bogazkere

DNA sleuth hunts wine roots in Anatolia

ELAZIG, Turkey — There are easier places to make wine than the spectacular, desolate landscapes of southeast Turkey, but DNA analysis suggests it is here that Stone Age farmers first domesticated the wine grape.

Today Turkey is home to archaeological sites as well as vineyards of ancient grape varieties like Bogazkere and Okuzgozu, which drew the curiosity of the Swiss botanist and grape DNA sleuth Jose Vouillamoz, for the clues they may offer to the origin of European wine.

Together with the biomolecular archaeologist Patrick McGovern, Vouillamoz has spent nearly a decade studying the world’s cultivated and wild vines.

“We wanted to collect samples from wild and cultivated grape vines from the Near East – that means southeastern Anatolia, Armenia and Georgia – to see in which place the wild grape was, genetically speaking, linked the closest to the cultivated variety.” Read more.