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What Would Jesus Drink? Israel Recreates Ancient Wines

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Israel is on a quest to recreate wine from Biblical times.

Lawrence OP/Flickr

Soon it may be possible to drink like history's holiest oenophile: Israel is on a quest to recreate ancient wines like Jesus himself would have drunk, reports the New York Times. Researchers at Ariel University in the West Bank are using some significantly more high-tech methods than Jesus did, though — rather than turning water into wine, they're using DNA testing and 3-D scanners.

A team led by oenologist Eliyashiv Dror has used the technology on grape seeds recovered from archaeological digs to identify 70 different indigenous grape varieties. They hope to match up the ancient seeds to some of the 120 different grape species found in Israel today — "or someday perhaps to engineer fruit 'Jurassic Park' style," says the Times — in hopes of reproducing wines like those thought to have been consumed in the region 2,000 years ago.

The first wine to be produced as a result of the project is called marawi, a type of white wine that's been traced back to 220 A.D. and was produced in conjunction with a a Palestinian vineyard. (That's right — Jesus apparently didn't only drink red.) Next on the list to be made is dabouki, another white with notes of tropical fruit and cashews that's said to be "a good candidate for what filled the glass of Jesus."

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu would no doubt enjoy some of that ancient-style wine to wash down his dinner with: The politician created quite a scandal earlier this year when it was revealed that he'd spent $24,000 on takeout in one year. For those unable to get their hands on a bottle of the rather rare dabouki, perhaps a nice Israeli chickpea ale would do the trick.

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