'I'd have to give it a go ' - Would You drink the world's oldest wine?

The world's oldest wine - a white wine over 2,000 years old - has been discovered in a Roman tomb in Spain
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.40 19 Jun 2024

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'I'd have to give it a go ' -...

'I'd have to give it a go ' - Would You drink the world's oldest wine?

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.40 19 Jun 2024

Share this article

The world's oldest wine has been discovered in a Roman tomb in Spain.

The white wine, which is over 2,000 years old, has acquired a reddish hue over time.

A team with the Department of Organic Chemistry at the University of Córdoba says it has been preserved since the 1st century AD.


The wine is thought to have been part of a funeral ritual with the skeletal remains of a man immersed in the liquid inside an urn.

Wine reviewer Mick O'Connell told Moncrieff the discovery is very unusual.

"It's pretty amazing, I've never heard of anything like this at all," he said.

"This was found in an urn so it's like an old, terracotta-style urn.

"Even new, young wine a little bit of it can seep out through these substances because they're a little bit porous.

"So to be there for 2,000 years is absolutely nuts".

Analysis of the world's oldest wine

Mr O'Connell said the research teams had to establish exactly what the liquid was.

"They've done chemical analysis on this wine to establish that it was wine at all," he said.

"They look for particular properties in it and one of the properties is syringic acid.

"Syringic acid is only present in red wine; there was no syringic acid so therefore this is white wine.

"They reckon, just based on the analysis, that this wine started its life a little bit like a sherry".

'Best before' dates

Mr O'Connell said he'd happily try the world's oldest wine if given the chance.

"The chemist who was analysing the wine said they reckon it is not poisonous, it is not toxic to drink," he said.

"In my mind I'm going, 'I'd have to be tempted and give it a go'."

He said wines do not have a 'best before' date.

"The vast majority of wines - pretty much everything you see on the supermarket shelf - is designed for drinking kind of as soon as it hits the shelf," he said.

"The beauty of wine in comparison to other products in your supermarket is it doesn't have a 'best before' date.

"It's not going bad six months after it arrives - whether it gets better, the vast majority of wine doesn't get better with time".

Mr O'Connell added that wine from certain regions, such as Bordeaux, can age better than others.

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Main image: The world's oldest wine in a glass urn. Image: Juan Manuel Román

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Funeral Ritual Mick O'Connell Moncrieff Oldest Wine Roman Tomb Spain Syringic Acid University Of Cordoba White Wine

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