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Israeli-Palestinian partnership makes wine from era of King David

Published:  29 October, 2015

Israeli scientists have recreated wines from what they believe are Biblical era grapes.

Israeli scientists have recreated wines from what they believe are Biblical era grapes.

A team from Ariel University on the West Bank led by Dr Elyashiv Drori has been searching since 2011 for varietals indigenous to Israel.

Drori has identified some 120 varietals, of which perhaps 20 might be suitable for wine making.

The challenge for Drori's team was to match seeds from varietals growing now in Israel with those found from archaeological sites dating back to the time of King David.

Drori has partnered with the Israeli Recanati Winery and a Palestinian vineyard to produce a white wine from one such varietal, Marawi.

The Marawi grapes used in the wine had been grown to be eaten, rather than for viniculture.

"We received a variety that we weren't familiar with and don't necessarily know how to work with," Racanati vintner Gil Shatsberg told Israeli newspaper, Haaretz.

Shatsberg was able to produce just under 2,500 bottles.

The wine was presented to the world at the Milan International Expo.

Drori ia the agriculture and oenology research coordinator at the university's Samaria and Jordan Rift Center. He also owns the Gvaot winery.

The Recanati winery was founded in 2000 in the Hefer valley.

It usually uses Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Colombard or Riesling for its white wines.

Most Israeli wineries produce grapes based on varietals indigenous to Europe.

"It's not interesting to make Chardonnay in Israel because there's Chardonnay that comes from California," Drori said last year.

"But if you can make wine in Israel that isn't elsewhere and that connects to the history here, that's much more interesting."

Recanati Marawi 2014 retails at around £22.