The giants of wine, the French, have the Italians to thank, it seems.
The story of wine in France -- where the industry grew to influence the world -- can be traced in part through a vessel called an amphora and likely produced around 525 BC to 475 BC. And, scientists say, a key to the story of wine culture moving to Mediterranean France is Lattara, a coastal site south of Montpelier.
It was there that the French first set up vineyards and made wine, said Patrick McGovern, scientific director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania Museums of Archaeology and Anthropology.
He was the lead author of a study in which scientists used chemical and archaeological tests on those amphoras, as well as studying masses of grape seeds and other remains. Their work on the early French winemaking industry, in place on the Mediterranean by at least the 5th century BC, was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.