Other suggestive evidence included the shape of the jar, with its narrow mouth and tall neck that seemed suited for pouring out liquids, and the presence of earthenware stoppers and funnels.
Similar jars were found in one room that appeared to have been where the wine was made or at least stored.
Across a courtyard, opened jars were excavated in what seemed to be the residence of people of some affluence, judging from the luxury items like a stone-bead necklace and a marble bowl fragment found there.
"Almost from the start, wine is a high-end item, a status symbol," Dr. Katz said.
In previous studies, Dr. Katz traced the origin of beer, brewed from barley, to the time soon after the introduction of agriculture in the Middle East about 10,000 years ago.
Since grain could be grown more widely and be stored for long periods, beer became more readily available than the seasonal, more perishable grapes.
These apparently grew only in northern regions like the Zagros and Caucasus Mountains and had to be traded for and shipped great distances.
Dr. Katz said in an interview that he was developing a hypothesis on the early history of wine. Even before modern agriculture, people could have discovered ripe wild grapes that had fallen to the ground and fermented.
The yeast for fermentation comes naturally to grapes, as the waxy white stuff on the skin. People who tasted these grapes got a glow on, and figured out how to get more, first from wild grapes crushed in a bag and then by domesticating the vines for higher production.
With the introduction of agriculture, people became more settled and could produce more than they needed for subsistence.
For the first time, Dr. Katz said, people "had enough security and stability and foresight to be willing to invest in the future."
He noted that the olive tree is the classic example. "It is said, you grow olive trees for your grandchildren," he observed, "and it's much the same with vineyards."
In their report, Dr. McGovern, Ms. Badler and Rudolph H. Michel, also of the University Museum, concluded, "Godin Tepe during the Uruk period would appear to fit the model of a society that has evolved to a sufficient level of complexity to engage in horticulture, specifically that of the grapevine."
Lawrence Stager, an archaeologist at Harvard, contends, however, that large-scale wine-making did not begin until the outset of the Bronze Age after 3000 B.C.
A similar chemical test on an amphora from the fourth century A.D., found at a tomb at Gebel Adda in southern Egypt, identified tartaric acid in a vessel known to have once contained wine. This encouraged the scientists in their interpretation of the sediments from the Godin Tepe vessel.
Archeologists said many questions remained about the early history of wine. Were these local wines? Had viticulture advanced far enough to support an export trade with the urban centers to the south?
"For the time being," Dr. McGovern's group wrote, "the earliest wine ever found must remain a delicious foretaste of future archaeological and chemical discoveries to be made."