Ancient Israeli Wine Factory Uncovered by Archeologists

Researchers in Israel have found a wine factory around the size of a football field.

Researchers in Israel say they have found a wine factory — around the size of a football field — unlike anything they have found before. 

Estimated to be 1,500 years old, the Israel Antiquities Authority say this site was likely producing more than half a million gallons of wine per year. "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 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."

Wine was drank more widely during this time 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, in order 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, but Seligman and Torge are hoping to find enough clues to possibly replicate the wine that was made in this factory. 

"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 said.

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