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Critics rave about the 2005 vintage in the Rhône Valley and the 2010 vintage in Chablis, but how about that 1700 BCE vintage in the wine region of Canaan? The New York Times reported a few weeks ago that the world’s oldest wine cellar had been discovered at the Tel Kabri site in northern Israel. AmphoraThe findings were on a  palatial scale, as archaeologists unearthed around forty large amphoras that had traces of acid associated specifically with wine–the equivalent of 3000 bottles of red and white wine! This is the largest and oldest cellar found to date, and it may not have been the only cellar in this Canaanite palace.

But perhaps more impressive is that this ancient culture seems to have had a taste for an early form of glühwein (pronounced GLOO-vine): wine mixed with flavorings such as honey, cinnamon bark, mint and juniper berries (maybe that vintage wasn’t actually very good!). Sadly the building and presumably its inhabitants were destroyed by ‘some violent event’ but glühwein certainly lived on, although it is now more commonly associated with the Austrians and Germans — especially around the holidays. You can still make it today by following this simple recipe, and when you do, raise a glass for those ancients!