Will We Soon Drink The Same Wine As Jesus? DNA Is Being Used To Resurrect 2,000-year-old Drinks
In the bible, Jesus is described as having turned water into wine, but now scientists may be able to perform something close to their own 'miracle' - resurrecting a 2,000-year-old drink.
Researchers are using ancient grape seeds and genetic testing to recreate the ancient wines drunk by Jesus Christ, King David and their contemporaries.
They have found around 120 unique grape varieties that appear to be indigenous to Israel, 50 of which were domesticated and 20 are suitable for wine production.
Dr Elyashiv Drori, an oenologist at Ariel University who is leading the research, is also using seeds found at the ruins of Jewish temples alongside shards of clay marked in ancient Hebrew with the words 'smooth wine' to find out if these varieties were used to make wine.
His team is using these to identify rare grapes growing in isolated locations around Israel that may match these ancient varieties.
They hope their work may eventually be possible to use the ancient fruit DNA to engineer vines that can produce these grapes again.
Dr Drori have already teamed up with a winery to produce a white wine from an almost extinct type of grape called marawi.
This grape is thought to have been grown in Bethlehem and originates to around 220AD.
The Recanati Winery produced 2,480 bottles of the wine last year.
Speaking to The New York Times, Dr Drori said: 'All our scriptures are full with wine and with grapes - before the French were even thinking about making wine, we were exporting wine.
'We have a very ancient identity, and for me, reconstructing this identity is very important. For me, it's a matter of national pride.'
The research team have been given $750,000 (£497,600) to identify ancient Israeli grape varieties.
Among the other grape seeds the researchers are looking into include those found in donkey droppings found in Timna.
This region is home to copper mines that date to the 10th century BC when King Solomon ruled.
Dr Drori believes the animals may have been fed pomace, the residue left after winemaking.
In total, the researchers are attempting to create wine from 30 different grape varieties found growing on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and in the foothills of Jerusalem.
His team are using DNA testing to match these existing grapes to those ancient remains thought to have been used in wine making in the past.Among those are Dabouki, which might be one of the oldest of the Israeli varieties and could be a good candidate for one of the wines drunk by Jesus and his disciples.
By Richard Gray , Mail OnlineSOURCE