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Ruta Enoturística de la Comarca en El Puerto de Santa María

The world’s oldest Complete Winery

The temple where gods turned into wine

The marked religious, divine or initiatory character that has been attributed to consciousness-altering substances in all cultures and civilisations has also accompanied wine since its origin. Once it is decided to organise production systems, a series of rules are established that inevitably speak of the people who generate them. These rules determine the location, distribution of spaces, organisation of tasks, recipients, altars, rituals for production and consumption, etc. And, in doing so, it is as if they openly and nakedly show each and every one of their intimacies as a culture.  

In the Sierra de San Cristóbal, the highest point of El Puerto de Santa María, at about 100 metres above sea level and under the direction of Prof. Dr. Diego Ruiz Mata, Professor of Prehistory, it was discovered in 1991 that the site known as Las Cumbres was home to what is now the oldest complete wine cellar in the world. It dates back to the 3rd century B.C. and comprises a building complex with a surface area of some 2,000 square metres.

The nuance of "complete" is not futile or unnecessary, on the contrary, it is what elevates this archaeological discovery to its rightful place and shows that this cellar retains all the elements that went with the production of an exclusive product of deity, which was only accessible to the political and religious elite.

The people who initiated the production of wine in that high and prominent place, where they located the sacred, brought it from their Middle Eastern lands, enveloped in their religious, cultural and technological knowledge. It could be considered that wine was the vertex where all the different aspects of a society converged to meet their higher reality.

For this reason, this archaeological discovery is not only a milestone in the knowledge of an everyday and accessible product, but also one that is covered with the most subtle and complex aspects of the culture of origin. Thanks to it, it is possible to immerse oneself in the history of a people 2000 years deep, and to explore it in its entirety, through the primitive ocean of wine.

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