Israeli archaeologists near the southern city of Beersheba recently unearthed a rare early Byzantine wine press that was capable of producing over 8,000 bottles of wine. The press was found in the Ramat Negev settlement just south of Beersheba where development work near the offices of the regional council buildings was being completed. Workers uncovered part of an ancient structure and so work was stopped and the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) were called in to investigate further.
The IAA team soon discovered that the ancient structure was in fact a considerably large wine press dating back to the 4th century AD, the early beginnings of the Byzantine era (which historians say began around 330AD), and one of the earliest wine presses to be discovered in Israel. The large size of the press suggests that it was probably connected to a local Roman army unit and supplied their wine rations. The Negev area was a major agricultural region during the period and was an area held in very high regard throughout the Byzantine Empire because of its wine exports and extensive trade routes in and out of the region. This is only the second wine press of this scale and time period ever discovered in the region.
Source: the drinks business, July 2017