Traditionally it was thought that wine production developed in the region in the Middle Bronze Age, between 1300 and 1100 BC.
The results showed traces of tartaric acid and its sodium salt, which occur in grapes and the wine-making process, meaning that the region’s wine production possibly began in the early fourth millennium BC.
Tanasi told CNN that the wine may have been left as an offering to underground deities.
“The cave site of Monte Kronio is also a cult place used for religious practices from prehistory to Classical times,” Tanasi said. “This discovery has important archaeological and historical implications.”
The researchers’ next move is to work out whether the wine was red or white, according to a USF statement.
Tanasi told CNN that a different sample would have to be used and that the work would be part of a more general project on diets in prehistoric Sicily and Malta.
Experts from the USF, University of Catania, Institute of Chemical Methodologies (CNR) and Superintendence of Agrigento were involved in the discovery.