Have you heard of the city of Yavne in Israel? Here, in the Byzantine period, a large and sophisticated complex produced a prestigious light white wine. The wine was exported throughout the Mediterranean. In those days, wine was easy to preserve and was safer to drink than water. Wine was consumed in the way that soft drinks are today, by adults and children alike.
In Israel, all residential and commercial development projects must be preceded by excavation work, and it was during such excavation work that the remains of this impressive winery were initially discovered, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Yavne is the city of Jabneel mentioned in the Hebrew scriptures (Joshua 15:11), in a passage describing the borders of the tribe of Judah.
Interestingly, the Mishnah states that after the destruction of Jerusalem, Jewish leaders relocated to Yavne, with sages studying Torah in a vineyard: https://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/archaeological-sensation-in-yavne-ancient-worlds-largest-complex-of-winepresses-uncovered/2021/10/11/ (paras. 7-10). Those who passed down the Mishnah may have used the image of the vineyard as a metaphor in these passages.
The stunning wine complex is impressive in itself, and also serves a reminder of the indominable spirit of the city of Yavne and of the Jewish people:
Written by Julie Piper