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Huge 1,500 Year Old Wine Factory Has Been Discovered

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Huge 1,500 Year Old Wine Factory Has Been Discovered

Israeli archaeologists have unearthed a massive ancient winemaking complex dating back 1,500 years.

The complex, discovered in the central town of Yavne, includes five wine presses, warehouses, kilns for producing clay storage vessels and tens of thousands of fragments and jars.

Relics found at the excavation site. Credit: Xinhua/Alamy Stock Photo
Relics found at the excavation site. Credit: Xinhua/Alamy Stock Photo

Israel's Antiquities Authority said the discovery shows that Yavne was a wine-making powerhouse during the Byzantine period.

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Researchers estimate the facility could produce some two million litres (over 520,000 gallons) of wine a year.

To put that into perspective, the UK produces around eight million litres per year... in 2021 alone.

Jon Seligman, one of the directors of the excavation, said the wine made in the area was known as Gaza wine and exported across the region, as per the Daily Mail.

The researchers believe the Yavne location was the main production facility for the label.

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The team behind the discovery, including Mr Seligman, said: "So far, other sites where wine was produced are known from the southern coastal plain.

"But now, we seem to have found the main production centre of this prestigious wine.

"From here, commercial quantities were transported to the ports, and then throughout the Mediterranean basin."

Credit: Xinhua/Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: Xinhua/Alamy Stock Photo
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Mr Seligman explained: "This was a prestige wine, a light white wine, and it was taken to many, many countries around the Mediterranean," including Egypt, Turkey, Greece and possibly southern Italy.

Mr Seligman also said wine was not just an important export and a source of enjoyment in ancient times, but it was actually good for you...

He continued: "Beyond that, this was a major source of nutrition and this was a safe drink because the water was often contaminated, so they could drink wine safely."

The antiquities authority said the complex was uncovered over the past two years during excavations being conducted as part of the development of Yavne, a town located south of Tel Aviv.

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Credit: Xinhua/Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: Xinhua/Alamy Stock Photo

According to reports, grapes would be crushed by barefooted people in a bid to extract the liquid.

That would go into compartments to ferment the wine and next to them there was two octagonal shaped vats which were used to collect the vino.

The team explained: "A calculation of the production capacity of these winepresses shows that approximately two million litres of wine were marketed every year, while we should remember that the whole process was conducted manually."

Featured Image Credit: Xinhua/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Wine, News, world

Rebecca Shepherd
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