The World's Oldest Bottle Of Wine: Getting Better With Age?

As the old saying goes, wine gets better with age. If that's true, the Spear Wine Bottle, the world's oldest bottle of wine, must be spectacular. Sadly, we'll never know. The bottle should not be left open to preserve its delicate contents.

Spear Wine Bottle

The Speyer wine bottle was unearthed in 1867, when archaeologists excavated a Roman tomb near Speyer, Germany. The bottle is made of a pale green glass with two handles shaped like dolphins on either side, sealed with wax, and then coated with a thick layer of olive oil. The liquid inside the bottle is clearly visible, but some of the alcohol has gleamed together into a black mass. It also appears that some herbs were added to the wine. Experts speculate that the herb may have been used as a preservative, but also to enhance the flavor of the wine. Archaeologists found other objects in the tomb around 325 AD. It is currently in the possession of the Wine Museum in the Palatinate, Germany.

(Not) Cracking It Open

Several experts have examined the bottle of Spear wine and have concluded that it would be impossible to even extract a sample without compromising the wine, and it certainly should not be opened, as no one can predict its contents. How will it react to the wind? The museum's curators and staff also oppose shaking the extremely delicate bottle for fear of breaking or spoiling its contents. It hardly is either. Since the bottle is sealed, the wine inside is still safe to drink, but has probably lost its alcohol content, so it won't give you buzz. That dark, gelatinous mass probably isn't very appetizing.

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