By Dave Armstrong (2-19-08)There is no question about it, that the Bible refers to real wine (and sanctions its use in proper moderation). The main reason it was questioned in American society was because of the anti-alcohol temperance movement in the 19th century. That was the time when the Presbyterians and Methodists went to grape juice for the Eucharist. They caved to political and cultural pressure and went against what the Bible taught.
Remember, too, this was a time before refrigeration and water filtration systems, and it was difficult to get drinks that were not contaminated. Having mildly alcoholic beverages took care of that problem.
Here is some helpful information along these lines:
"A Little Whine," J.P. Holding
"Alcohol and the Bible," Daniel Whitfield
"Does the Bible Forbid Drinking any Wine or Alcohol?", Norman F. Rowe
"Wine," Easton's Bible Dictionary
"Wine," Smith's Bible Dictionary
"The Bible and Alcohol," Daniel B. Wallace
"Wine; Wine Press," International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
"Does Scripture Permit Us to Drink Alcoholic Beverages?," Kenneth Gentry
"Alcohol and the Bible," David J. Hanson