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Divine Vintage: Following the Wine Trail from Genesis to the Modern Age Hardcover


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Divine Vintage: Following the Wine Trail from Genesis to the Modern Age + Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World's Most Ancient Pleasures
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (November 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230112439
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230112438
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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 TimesThe 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, Queen’s 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.


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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David on December 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A well-written and important book to read because it is one of the first to describe what wines were drunk in Biblical times, how they were made, what styles were important, and the real social and spiritual significance of wine to the people of this era. Well worth the read.

Chapter one, "The Origins of Wine: How Wine Infiltrated the Biblical World" really shows how wine was discovered because of its intoxicating effect and how the grape was domesticated. Heskett-Butler go to great lengths to describe Noah as the first wine maker and why this biblical portrait is not only important as a metaphor to trace the vine as a hallmark of civilization but they even present how modern archaeology shows that the first wineries were set near where Noah's ark would have landed. Chapter Two "From Mesopotamia to Israel: Abraham, Wine, Salt, and Sex" explains the impact of wine with Abram and Melchizedek. Chapter Three, "Joseph and the Cupbearer" really grounds the book in the biblical covenant and Yahweh's promise. Chapter Four, "Wine Under Siege: Biblical Wars on Wine" shows just how important wine was to ancient Israel that people would fight over it, while Chapter Five, "How the West Was Wined", describes the development of wine in the Bible. In Chapter Six, "The Roman Wine Empire and the New Testament," some theological bearing on Christian theology and the Eucharist is presented, even though this is not Heskett-Butler's main purpose in this text. In chapters Seven-Eleven, Heskett-Butler provide a unique and inclusive examination of the modern wines from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, and Greece, beautifully depicting stories and the wines, such that the reader is taken into those venues with a glass of wine in his/her hand. Finally, in Chapter Twelve, Heskett-Butler respectfully describe what kinds of wines Jesus would drink.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robin Garr on December 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not a religious book but a cultural examination of how wine has figured in history and how bible stories from Noah's vineyard to Jesus' changing water into wine reflected the evolution of human understanding of wine and spirituality.

The first six chapters examine wine as presented in bible verses and other ancient texts in the context of modern understanding of climate, wine making, history and archaeology. The second half of the book turns to the authors' wine travels through the countries described in the Bible and other texts of the Ancient Near East: Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey and Greece, discovering what the wines of those regions are like today and estimating what the wines of ancient times might have been like.

It's a fascinating book for any wine lover, history buff or spiritually inclined person, and you don't have to be a seminarian or church-goer to enjoy it. It's highly accessible and of interest to anyone who seeks a literate romp through the history of ancient wine.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Taylor on January 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
If it weren't for its unique vision, this book would be a real disappointment.

This book caught my eye because I'd been struck by the idea of wines made in the Cradle of Civilization ever since I'd heard that the shiraz grape is said to come from Shiraz, Iran (a myth, by the way, according to the authors). The idea appeals to both the novice historian and the wine drinker in me because such wines seem so, shall I say, authentic, and I'd hoped to learn more about them.

But the text is dry and disjointed, providing little in the way of narrative structure. It's not organized chronologically, but rather regionally which makes it hard to follow some of the discussion about the origins of winemaking (a timeline would have helped).

Also, the book appears to have been rushed into production. I found several typos, and some passages are repetitious, almost to the word--something I would think the editor should have caught. For instance, they define "terra rossa" several times, as if the reader wouldn't understand the first time.

In addition, some terms that I've never heard before (such as "raisin wine," "Pramnian wine," and "terebinth tree"), the authors never define or do so only late in the book. Other terms that would be obvious to any casual historian or wine drinker, the authors insist on defining them, sometimes more than once. A glossary would have helped.

There are some factual errors and omissions. Never, for example, do they mention that winemaking techniques may have been developed as a means to preserve the harvest for future consumption. In a time with no refrigeration, letting the fruit ferment would have been a way to prevent spoilage. [See my correction regarding hyenas in the comments below.
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By Chuck Munk on May 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book was exactly what I was looking for. The condition was what was described on the listing. shipping was speedy. I was very satisfied.
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