What would Jesus drink? Wineries try to recreate wine of the Bible

The Bible is full of references to wine: Noah gets drunk on it after the flood. Jesus turns water into wine.

It is praised in Ecclesiastes and reviled in Proverbs. Yet nowhere in Scripture is the type of wine identified — until now.

A small but growing number of wineries in Israel and the West Bank are trying to recreate the wine of the Bible, combining ancient grape varietals with modern science to identify and produce the wine consumed thousands of years ago in the Holy Land.

“People are very enthusiastic about drinking a wine that King David had on his table, or for the same matter, Jesus or any other biblical figure,” says Eliyashiv Drori, who started a boutique winery near his home in a West Bank settlement. “They all grew here, they all lived here, and they all ate and drank wine here.”

Drori, a wine researcher at the Samaria Regional R & D Center at Ariel University, examines preserved grapeseeds found in archaeological digs to identify the types of grapes used to make wine.

He says there were different varieties of wine in biblical times: red and white, dry and sweet. But he says they likely didn’t make wine from specific grapes, such as modern-day cabernet sauvignon and merlot.

His research has identified 120 varieties of grapes unique to the region, of which about 20 are suitable for making wine.

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