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Archaeologists uncover massive, 1,500-year-old winemaking complex in Israel

Israeli archeologists on Monday announced the discovery of a Byzantine-era winemaking complex that they believe could produce about 2 million liters (520,000 gallons) of a sweet white wine that was exported to Europe, Egypt, and Turkey. The archaeological dig in Yavne, a town south of Tel Aviv, was uncovered over the past two years and gives a greater insight into how wine was made 1,500 years ago. 

"This was a prestige wine, a light white wine, and it was taken to many, many countries around the Mediterranean," said Jon Seligman, one of the directors of the excavation. The local vintage, known as "Gaza" wine, was consumed by kids as well as adults, for health and pleasure, he added. "This was a major source of nutrition and this was a safe drink because the water was often contaminated, so they could drink wine safely."

Along with five wine presses, grape storage and stomping areas, and warehouses, the site contained thousands of fragments of clay jars and kilns to bake them.