The Israel Antiquities Authority said the find shows that the central city of Yavne was a wine powerhouse during the Byzantine period.
Israeli archaeologists say they have unearthed a huge ancient wine complex dating back around 1,500 years.
The complex, discovered in the central town of Yavne, includes five wine presses, warehouses, kilns for the production of clay storage vessels and tens of thousands of fragments and jars, they said.
The Israel Antiquities Authority said the find shows Yavne was a wine powerhouse during the Byzantine period. Researchers estimate that the facility could produce about two million liters (520,000 gallons) of wine per year.
Jon Seligman, one of the excavation directors, said the wine produced in the region was known as “Gaza” wine and exported throughout the region. Researchers believe Yavne’s location was the label’s primary production facility.
“It was a prestigious wine, a light white wine, and it was taken to many countries around the Mediterranean,” he said, especially in Egypt, Turkey, Greece and perhaps in the southern Italy.
Seligman said wine was not only an important export and a source of pleasure in ancient times. “Beyond that, it was a major source of nutrition and it was a safe drink as the water was often contaminated, so they could drink wine safely,” he said.
The Antiquities Authority said the complex was discovered in the past two years during excavations carried out as part of the development of Yavne, a city south of Tel Aviv.