Researchers in Israel say they have found a wine factory — around the size of a football field — unlike anything they have found before.
According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, this site is approximately 1,500 years of age and produces more than half a billion gallons annually. “There are many, many winepresses that have been found during excavations, you could say hundreds of wine presses, so okay, so what’s the big deal?” said Jon Seligman of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
“The big deal is the size of this complex and also the fact that it’s also clustered to create one sort of the whole unit, that’s never been found in this kind of quantity or this kind of clusterdness if that’s a word,” Seligman continued. “So the fact that we have all of this together in one place is what is the new aspect of this excavation.”
The wine was drunk more widely during this period, according to Hagit Torge of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
“The wine was probably sweet,” Torge said. “The taste of Europeans at that period was a sweet wine because a lot of times, to prevent from getting sick from the water, you’d pour wine into the water, and then even babies and small children drank water with wine and the sweet taste of the wine, sweetens the water and it was a real hit during the Byzantine period.”
Unfortunately, no bottles from the Byzantine period were found at the site. Still, Seligman and Torge hope to find enough clues to replicate the wine made in this factory possibly.
“The question that we have is ‘what were the grape varieties that were drunk at that time?’ We don’t know the answer. What we are trying to do is to get the information from the DNA from the pipes themselves,” Seligman stated.