Ancient wine presses carved in stone (Malta)





Centuries ago, come September, galleys would be rowed into Mġarr ix-Xini harbour and loaded with amphorae filled with wine that had been pressed in the valley.

Winemakers would fill shallow basins with grapes and, once pressed, the juice would flow through holes and channels into a deeper collecting holder, all carved into the rock.

These wine presses, said to date back to 500 BC, can still be seen embedded in the Gozitan valley and are being studied and documented in a project carried out by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and the Sannat and Xewkija local councils with the support of Camilleri Wines.

Apart from safeguarding heritage, the project offers an interesting insight into Malta and Gozo's past.

"What is not seen today is that Mġarr ix-Xini valley was functioning as a main artery, as a seaport... It functioned as a huge agro-industrial area," explained Superintendent of Cultural Heritage Anthony Pace, who leads the project together with archaeologist George Azzopardi.

He explained how the presses, dug into the ground, were made of a shallow basin upon which an additional structure was mounted to press the grapes.

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nerriwy wang - 1/14/2010


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