Synopses & Reviews
From Shiraz to Chardonnay, wine has been an essential part of Western Civilizations religious and cultural experience for millennia. In Divine Vintage, wine expert Joel Butler teams up with biblical scholar Randall Heskett for a remarkable journey that explores how wine has significantly influenced the evolution of human society through the lenses of historical fact and the interpretation of Biblical texts about wine. Along the way, they discover the truth behind how wine infiltrated the biblical world and facts that any wine lover, history buff or spiritually inclined person will find intriguing, including:
* why Jesus's first miracle was turning water into wine;
* why the Fertile Crescent region was the birthplace of wine;
* the amazing varieties of wines drunk millennia ago in the biblical lands;
* how the expansion of the Roman Empire resulted in the first wine connoisseurs;
* how wine gods became extremely popular and important throughout the biblical lands, their influence extending into the Modern Era at sacrifices and other rites.
* A pioneering look at the modern wine renaissance in the Biblical lands
Divine Vintage also takes a close look at wines made with ancient techniques, and guides readers on how they too can experience “ancient wines” today.
"Butler, a beverage professional, and Heskett, a biblical scholar, jointly examine the connections between oenology and the oldest texts in the Western canon, primarily the Bible, and the results are fascinating but uneven. In the first half, the authors sift evidence from such diverse fields as archeology and meteorology and parse various Greek, Persian, and Sumerian classic texts, particularly Old Testament patriarchs like Noah and Moses and prophets like Elijah and Isaiah. They decode hieroglyphics and biblical scholarship and explore ancient wine culture both medical and magical along with aspects directly related to trade and religion. Shifting now and then to look at how wine and winemaking evolved, the authors chronicle the beverage's role in imperial Rome and during early Christianity. The book's latter half examines the current state of winemaking in those same, ancient and much-beleaguered regions today, providing tasting notes for such exotic bottlings as Turkish FumÃ© Blanc and Jordanian Viognier along with established producers like Lebanon's Chateau Musar before turning to the not-entirely-ironic question: what would Jesus drink? If only some of that humor had more fully mixed into the often dry first half of the book, the results could have been a more lively read." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Comes alive detailing the wine regions of Turkey, Jordan, Israel. It's a fine reminder that wine has endured in [the Middle East].”—The San Francisco Chronicle
“The interplay of wine with the rise of civilization and humankinds evolving spiritual life is fascinating.”—The Toronto Star
“A wonderfully researched book.”—The San Francisco Chronicle
"Titillating... Surprises for wine lovers."--The Washington Post
“[The authors] meld history with exegesis to trace the origins of wine [and] skillfully enliven daily life in the distant past, whether detailing amphoras or wine gods—a worthy complement to literature on agriculture in antiquity.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Fascinating…[The authors] decode hieroglyphics and biblical scholarship and explore ancient wine culture both medical and magical along with aspects directly related to trade and religion…The books latter half examines the current state of winemaking in those same, ancient and much-beleaguered regions today, providing tasting notes for such exotic bottlings as Turkish Fumé Blanc and Jordanian Viognier along with established producers like Lebanons Chateau Musar before turning to the not-entirely-ironic question: what would Jesus drink?”—Publishers Weekly
"This might well be the best new wine book of the year. It is not about the 'New World' or 'Old World' but the 'Ancient World'. It delves into the area where wine culture was born and examines the recent quality revival in the historic but newly dynamic wine region of the Eastern Mediterranean. Thoroughly recommended."--Adam Montefiore, contributor to The Jerusalem Post and Wine Development Director for Carmel Winery
"If the Bible is the greatest story ever told, then Divine Vintage may be the greatest wine story ever told. It's absolutely brimful of incredible stories and biblical connections."—Doug Frost, master sommelier, master of wine, and author of On Wine
"Have you ever wondered why wine is so central to our western religions and culture? Why Noah is portrayed as the ‘first vigneron? Why Jesus first miracle was to convert water into a fine wine? Beyond delving into the literary and archaeological record, this book entices us to re-examine our heritage with a modern liquid time-capsule in hand. These are wines still made from ancient cultivars according to ancient methods in the countries where viniculture began."--Patrick McGovern, author of Ancient Wine and Uncorking the Past
