Geographical term (trans = beyond) or historical landscape for the area south of the 1,500 km long folded mountain range of the Caucasus between the Caspian and the Black Sea. Today these are the former USSR states of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia as well as neighbouring parts of Turkey, which once belonged to ancient Armenia. Together with Mesopotamia to the south, this area in Asia is considered one of the main candidates for the cradle or origin of wine culture. According to the latest research, however, the origin is said to lie in neighbouring Turkish south-east Anatolia. This is near Mount Ararat, where, according to the Bible, Noah landed and became the first winegrower.
In the fertile foothills of this mountain (the Romans called the area the "end of the world"), people may have been selecting the first wild vines in a primitive way and producing wine-like drinks as early as the Stone Age, 6,000 to perhaps 8,000 years ago. This is proven by grape seeds and artefacts found in Georgia and Turkey, which were examined using the radiocarbon method (C-14). In ancient times the area was dominated by the Assyrians, Persians, Romans, Byzantines and Arabs. The conquest by the Russians was completed around 1864. These countries had a strong influence on the viticulture. In some cases (especially in Georgia) ancient winemaking techniques are still in use. See also under Ancient wines and Ancient grape varieties.