Lina Chesak

A sailor’s paradise. Fine wines probably accounted for a good part of Ashkelon’s international allure, along with products from the interior, such as olive oil. Three rooms in one large building contained wine presses consisting of carefully constructed platforms, vats and basins. Built of cobblestones, the presses were coated with an impermeable layer of fine shell-tempered plaster. At the highest level rested the platform where grapes were pressed by foot; the juice then flowed into a channel leading to settling vats, from which it flowed into other channels emptying into larger basins. From the basins, the juice was collected in jars, fermented and sold.