Vineyards and their produce were of great economic, social, and religious importance in Palestine. When the Israelites after the Settlement in Canaan began to cultivate them, it signalled their intention to stay, for the vine needs long-term and intensive care. The climate was favourable; the hilly terrain suitable—more so than for cereals. Vineyards needed protection from thieves and booths were erected at the time of harvest (Isa. 1: 8). Isaiah also describes (Isa. 5: 1–7) the different stages required to secure a successful harvest.
Wine was used for barter (2 Chron. 2: 10) as well as for feasts (Dan. 1: 5, 8, 16) and in worship (Jer. 51: 7; Isa. 28: 7–8; cf. Acts 2: 13). Early Christian leaders were advised to be temperate (1 Tim. 3: 3, 8), though not to be total abstainers, like the OT Rechabites (Jer. 35: 7–9). Wine was drunk at the Passover festival, and Jesus blessed it at the Lord's Supper (Mark 14: 23, 25) and the rite became universal in the Church (1 Cor. 11: 25). The vine is used as a symbol of Jesus by the gospel of John (15: 1) and Christians are its branches.