Bible Affirming Truth

Drink and Rejoice

This article is about the current thriving proliferation of vineyards and flourishing wine industry in Israel. It is once again an amazing fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies!

We have learned from the Bible that wine drinking has been social habits and life styles of Jew and Gentiles in the Old and New Testament. Vineyards and flourishing vines are a blessing from God and a cherished keepsake in the family. In fact, in many of Jesus’ parables, the vineyard is the backdrop, affirming that it is an integral part of the life in Israel in the days of the New Testament.

But the growth of vines has seen a huge downturn since Israel's demise and from then on the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Muslims, Ottomans and up to the time of British rule, none was able to "settle" this "Land of Milk and Honey". Vineyard productions have been regrettably dismal after the Muslim expansion in the 7th Century A.D. Even up to1848, a Rabbi in Jerusalem founded the first documented winery in modern times but its establishment was only short-lived.

An ancient winepress in Matthew 21:33 preserved, in the foreground of contemporary Buildings: "Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey"

Ancient winepress discoverable in many areas of Israel, many of these are in desolation.

Prophetic verses in the scripture however has continued to remind us about the plans and governance of God:

Isaiah 65:21
"They will build houses and dwell in them; They will plant vineyards and eat their fruit”.

Amos 9: 13-14 (NIV)
"13 The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills,
14 and I will bring my people Israel back from exile.
They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them.
They will plant vineyards and drink their wine;
they will make gardens and eat their fruit”.

Ezekiel 36:36
“Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the Lord have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it”.

Jeremiah 31:5
“You shall yet plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria, the farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit”;

Today, the Israelis are indeed experiencing amazing fulfillment of the prophetic words in the book of Amos, Jeremiah, Isaiah and Ezekiel as quoted above.

During most of the 20th century, kosher wines were Israel’s major wine product, most of which was sweet and low-quality. Since the Israel State was established 70 years ago, the wine industry started gradually to move ahead with a viticutural revolution. In the last 20 years, there was exponential growth of vineyards and wine production all over Israel. Some have also become excellent and world-renowned wineries. Before then there were only scattered vineyards in the coastal regions, including the valleys surrounding the southern Mount Carmel, the Judean plain and Judean foothills. Now the vineyard concentration has moved northward to the Galilee and Golan Heights and eastward to the Judean Hills rising toward Jerusalem, and southwards to the desserts of the Negev.

Today, less than 15% of Israeli wine is produced for sacred purposes. Three largest producers—Carmel Winery, Barkan Wine Cellars and Golan Heights Winery—account for more than 80% of the domestic market. The United States is the largest export destination. The Israeli wine industry produced an average of 60 million bottles of wine annually from around 400 wineries of different sizes in all areas of Israel. Today Israeli wineries receive recognition from the worldwide wine industry as they are highly rated and have won some of the most important wine awards. The wine advocate, Mr, Robert Parker has been rating Israel's wines for more than seven years now, when many Israeli wines received a score of up to 94 points. Quite obviously, Israeli vineyards are also making some of the best, if not the best Kosher wines in the world.

Now a new Israeli generation is putting its wines back on the map. Flourishing vineyards along Israel including the Galilee area, Goland Heights and the Negev Desert! Daily wine tours are in operations. Wines are highly rated in the International market

Large productions of wines from many regions of Israel, including the Negev, through computerised drip-irrigation, to solve the water shortage problem and making use of the loess based soil in the Negev.

Across Israel there is a wide range of microclimates due to differing soil types and topography. Most areas have limestone based soils. The color of the soils range from red terra rosa in Judea and Galilee near Mount Tabor to gray in the mountain ranges stretching from Mount Carmel to Zikhron Ya'akov. The Golan Heights and parts of the Upper and Lower Galilee regions have significant layers of basalt deposits of clay and tuff created by centuries of volcanic activity and lava flows. Wind-blown sediment deposits help create the loess based and alluvial sand soils of the Negev area, which has some agricultural advantage if being made used of...

Loess tends to develop into very rich soils. Under appropriate climatic conditions, it is some of the most agriculturally productive terrain in the world. Loess tends to develop into very rich soils. Soils underlain by loess tend to be excessively drained. The fine grains weather rapidly due to their large surface area, making soils derived from loess rich. One theory states that the fertility of loess soils is due largely to cation exchange capacity (the ability of plants to absorb nutrients from the soil) and porosity (the air-filled space in the soil). [Source: Wikipedia]. Coupled with new computerised Drip irrigation methods, the fast draining Loess soil becomes an advantage for the growth of vines and other fruits. The shortage in water supply is also remedied through large scale water desalination and recycling.

Large Stretches of vineyards since only about 20 years ago.

Very successful and reputable boutique wineries are abundant since the Millennium

Mount Hermon white from the Goland Heights Winery, getting ready for dinner, at home

To me this is really an amazing story. Who could have envisaged this thriving growth of the wine industry that is now in Israel, only after the re-establishment of the State? It just shows how God has worked through his people of Israel to bring them back to their Land and bringing back the Land to His people as he promised. They will "... plant vineyards and drink their wine; make gardens and eat their fruit” [Amos 9:14].
Then, what about fruits? Needless to say, fruit farming and production have similarily seen an amazing and explosive upturn in the last 30 years!
The emphasis in [Amos 9:13] must also not to be missed: "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills”. It will not just be drinking their wine but it will be produced in large amount so that it is dripping and flowing from the mountain.

Drink and Rejoice to His Holy name! For His word will never fail!