“Butler and Heskett have not only provided solid scholarship in this fresh approach to the Bible, but they exhibit a level of a wine knowledge far surpassing that of biblical experts. Divine Vintage illuminates the social and spiritual roles of one of the worlds oldest beverages in a way that will captivate both scholars and laypersons.”--Peter Enns, author of The Evolution of Adam and Inspiration and Incarnation
“Divine Vintage is a one-of-a-kind wine book. It offers not only a fascinating account of wines origins but also a truly authoritative guide to todays wines that are made in the ancient lands where wine was born.”--Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW, co-author of Wine for Dummies
“Randall Heskett and Joel Butler give a new flavor to reading the Bible, as well as intriguing commentary on the role of wine in social, economic, family, and spiritual life. Full to the brim with fascinating details that will captivate even the most educated oenophile, and all made spicy with wit and fun. Questions like “which wines would Jesus drink?” keep this book from ever becoming dry.”--L. Ann Jervis, professor of New Testament, Wycliffe College
From Shiraz to Chardonnay, wine has been an essential part of the Jewish and Christian religious experience for millennia. These early traditions continue to influence today's robust wine connoisseurs offering a fascinating history and an assortment of varieties to discover. Here, wine expert Joel Butler teams up with biblical historian Randall Heskett for a remarkable adventure that explores the drinking habits of biblical figures 3,500 to 2,000 years ago. Along the way, they discover the truth behind how wine infiltrated the biblical world and astounding facts that any wine lover can take to their next tasting, including:* why the Fertile Crescent was the birthplace of wine* how the expansion of the Roman Empire resulted in the first wine connoisseurs* the myths of the Phoenician, Greek, Roman, and Jewish wine gods* how wine came to be used in sacrifices and other rites* why Jesus's first miracle was turning water into wineDivine Vintage also takes a close look at wines made with ancient techniques, and guides readers on how they too can experience these ancient wines today.
Winner of the Gourmand Wine Books prize for 'Best Drinks Writing Book' in the UK
A fascinating journey through ancient wine country that reveals the drinking habits of early Christians, from Abraham to Jesus.
Wine connoisseur Joel Butler teamed up with biblical historian Randall Heskett for a remarkable adventure that travels the biblical wine trail in order to understand what kinds of wines people were drinking 2,000 to 3,500 years ago. Along the way, they discover the origins of wine, unpack the myth of Shiraz, and learn the secrets of how wine infiltrated the biblical world. This fascinating narrative is full of astounding facts that any wine lover can take to their next tasting, including the myths of the Phoenician, Greek, Roman, and Jewish wine gods, the emergence of kosher wine, as well as the use of wine in sacrifices and other rites. It will also take a close a look at contemporary modern wines made with ancient techniques, and guide the reader to experience the wines Noah (the first wine maker!) Abraham, Moses and Jesus drank.
About the Author
Joel Butler is one of the first two resident Masters of Wine (MW)® in the North America. He holds degrees in history from Stanford University and the University of Colorado, and is currently the president of the Institute of Masters of Wine, North America, Ltd. Butler has been a highly regarded wine judge for decades, most recently as a Senior Judge at the International Wine Challenge, and Decanter World Wine Awards in London. Butler has written on wine for International Wine Cellar, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The I-Wine Review and numerous other wine publications. He is an award-winning home winemaker and wine educator to trade and consumers, and has been a wine buyer for restaurants, retail, and distribution Butler lives in Seattle, Washington, where he is the co-owner of WineKnow LLC.
Dr. Randall Heskett is a biblical scholar with advance degrees in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible from Yale University and the University of Toronto. He has taught at the University of Toronto, Queens University, and Denver Seminary, among others. His great interest in wine also has led him to work in retail wine stores and as a wine importer. He has written several books and articles, his most recent being Reading the Book of Isaiah: Destruction and Lament in the Holy Cities. Dr. Heskett is President of Boulder University and lives outside of Boulder, Colorado.