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Kefraya Information

With wine making tradition dating back 5,000 years the Phoenicians, the ancient dwellers of Lebanon, were tending vineyards, making wine and trading with other major cities long before the Greeks and Romans. And it was here that later Jesus changed water into wine, performing his first miracle at the wedding of Cana.

The term wine, or Cherem in Phoenician, is derived from a Phoenician word referring specifically to the fermentation of grapes. Wines were a specialty of the Phoenicians and their ancient Ugaritic poetry and epics mentioned wine with ringing praise. The Rapiuma and others were specific in identifying the choice wine of Lebanon as being one nurtured by their god El and fit for gods and kings. They must have learned about wine from earlier civilizations; however, they perfected viticulture and oenology so that Phoenician wines became prized commodities of the ancient world and a major source of revenue in their exports.

The Phoenician Canaanites were avid wine drinkers. The Bible mentions that the Phoenician Canaanite Melchizedek, King of Salem (King of Jerusalem) and Priest of the Most High God (El Elion), offered bread and wine to Abraham and Ezekiel refers to the wine of Helbon as a unique commodity. Some believe that the village of Qana (Cana) where Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding feast was a town near Tyre, Phoenicia and not elsewhere. Also, wine was central to the Passover observance among the Jews and continues to be so. It was served for the Passover of the Last Supper betwixt Jesus and his disciples and continues to be central to Christian Eucharistic liturgy of the Mass.

Some of the icons of Phoenician philosophy, Zeno of Citium and Chrysippus of Soli, Phoenician co-founder of the Stoic School of Philosophy were "serious" wine drinkers. The former's main enjoyment was sitting in the sun, eating figs and drinking wine while the latter is said to have died as a result of drinking too much over proof wine.

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