Wine has been an essential part of human life for thousands of years. Various ancient texts, including the Bible, describe winemaking processes that were used in the past. In this article, we will explore how wine was made in biblical times and how it differs from the modern winemaking process.

Wine has been an integral part of human history for thousands of years, and biblical times were no exception. In fact, wine played a significant role in ancient Jewish and Christian cultures. But have you ever wondered how they made wine back then? What were the techniques, tools, and ingredients they used? In this article, we will take a closer look at the winemaking process in biblical times, exploring its origins, methods, and cultural significance.

Vineyard Cultivation

Grape Varieties

The Bible mentions several varieties of grapes, including the white grape, the black grape, and the sultana grape. The vineyards were usually located on hillsides or terraces, and the vines were trained on trellises or pergolas. The soil was tilled, and the vines were pruned to ensure optimal growth.


Grape harvesting was done by hand, and the grapes were placed in baskets or sacks. The grapes were then transported to the winepress, where they were crushed to extract the juice.


One key takeaway from this text is that winemaking in biblical times was a natural and somewhat rudimentary process that relied on manual labor and simple tools. Harvesting, crushing, fermentation, and storage were all done by hand and in clay jars or skins, with aging as an essential part of the process. Wine was also an important part of religious and cultural ceremonies and was a valuable commodity for trade and commerce, particularly in the eastern Mediterranean.

Types of Winepresses

There were two types of winepresses used in biblical times: the sw press and the deep press. The sw press was a rectangular pit with a sloping floor, and the grapes were crushed by treading on them. The juice flowed down the slope into a collection container. The deep press was a circular pit with a vertical wall, and a beam was used to press down on the grapes to extract the juice.

Crushing and Fermentation

After the grapes were harvested and transported to the winepress, they were crushed to extract the juice. The juice was then placed in large clay jars or skins, which were buried in the ground to allow the juice to ferment. The fermentation process was natural and relied on wild yeast present on the grape skins.


After the juice had fermented, it was pressed again to extract any remaining liquid. The liquid was then transferred to storage containers, which were usually made of clay or animal skins.

Storage and Aging

One key takeaway from this text is that the winemaking process in biblical times was very different from the modern process. Grapes were harvested by hand and pressed using either a sw or deep press, and fermentation was natural and relied on wild yeast. Wine was stored in clay jars or skins and aged for several months or years. Wine also had significant religious and cultural significance and was often traded between different regions.

Storage Containers

In biblical times, wine was stored in clay jars or skins, which were buried in the ground or stored in cool, dark places. The clay jars were coated with a mixture of resin and oil to seal them and prevent air from entering.


Aging was an essential part of the winemaking process in biblical times. The wine was aged in clay jars or skins for several months or years, depending on the quality of the wine. Aging allowed the wine to develop a more complex flavor and aroma.

Irrigation and Fertilization

Irrigation was not common in biblical times, and grapevines were typically watered by rain or dew. Fertilization was also not common, and grapevines were nourished by the natural nutrients present in the soil. However, some vineyards were irrigated using water channels or wells, and some were fertilized using animal manure.

Wine and Society

Religious and Cultural Significance

Wine played an important role in religious and cultural ceremonies in biblical times. In Judaism, wine was used in the Passover Seder and other religious celebrations. In Christianity, wine was used in the Eucharist and was often associated with the blood of Christ. Wine was also used in secular celebrations, such as weddings and festivals.

Trade and Commerce

Wine was a valuable commodity in biblical times and was often traded between different regions. The Phoenicians were known for their expertise in winemaking and were major wine exporters. Wine was also produced in the eastern Mediterranean and was traded throughout the ancient world.

FAQs for How Did They Make Wine in Biblical Times

How was wine made in biblical times?

Wine-making in biblical times was a relatively simple and straightforward process. Grapes were harvested by foot, and crushed by hand or in a stone press to extract the juice. The resulting liquid was then left to ferment in barrels or clay jars over a period of several weeks, during which time carbon dioxide was released and alcohol was produced. Finally, the wine was filtered and then poured into clay or leather skins for storage and transport.

Were there any differences in the wine-making process between different cultures in biblical times?

Despite the lack of modern technology and equipment, there was actually significant variation in the way different cultures produced wine in biblical times. The ancient Egyptians, for example, were known for their use of honey, herbs, and spices to flavor their wines, while the Greeks added pine resin or seawater to help sterilize the wine and improve its flavor. Romans, on the other hand, created wine blends by mixing different grape varieties together.

How important was wine in biblical times?

Wine was an essential part of daily life in biblical times, both as a dietary staple and as an integral part of religious and social rituals. Wine was often consumed at meals, and was also offered as a gift and as part of celebrations such as weddings and festivals. In religious contexts, wine was used as part of sacrifice and offerings to God, and as the main beverage used during the Last Supper.

What types of grapes were used to make wine in biblical times?

The biblical region was home to several different grape varieties, each with their own specific characteristics and uses. Some examples include the white Muscat grape, which was used to make sweet wines, and the red Cabernet grape, which was prized for its deep, bold flavor. Other popular grape varieties in biblical times included the Sultani grape, the Zinfandel grape, and the Nebbiolo grape.

Was wine always used for religious purposes in biblical times?

While wine certainly had important religious significance in biblical times, it was not always the main beverage used as part of religious rituals. For example, during the Passover, the traditional beverage used was actually beer. However, wine was still used in many other religious contexts, particularly during celebrations and offerings to God.

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