If you’re a wine enthusiast then you should add Speyer, Germany, to your travel bucket list right away. The South-West German city is home to the world’s oldest wine bottle and, if experts are to be believed, it’s actually drinkable.
The Historical Museum of Palatinate, Speyer, is home to the ‘Speyer Wine Bottle’, a 1,700-year-old bottle of wine that was discovered in 1867.
According to the museum, the bottle is one of the 15 that were interred with a pair of upper-class Romans who were buried together in 325 C.E. near modern-day Speyer.
Out of the 15 bottles, this bottle was the only one that remained intact through all those years and was completely sealed shut. It is believed that the ancient Romans seasoned and sweetened their wine with spices and honey, a possible reason for its longevity, and poured olive oil into the bottle to keep the air out. The now-solidified blob of olive oil and a thin layer of wax over the bottle’s mouth has kept the wine safe and sealed ever since.
The obvious question is that just because the wine is supposedly drinkable, should you drink the ancient booze?
In 2011, the museum’s head of collection Ludgar Tekampe revealed to a German news outlet that the museum was afraid to open the bottle and that he was the only staff member who handled it. Tekampe said that it felt strange to touch the bottle as nobody had any idea what would happen if they opened it.
“We are not sure whether or not it could stand the shock (of) the air,“ the article quoted Tekampe, “It is still liquid, and there are some who believe it should be subjected to new scientific analysis, but we are not sure.”
However, a report in Futurism claimed that the bottle, in its present state, houses the residue of a clear liquid that’s no longer alcohol as it has lost all its ethanol content. Above the liquid, a firm, rosin-like substance, fills nearly two-thirds of the bottle.
In an Instagram post, the museum said that if you were to take a sip from the oldest bottle of wine in the world, the taste “would probably be compared to that of a tasteless chewing gum”, which doesn’t sound like it would make for a fun wine tasting session.
Maybe, for now, it would be prudent to stick to non-1,700-year-old bottles of wine, don’t you think?!