See also Wine
(1) (~yayin), apparently from a non-Tsere root allied to Greek oinos, Latin vinum, etc. This is the usual word for "wine" and is found 141 times in Massoretic Text.
(2) chemer, perhaps "foaming" (
(4) Two apparently poetic words are `acic (the Revised Version (British and American) "sweet wine,"
(5) For spiced wine three words occur: mecekh,
(6) mamethaqqim, literally, "sweet,"
(7) shekhar (22 times), translated "strong drink" in English Versions of the Bible. Shekhar appears to mean "intoxicating drink" of any sort and in
See DRINK, STRONG.
(8) In the Apocrypha and New Testament "wine" represents oinos, with certain compounds, except in
See also BLOOD; DRINK; FLAGON; FRUIT; HONEY.
2. Wine Press:
(2) In the Apocrypha (Sirach 33:16) and in the New Testament 21:33;
1. The Vintage:
For the care of the vine, its distribution, different varieties, etc., see VINE. The ripening of the grapes took place as early as June in the Jordan valley, but on the coast not until August, while in the hills it was delayed until September. In whatever month, however, the coming of the vintage was the signal for the villagers to leave their homes in a body and to encamp in booths erected in the vineyards, so that the work might be carried on without interruption. See TABERNACLES, FEAST OF. It was the great holiday season of the year and the joy of the vintage was proverbial (
2. Wine Presses:
Many of the ancient wine presses remain to the present day. Ordinarily they consisted of two rectangular or circular excavations, hewn (
Many modifications of this form of the press are found. Where there was no rock close to the surface, the vats were dug in the earth and lined with stonework or cement, covered with pitch. Or the pressvat might be built up out of any material (wood was much used in Egypt), and from it the juice could be conducted into a sunken receptacle or into jars. Not infrequently a third (rarely a fourth) vat might be added between the other two, in which a partial settling and straining could take place. Wooden beams are often used either to finish the pressing or to perform the whole operation, and holes into which the ends of these beams fitted can still be seen. A square of wood attached to the beam bore down on the pile of grapes, while the free end of the beam was heavily weighted. In the simpler presses the final result was obtained by piling stones on the mass that remained after the treaders had finished their work.
It is a general principle of wine-making (compare that "the less the pressure the better the product"; therefore the liquid that flowed at the beginning of the process, especially that produced by the mere weight of the grapes themselves when piled in heaps, was carefully kept separate from that which was obtained only under heavy pressure. A still lower grade was made by adding water to the final refuse the mixture to ferment. Possibly this last concoction is sometimes meant by the word "vinegar" (chomets).
In the climate of Palestine fermentation begins almost immediately, frequently on the same day for juice pressed out in the morning, but never later than the next day. At first a slight foam appears on the surface of the liquid, and from that moment, according to Jewish tradition, it is liable to the wine-tithe (Ma`aseroth 1 7). The action rapidly becomes more violent, and while it is in progress the liquid must be kept in jars or in a vat, for it would burst even the newest and strongest of wine-skins (
At the end of 40 days it was regarded as properly "wine" and could be offered as a drink offering (`Edhuyyoth 6 1). The practice after this point seems to have varied, no doubt depending on the sort of wine that was being made. Certain kinds were left undisturbed to age "on their lees" and were thought to be all the better for so doing, but before they were used it was necessary to strain them very carefully. So
Jars were tightly sealed with caps covered with pitch. The very close sealing needed to preserve sparkling wines, however, was unknown to the Hebrews, and in consequence (and for other reasons) such wines were not used. Hence, in
See also CRAFTS, II, 19.
III. Use of Wine.
1. Mixed Wine:
In Old Testament times wine was drunk undiluted, and wine mixed with water was thought to be ruined (
The wine of the Last Supper, accordingly, may be described in modern terms as a sweet, red, fermented wine, rather highly diluted. As it was no doubt the ordinary wine of commerce, there is no reason to suppose that it was particularly "pure."
On the temporal conditioning of the Biblical customs, the uncompromising opposition of the Bible to excess, and the non-applicability of the ancient attitude to the totally different modern conditions, see DRUNKENNESS.
The figurative uses of wine are very numerous, but are for the most part fairly obvious. Those offering difficulty have been discussed in the course of the article. For wine in its commercial aspect see TRADE.