Archaeological Dig Uncovers 3000-Year-Old Wine Grapes

Jerusalem by David Poe

Dr. Elyashiv Drori, the head of agricultural studies at Ariel University, is in hot pursuit of the wine that filled King David’s cup (approx. 1000 B.C.) according to BBC News. His point of reference is a kilo of mummified grapes found in an archeological dig just outside of Old Jerusalem which date back 3000 years. The grapes are undergoing DNA sequencing, alongside those of indigenous varieties that Drori and his students have found in Israel’s countryside, to identify a variety that Israel can grow and market as a royal strain.

“It’s not interesting to make chardonnay in Israel because there’s chardonnay that comes from California […] But if you can make wine in Israel that isn’t elsewhere and that connects to the history here, that’s much more interesting,” Dr Drori tells JTA, a Jewish newspaper based in New York. Drori and his student team have found 100 indigenous varieties, ten of which he thinks have a future in wine.

Wine currently produced in Israel is largely derived from European stock. Centuries of Muslim rule had prohibited wine production and stalled cultivation of Israeli grapes. If rescued from dormancy, pending the local growers’ interest, a heretofore Biblical relic will be making its way to this brave new world. [BBC News] [Image: Flickr/mockstar]