Not being religious, I wasn't sure if I'd appreciate Divine Vintage: Following the Wine Trail from Genesis to the Modern Age, by Randall Heskett and Joel Butler (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). However, the authors put my mind somewhat at ease by asserting that they were not going to treat the Bible as a historical text, but rather as a reflection of an interpretation by the writers of the times. Their aim was to chronologically trace the history of wine using biblical texts, and then bolster that with archaeological research and physical remains.
It begins with Noah as the first winegrower, planting a vineyard after the flood, and traces the spread of viticulture through the present and around the world. "The drunken monkey hypothesis [primates eat fermented fruit until they are drunk]gives us a plausible scientific basis for human desire and need for alcoholic beverages; wine is merely the easiest to understand and produce. The Noah hypothesis provides an explanation for where, when, how, and perhaps even why the wild grape became domesticated by humans." The second part of the book looks at the New Testament and seeks to answer the question, "What wines would Jesus drink?" Wines from that time period were quite different than most produced today, but the authors follow Paul's 3rd missionary journey in an attempt to replicate what he might have tasted. And the answer to the question of what Jesus would have drank? According to the authors, as a guest of honor, Jesus would have been humble enough to try all of the wines. Turns out he's similar to a modern oenophile. :)
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me for review purposes, free of charge, and no further compensation was received. Some information was taken from the Palgrave Macmillan website and all opinions are my own.
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