Let There Be Wine: Wine-Tasting During the Biblical Times


In the Philippines, liquor has a rich history. This is true across the world with so many cultures and religions have their own traditions that involve liquor. But there is no other alcoholic beverage that has more history than wine. In Manila, a predominantly Catholic country, wine is used to symbolize the blood of Christ which says that Filipinos will share in the covenant of the Lord.

Many scholars and historians have studied about wine-tasting during the time of Jesus. Are you interested to learn more about this? Here is a throwback to wine-tasting during the Biblical times for you to discover the historical implications that this drink has!

 Facts about wine during Jesus' time

Facts about wine during Jesus’ time

There are tons of questions pertaining to the presence of wines during the Biblical times. The debate focuses on whether Jesus drank wine or it is just plain old grape juice. Although there are plenty of musings on what type of food they have laid out on the dinner table, it is certain that Jesus and his disciples drank wine during the Last Supper. Many elements of the Biblical event have been up for discussion for quite a while now but what are the facts about wine during Jesus’ time?

Jesus is known to be Jewish. During the Last Supper, it has been said that He and his apostles had wine which was according to their customs. Wine has a prominent presence in the Holy Land even before the Biblical times. Wine grapes have been around even before the days of Jesus and King David. Since then, there have been plenty of variations of this drink from many different winemakers. After many tremendous stories of faith, wine has managed to find its way to the modern times.

Imagine yourself in a party in Manila, wine in hand and you are getting dizzy from having one too many. Well, back in the day, this was uncommon because wine just affected their bladder more than their mind. The reason behind this is because the wine is always mixed with three parts of water. This is the striking difference between drinking liquor in the Philippines today and drinking wine during the Biblical times. It can even be diluted extensively without losing its bouquet and taste.

The miracle of it all lies in the exceptionality of the wine that scholars have put up for discussion. Wine during Jesus’ time, specifically the one that he served to His followers, possesses great strength, body, and bouquet. It was a sweet wine with a slight alcoholic content.

Even if we cannot say for sure what the exact ingredients are, it is a guarantee that the Middle East is also appreciative of wines during this time. Many scholars have tried to find out what kind of wine was prominent during Jesus’ arrival. However, they have had a hard time pinpointing what main ingredient was used to make this alcoholic beverage.

Winemakers are jumping at the opportunity to be at the other end of the discovery by using DNA testing and archeological digs but many have tried and failed. Thanks to the ancient Egyptian tomb paintings, it has been said that the winemaking process back in the day is dated back to 5,000 years or more.

Wine-making in the past

Wine-making in the past

Another question being asked around the world is “how was wine made in the past?” There have been issues in religious communities about the type of wine that is mentioned in the Bible. Oftentimes, it is being discussed whether the drink was really alcoholic.

In the article called “Wine in the New Testament,” Robert H. Stein described how they used to store wine during the Biblical times. He said it was kept away from air and they even use sinking pitch-sealed casks underwater. The freshly squeezed grape juice was subjected to many measures to preserve it from fermentation.

The head of the Ariel University Wine Research Center, Dr. Shivi Drori presented his research about the wine during the Biblical era. His findings reveal that the white wine was made from the Dabouki grape which is native to Armenia. The Armenian grape is known to be one of the oldest varieties in the region which is probably the drink that Jesus had during His time in the world.

In other studies, such as the Divine Vintage: Following the Wine Trail from Genesis to the Modern Age by Joel Butler and Randal Heskett, it has been noted that wines during Jesus’ day were often honey-infused with dried fruits and spices like pepper and curry. Additionally, tree resins like myrrh, frankincense, and terebinth were used to preserve the wine.

The alcoholic content of the grape juice can hold a natural low number compared to the wines we have today. No additives were included in the wine which is one of the reasons attributed to its low alcoholic content. Alcoholic wine during the Biblical times is weak compared to modern wine. It was boiled down to syrup to prepare it for preservation, the boiling is responsible for eliminating the yeast that could cause fermentation. The syrup is then used for drinking purposes. Another form of preserving this wine is to strain the yeast which can also prevent fermentation.

Wine in Bible Passages

Wine in Bible Passages

How was wine presented in the sacred text? If you have missed out on these Bible verses and passages, then read up to find out more about wine during Jesus’ time. Here are a few of the Bible passages that mention wine in their narration:

Genesis 14:18

Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought wine and bread to give to his disciples. He was the priest of the highest God and he blesses Abram and El Elyon by saying that, “Blessed be Abram to the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth. And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand.”

Matthew 26:26-29

Jesus asked the disciples to take unleavened bread and wine during the New Testament. It has been speculated on that when He asked his disciples to partake for this act, it was a symbol that He wants His followers to observe a small memorial for His death.

John 13:1-5

Jesus introduced the symbolism of the bread and wine as part of the Passover service. It is His way of showing that He will never forget about those who have followed Him in faith. After their meal was served, Jesus started rolling up His sleeves and tied a towel around His waist to wash His disciples’ feet. This event is called the “Last Supper” because later that evening, He has predicted that one of His disciples will betray Him and thus, Judas did point out His whereabouts.

Key Takeaway

Looking back on the history of wine is a great exercise. Who knew that the drink with delicious taste and rich aroma has such a historical value to it, right? With many selections from stores offering liquor in the Philippines, you can have your very own wine in Manila to recreate a sacred experience with the fine-tasting beverage. Just remember to drink responsibly!

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