Jesus and the Apostles at the Marriage Feast at Cana. Jesus announces ‘I’ll turn this water into wine.’ Peter pipes up: ‘No, you won’t. You’ll buy your round like the rest of us.’
Just a wee joke as old as the Bible to illustrate that wine dates back to The Chosen People themselves.
And to ask where is the Israeli wine on our supermarket shelves?
Thankfully my Israeli friends sent me a bottle of the golden nectar to celebrate Shavuot with them.
Cheese and wine party
Shavuot marks the wheat festival in the Land of Israel.
And the commemoration of the anniversary of God’s giving of the Torah to the Children of Israel on Mount Sinai in 1312 BCE.
So how do Jews celebrate this, the Feast of Weeks?
Well with dairy and the fermented juice of the grape, making it one of the oldest cheese and wine parties in history.
This, and more, we learned from our Israel hosts who warmed us all up on a cold mid-May morning.
Land of Milk and Honey they say.
Well each varietal of this elegant First Page 2017 wine from Givat Yeshayahu in the Judean Hills is separately fermented for seven months before blending.
Then 50% is aged in French oak and 50% in stainless steel producing a perfectly balanced and aromatic wine with hints of citrus and green apple.
The blend is 50% Pinot Gris, 40% Riesling and 10% Semillion.
And that bit about the Land of Milk and Honey… well, Israel is also the soil of Terra Rossa, clay and limestone.
No wonder the wedding guests turned to Jesus when they ran ou of this.
Kibbutz for hippies
The winemakers at Sphera focus solely on white wines.
Now for many an old hippy, like me, Israel and its communal kibbutzes truly represented a Promised Land.
And an Israeli tour guide from Kibbutz Ein-Carmel on our conference call and tour gave us an insight into the best of Israel.
And showed us how to dance a Hora.
Israel is Promised Land I have still to set foot on although I have viewed it from 100ft away on the other side of the River Jordan.
And from atop Mt Nebo where Moses looked out onto the Land of Milk and Honey only for God to deny him access.
Worth the wait
It famously took the Chosen People 40 years to reach The Promised Land following their release from Egypt.
And centuries longer after the various Falls of Jerusalem.
These are challenging times for an Israel which has in so many ways shown the way to the world in Covid vaccinations.
And where Travel routes have just been restored from England.
Promise us a miracle
So in this Feast of Weeks, we lift our glasses and toast each other, all of us and the power of miracles.
Water into wine Israeli delicious.
Now back to my First Page 2017 although I will be back to tell you more about Ancient wine.
And give a nod to my old friend from Colorado whose a specialist in ancient food and wine.