The Significance of Wine

The origin of wine dates back at least 8,000 years to Neolithic times. Fermented grape juice residue has been found in ceramic jars in Shulaveri in present-day Georgia (6000 BCE) and Tepe in the Zargos Mountains of present-day Iran (5400–5000 BCE). Exactly how the wine came to be made is unknown, but it was probably an accident.

Many ancient cultures have at least one mythological reference to wine. Mesopotamia had Siduri, goddess of winemaking. The Greeks had Dionysus, the god of wine and fertility. The Romans called him Bacchus and his dominion became orgiastic hedonism. The Egyptians had Osiris, the Sumerians had Ninkasi and the Hindus had Varuni. And the Bible references the cultivation of wine beginning with Noah planting the first vine between 4000 and 3000 BCE (Genesis 9:20). In the New Testament Jesus turned water to wine and imbued wine with power when he said it represented his blood.

Since wine’s discovery, people have been aware that it is more than just a pleasing beverage. Its medicinal properties have ensured its material value. But we continue to struggle to explain its unique ability to speak to a side of us that has no form. Maybe the Holy Grail is the answer. The various forms of the Holy Grail were all conduits to secrets of life and divine grace, but they usually took the form of a vessel. What if the Holy Grail was actually the wine drunk from it?

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