From Shiraz to Chardonnay, wine has been an essential part of Western Civilizations religious and cultural experience for millennia. In Divine Vintage, wine expert Joel Butler teams up with biblical scholar Randall Heskett for a remarkable journey that explores how wine has significantly influenced the evolution of human society through the lenses of historical fact and the interpretation of Biblical texts about wine. Along the way, they discover the truth behind how wine infiltrated the biblical world and facts that any wine lover, history buff or spiritually inclined person will find intriguing, including:* why Jesus's first miracle was turning water into wine; * why the Fertile Crescent region was the birthplace of wine; * the amazing varieties of wines drunk millennia ago in the biblical lands; * how the expansion of the Roman Empire resulted in the first wine connoisseurs; * how wine gods became extremely popular and important throughout the biblical lands, their influence extending into the Modern Era at sacrifices and other rites.* A pioneering look at the modern wine renaissance in the Biblical landsDivine Vintage also takes a close look at wines made with ancient techniques, and guides readers on how they too can experience ancient wines today.
Butler, a beverage professional, and Heskett, a biblical scholar, jointly examine the connections between oenology and the oldest texts in the Western canon, primarily the Bible, and the results are fascinating but uneven. In the first half, the authors sift evidence from such diverse fields as archeology and meteorology and parse various Greek, Persian, and Sumerian classic texts, particularly Old Testament patriarchs like Noah and Moses and prophets like Elijah and Isaiah. They decode hieroglyphics and biblical scholarship and explore ancient wine culture both medical and magical along with aspects directly related to trade and religion. Shifting now and then to look at how wine and winemaking evolved, the authors chronicle the beverage's role in imperial Rome and during early Christianity. The book's latter half examines the current state of winemaking in those same, ancient and much-beleaguered regions today, providing tasting notes for such exotic bottlings as Turkish Fume Blanc and Jordanian Viognier along with established producers like Lebanon's Chateau Musar before turning to the not-entirely-ironic question: what would Jesus drink? If only some of that humor had more fully mixed into the often dry first half of the book, the results could have been a more lively read. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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November 13, 2012
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