However, what isn't mentioned is the fact that what the ancients called "wine" was actually wine mixed with a large amount of water. Therefore, to say that Jesus in John 2 turned water into wine is not the same thing as saying that Jesus turned water into something like Pinot Grigio. Consider:
"We call a mixture 'wine' although the larger part of the component parts is water"(Plutarch, Advice to Bride and Groom 20 in Moralia 140f).
The literature of the ancient world is filled with specific examples of mixing many parts water with a few parts wine. For example, in the Odyssey, Homer mentions a ratio of 20 parts water to 1 part wine (see 9.208f). Pliny the Elder speaks of an 8 to 1 mixture (Natural History, 14.6.54). Most writers have it a little stronger, but still very diluted. For example, in The Nurse, Athanaeus of Naucratis has the following conversation:
"A: Look, here is wine. Shall I pour a Triton [three parts water to one part wine]?
B. No, it's much better as one and four.
A. Too watery, that! However, drink it up and tell me the news; let's have some conversation while we drink" (see Deipnosophists 10.426c).
Because "wine" really meant "wine mixed with water," if a writer wanted to refer to undiluted wine, he was required to use some such adjective. For example:
"If the headache only came to us before we drink to intoxication, no one would ever indulge himself in wine immoderately. But as it is, foreseeing not that punishment for drunkenness will come, we readily give ourselves over to drinking unmixed cups" (Alexis, The Phrygian, in Deipnosophists, 10.429e, emphasis mine).
As in the previous quote, many writers warned against drinking unmixed wine:
"In daily intercourse, to those who drink it moderately, it gives good cheer; but if you overstep the bounds, it brings violence. Mix it half and half, and you get madness; unmixed, bodily collapse" (Athenaeus quoting Mnesitheus of Athens in Deipnosophists 2. 36a,b).
Quotes like these from the ancient world can be multiplied many times over. I cite these ones only to show that what we call wine and what the ancients called wine are two different things.
No, I'm not prepared to make the argument that the Bible demands total abstinence. What I am saying is that it is a category mistake for modern-day Christians to cite the biblical references to wine and then compare them to the products of Reunite and Beringer. The fact is, the average person in the New Testament era considered the drinking of unmixed wine a barbaric practice. That, I think, should give us caution.
For Further Reading:
Ferguson, Everett. "Wine as a Table-Drink in the Ancient World," in Restoration Quarterly 13 (Third Quarter 1970): pages 141-153. Like all of what Ferguson writes, this is a fine piece of work. The quotations in my post here are taken from this scholarly article.
Stein, Robert H. "Wine-Drinking in New Testament Times," in Christianity Today 19 (June 20, 1975): pages 9-11. Stein is another first-rate scholar. His article is written at the popular level, shorter and easier to get through than the one by Ferguson.