Should the Speyer wine dated to ca 325 AD be opened?

Updated 2012-12-12

The museum does not intend to analyse the wine at this time! In a mail I reciveied from the museum they say the informations is probably due to a misunderstandiing of a press realse from DPA (Deutsche Press Agentur). More info can be found in this article.

I wrote about this wine some time ago – the oldest bottle of wine with wine in it. It was opened and tested in the 30’s, now scientists wants to reopen it,  should the world oldest wine bottle be opened again? The question might seem to be simple – of course it should be – or should it?

Tests was being done on this wine just prior to WW2 and if I understand it right the results were lost, therefore I feel that tests would be of great scientific interest. But if so the questions are central – what can we gain from tests – what kind of tests should be done and by whom and if they are done is there a way to be sure that the material that isn’t tested is safe for future reference.

There are some seemingly easy or obvious questions: What grapes have been used? Can we say anything about the type of wine? What processes have been used to make the wine? Where was it made etc.?  The first thing we must ask is  if we can answer these questions? It would also be a great possibility to have some tasters that are used to taste old wine to be present to document the wine as a wine, for example François Audouze and a couple of masters of wine. I think that as it is a wine this is of great interest – a documentation of the wine as a wine; this might also give another angle regarding the wine, a dimension science really can’t manage.

The wine bottle can be seen in the “Weinmuseum” as part of the permanent exhibition at the Historical Museum of the Palatinate in Speyer. Link to the Historical museum of the Palatinate (Historisches Museum der Pfalz).

Magnus Reuterdahl



    • I’m pretty sure you could test it for most things regarding content – the problem is to figure out what processes has been going on in the bottle and how they have affected the wine. They also must take into account that the bottle has been opened at least once, in the 30’s, and possibly also when it was found in the late 19th century. What processes started then and how have they affected the wine. I know that there is not only wine in the bottle there is also olive oil – an ancient method to encapsulate the wine – have this in any way affected the wine. The olive oil should also be tested – interesting questions are among other things did they spice the olive oil, is it possible to determine where it was made etc. in other words the same questions as regarding the wine. Another interesting question is if the oil and wine is from the same region?


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