In the book of Deuteronomy, the fruit of the vine was listed as one of the Seven Sacred Species found in the land of Israel (Deut. 8:8). Genesis (9:20-21) marks the first reference to wine in Judaism and the Torah. "Noah planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent." "Oh, when I was a kid in show business I was poor. I used to go to orgies to eat the grapes." - Rodney Dangerfield. Scholars suggest the story of the Marriage at Cana in which Jesus turns water into wine was intended to show JesusŐ superiority to the Greek god of wine Dionysus. Harry Houdini performed a trick in which he would hold a glass of water, turn it to wine, and then pull from it a succession of silk scarves and finally an eagle. Ahh Diogenes the Cynic: 1. The vine bears three kinds of grapes: the first of pleasure, the second of intoxication, the third of disgust. 2. What I like to drink most is wine that belongs to others. Sammy Davis Jr.'s commercials for Manischewitz Cream White Concord in the 1960's helped push kosher wine sales to 3.2 million cases, In the spot, he declares "Man-oh-Manischewitz." More Bounty of the Land of Milk and Honey: "When they arrived at the Eshcol Valley they cut off a branch with a single cluster of grapes - it took two men to carry it - slung on a pole. They also picked some pomegranates and figs." (Numbers 13:24) The Israel Ministry of Tourism uses this image as its logo. The oldest known wine in the world has been found in Jiahu in Central China's Henan Province. It was found amongst Neolithic relics and is approximately 9000 years old. The greatest height from which a grape has been dropped from a moving aircraft (in this case a balloon) and caught in the mouth is 9.15 m (30 ft) by Brits Peter Tilney (dropper) and Tony Gough (catcher). "No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig." - Epictetus. "The Sun, with all the planets revolving around it, and depending on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as though it had nothing else in the Universe to do." - Galileo Galilei. Elizabeth Barrett Browning: "What I do and what I dream include thee, as the wine must taste of its own grapes." After evaluating over 22,000 seedlings, Ephraim Wales Bull decided on the perfect variety for the Concord grape in 1849 in Concord, MA. The original vine still grows at his former home. A supporter of the Temperance movement, Dr. Thomas Bramwell Welch pasteurized Concord grape juice in 1869, originally introduced as a non-alcoholic substitution for communion at his church in Vineland, NJ (coincidentally the future home town to a Manischewitz processing plant for Jewish delights such as borscht and gefilte fish). The current worldwide production of grapes is more than 72 million tons. Approximately 25 million acres of grapes are planted across the world. There are more than 60 known species and 8000 varieties of grapes. The average person eats eight pounds of grapes a year. In 1978, over 900 followers of Jim Jones' Peoples Temple committed suicide, drinking cyanide-laced Grape Flavor Kool Aid. "Sour grapes" comes from Aesop's fable, "The Fox and The Grapes" in which the embittered fox, unable to acquire a bunch of grapes up high, proclaims they must be sour anyway. "Man being reasonable must get drunk; The best of life is but intoxication; Glory, the grape, love, gold - in these are sunk - The hopes of all men and of every nation." - Lord Byron
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