting grapes to create wine for quite some time — over 6,000 years, to be exact. In our vintner evolution, the process of winemaking has evolved and significantly changed. There's no better way to illustrate that than the world's first known winery, which is located in a unique geographical location: a literal cave. Deep within Eastern Europe, have archeologists uncovered one of the most significant and rare historical discoveries, a preserved winery over 6,000 years old in the country of Armenia.

A 6,100-year-old winery with stories to tell

Located 60 miles from Mount Ararat in Armenia, Saveur explains that in 2007, archeologists uncovered the oldest known winery in the world inside a cave. Referred to as the Areni-1 complex, the winery is built underground and is made up of a series of long narrow hallways and open caverns home to artifacts that help us understand the ancient process of winemaking. During the recovery in 2007, archeologists discovered fermenting vats, clay vessels, and even grape seeds from the same type of grape locals use in neighboring vineyards to make current-day Armenian wine (via BBC).

A blast from the past, the Areni-1 winery is not only an incredible discovery for wine lovers across the world that enthusiasts a glimpse into the introduction of winemaking, but the site is also a fantastic resource for historians, archaeologists, and other scholars. Per BBC, it's also said that Areni-1 was where the "oldest known leather shoe" was found. It was a 5,500-year-old leather moccasin, showing archeologists that that type of footwear has more or less always been in style.