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World’s Oldest Wine Cellar Discovered in Israel

Private stash of 500 gallons of wine in massive jugs dates back to 1700 B.C.

Stephanie Butnick
November 26, 2013
(Eric H. Cline/George Washington University)
(Eric H. Cline/George Washington University)

Great news for lovers of wine and Israel: you’re part of a long, lively tradition. The world’s oldest wine cellar was recently discovered in Kabri, Israel, just a few miles from the Mediterranean Sea.

According to NPR, archaeologists from George Washington University have been excavating an ancient Canaanite palace in Karni, now in ruins, for the past eight years, and this oenophile’s paradise is their latest find. The cellar apparently dates back to 1700 B.C., and was at one time filled with 500 gallons of wine. And not your average stuff from the box:

They were infusing their drink with oils and resins from herbs, nuts and wood, says archaeologist Eric Cline of George Washington University. “It was a resinated wine, like the Greek wine retsina.”

We’ll cheers to that.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.