On New Year’s Day 2015, many are probably remembering the toast they made the night before for a happy and prosperous New Year.
Therefore, it is interesting to learn that a scientist and winemaker in Israel named Elyashiv Drori is on the quest to produce wines that were served in King David’s time 3000 years ago. This isn’t as farfetched as it seems, for 4 years ago, he discovered an old, abandoned cultivated grapevine in Israel that had managed to survive the vicissitudes of heat and drought for centuries on its own.
Archaeologists have unearthed ancient wine presses and certainly the Bible talks about wine in the Old and New Testaments. The Blessed Mother mentions it at the Wedding Feast of Cana (John 2) and Jesus was offered wine vinegar while on the Cross.
Often, in countries where the water is not safe to drink, wine or beer is a safer substitute (taken in moderation of course). Elyashiv and others have scoured the countryside looking for indigenous grapes and so far have found 100 that are unique to Israel. He hopes that DNA samples taken from plant remains found at archaeological sites will match one of the vines that he has identified. In fact, near Jerusalem’s Old City, archaeologists have uncovered the remains of grapes stored nearly 3,000 years ago, preserved under layers of dirt. Elyashiv Drori seems to be coming nearer to his goal of growing vines and harvesting grapes that he can turn into real ancient Israeli wine, a glimpse into the past that King David might have tasted and recognized.