Detail of the 1650-year-old Speyer wine bottle.

To Open or Not to Open The 1,650-Year-Old Speyer Wine Bottle?

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So, rephrasing William Shakespeare, we wonder: to open or not to open? It looks like this dilemma will continue “torturing” wine experts and scientists for many years to come.

Top Image: Detail of the 1650-year-old Speyer wine bottle. Source: Wines of Germany

By Theodoros Karasavvas


All About Greek Wine (2010) ‘History.’ Available at:

Hall, A. (2011) ‘Shall We Crack Open the 350 AD Vintage?’ Available at:

Klimczak, N. (2016) Alcohol for the Ancients: The Oldest Drinks in the World. Available at:

Vintage News (2016). ‘The 1,650-year-old Speyer Wine.’ Available at:


Interesting but if opened it would be a big disappoitment, I'm sure as the wine is no longer wine but something else. It's best being left alone completely and seen only but not opened. It's exciting enough to think that it's that old and still surviving in the bottle...leave it be.

Wine experts know that the idea that all wine improves with age is a myth. Like most things, it improves, peaks and declines. Some wise are best nearly fresh. Others peak at different points. The light white wines go first. The ones that last the longest generally are the high-quality red wines and wines that are high is sugar and alcohol content, such as the Bordeaux, Trokenbeerenausleses, Tokaj Esencia, and Vintage ports. Even the best wine, stored under the best conditions, is seldom drinkable after a couple of hundred years.
It would be miraculous if the wine in that bottle were even bearable at this age. The main purpose of opening it would be to analyze it to see how they made wine at that point in history. Of course at that age, it may have actually been made by Dionysus or Bachus and may magically carry you to the golden age of Greece, which could prove addicting.

It is very apparent by the appearence alone – that contents has gone bad. Opening it would be a sorry experience to those present as it would smell foul and also maybe exhaust some toxic gasses. It looks like it is slowly tuning into some type of mold. Very dangerous when you have no idea of what is actually going on with it. Leave well enough alone and continue to display it under UV light. 

Bon Appetite 

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