World’s Oldest Bottle of Wine is Unopened and Remains Sealed Since the 4th Century
Wine has a long and rich history in human existence that predates even written records—but suffice to say that our love affair with the beverage is ancient. One theory postulates that the fermentation of alcohol took off sometime between 10,000 to 8,000 BC, thanks to the shift from nomadic to more settled culture. Because people were staying in one place, they began raising crops that eventually lead to the production of wine.
We don’t have any bottles left from that early era, but there is one variety that dates back much farther than any of us have been alive. So, how old is the oldest bottle of wine? Known as Römerwein, or the Speyer wine bottle, it’s at least 1,650 years old. This dates back to the 4th century, sometime between 325 and 359 AD. The 1.5-liter glass vessel was discovered during the excavation of a Roman nobleman’s tomb in modern-day Germany.
If you’re wondering what wine this old smells or even tastes like, experts still do not know. They are uncertain what would happen to the liquid if it were exposed to air, so it has stayed sealed with a thick stopper of wax and olive oil. At this point, whatever alcohol was in there is probably long gone.
This incredible piece of history is now on display at the Historical Museum of the Palatinate in Speyer, Germany, where only one man will handle the bottle because everyone else is “just too afraid.”
Called The Römerwein, or Speyer wine bottle, it dates back to the 4th century.
Experts are unsure of how the bottle would react once opened, so it has remained tightly sealed.