The word "wine" is referenced 212 times in the Old Testament. A survey of these usages done indicates that 92% of those references are "negative" in context. This doesn't even consider the use of the words "strong drink."
There are three classifications of people in the Bible and specific instructions given to them regarding the usage of intoxicating beverages. First, you have the religious leaders, who were told to abstain (Numbers 6:1-3; Luke 1:15). Second, you have the secular authorities, who were told to abstain (Proverbs 31:4). Third, you have bishops (pastors) in the New Testament who were "not given to wine" (1 Timothy 3:3). This would indicate that the more authority you had or the closer you got to God, the further you would get from alcoholic beverages.
To understand alcoholic beverages in the Bible look at Proverbs chapter 23. Starting in verse 21 and through the end of the chapter you can find what I call the "Woes of Alcohol" including: poverty, woe, babbling, contentions, sorrow, wounds, redness of eyes, spouse problems, mouth control problems, judgment problems and addiction problems. Find and underline them in your own Bible. It's a good reference list and also sends us a message as to what God thinks of the use of intoxicating beverages.
It would appear that the guiding principle for everyone would be "the closer you want to get to God, the further you will get from alcohol." That puts the decision squarely in your court. But, then the Holy Spirit is a much better remedy for carnality than "legalism." How "filled with the Holy Spirit do you want to be?"
In John 2:9, Jesus turns water into wine at the marriage feast. Considering all the above cautions and prohibitions regarding intoxicating beverages, it would seem impossible (the one thing that God cannot do is violate His very character) for Him to make an intoxicating beverage and offer it to others.
In regards to producing the pure stuff, it's just a matter of boiling (just one of a few methods) then sealing.
|Platutus, BC 200||Even mustum signified both wine and sweet wine.|
|Aristotle||Said of sweet wine, that it would not intoxicate.|
|Homer, in the Odyssey||Ulysses took in his boat "goat-skin of sweet black wine, a divine drink, which Marion, the priest of Apollo, had given him - it was sweet honey - it was imperishable, or would keep forever; that when it was drunk, it was diluted with twenty parts water, and that from it a sweet and divine odour exhaled."|
|Hippocrates||"Sweet kinds of wines do not make the head heavy."|
|Polybius||"Among the Romans the women were allowed to drink wine which...very much resembled sweet wine, and which men use for the purpose of allaying excessive thirst."|
|Dr. Ure, Dictionary of Arts||"Juice when newly expressed, and before it has begun to ferment, is called 'must', and in common language 'new wine'."|
|Littleton, Latin Dictionary (1678)||"Must, new wine, close shut up and not permitted to work."|
|Chamber's Cyclopedia 6th edition (1750)||"Sweet wine is that which has not yet fermented."|
|Charles Anthon, LL.D., Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, article Vinum||"The sweet unfermented juice of the grape was termed gleukos."|
|Mandelso, (c. 1640), speaking of palm wine||"To get out the juice, they go to the top of the tree, where they make an incision in the bark, and fasten it under an earthen pot, which they leave there all night, in which time it is filled with a certain sweet liquor very pleasant to the taste. They get out some also in the daytime, but that (owing to the great heat) corrupts immediately; it is good only for vinegar."|
|Augustine Calmet, Dictionary of the Bible, (born 1672)||"The ancients possessed the secret of preserving wines sweet throughout the whole year."|
|Parkinson, Theatrum Botanicum||"The juice or liquor pressed out of the ripe grapes is called vinum (wine)."|
|Captain Treat, in 1845, Dr. Lee's Works||"When on the south coast of Italy last Christmas, I enquired particularly about the wines in common use, and found that those esteemed the best were sweet and unintoxicating...The Calabrians keeps their intoxicating and unintoxicating wines in separate apartments...I found that the unfermented wines were esteemed the most. Great pains were taken in the vintage season to have a good stock of it laid by."|
|Pliny, when speaking of a wine called Aigleuces that is always sweet||"That wine is produced by care. They plunge the casks, immediately after they are filled from the vat, into the water, until winter is passed away and the wine has acquired the habit of being cold." Being kept below 450F, the gluten settled to the bottom, thus fermentation was prevented."|
People of Excellence Vol. 7/1 o NOV. '98.