Touring the Wine Industry in Israel
The Wine Industry in Israel
After my recent visit to the 2022 Wine Festival of Israel, I've gotten to know many new wineries. One of the highlights for me was more than a few new wineries in the desert. They manage to produce exceptional wines. First, let's go through the basics.
The land of Israel is an ancient winemaking region. But which country counts as the most ancient winemaking region? This is a matter of debate. Some say the first wine production was in Georgia. This was in the 4th millenia BC. There is evidence winemaking in Israel started in biblical times. Wine has great importance in Judaism. There are three blessings for food in Judaism. Wine has its own special one. This centrality found its way to Christianity. Drinking wine is part of the Eucharist.
What can you expect to do on a wine tour?
A wine tour in Israel includes traveling to a wine terroir. There are several vine growing regions in Israel: Galilee, Judean hills, desert height, coastline and the Golan Heights. Each of the regions has its own different climate. Therefore, special grape varieties are grown in each. The goal is to get to know the wine region. For example, in the Judean hills, one can find ancient grape presses. They are 1500 years old. This is proof that Judean winemaking was central in ancient times.
What else will we do on the wine tour?
We will see the region. This is possible from a viewpoint. Alternatively, we can walk through the vineyards. While some vineyards are private and hidden, those who know the industry up close can show you the secret locations of the vines. During the walk, you will hear biblical stories. Famous characters such as King David lived and walked in the heart of this region. The famous battle between David and Goliath took place in the Ella Valley. Many vineyards can be found in the vicinity.
When do we taste wine?
Coming right up. After getting to know the region we will go for wine tasting. This will be accompanied by cheese, bread and olive oil. We will also meet one of the fascinating people who work in the vineyard. We will hear the story behind wine-making. Be sure to eat something before tasting wine. We could also choose to go to a second winery in the region.
Give me an example of the layout of the day.
For example, our chosen day tour will focus on the Judean Hills wine region. I will pick you up in the morning. My van can hold up to 7 people excluding me. The region is between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and the driving time is less than an hour. We will start with a viewpoint of the Ella Valley. I will tell you about biblical stories that took place in the region. Then we will walk around one of the hilltops. In spring there are beautiful flowers everywhere. We will see an ancient wine press. Afterwards, we will drive to an amazing boutique winery. We will have a conversation with one of the workers. Of course, we will also taste some fabulous wine. Bred, olive oil and cheese will accompany the tasting. After this we will decide if to drive to a late lunch. Another option is to visit another winery. Remember each winery has its own special story.
Who would enjoy such a wine tour?
Everyone. You can take your whole family. Children will also enjoy the tour and the atmosphere. A special occasion is always an opportunity for a wine tour. Anniversaries, birthdays, a fun outing with friends, team building for employees, a romantic couples tour and more. Above all, anyone who wants to deepen their knowledge of the wine industry would benefit. After such a day, you’ll be more confident to order wine in a restaurant. Choosing wine at a store for a meal will be easy.
How much does a wine tour cost?
Between $800-$1000 depending on itinerary and wineries.
Can You purchase wine and ship it abroad?
This depends on the winery and customs in your country. Feel free to consult me about this based on the wineries we visit.
Can you state the best wineries in Israel?
This is a difficult question to answer. Perhaps during our tour I will give you my secret favourites. In Israel, there are more than a few wineries that received an international ranking. This means they appear in well known wine magazines. Tzora has been consistently receiving great rankings. Other famous quality wineries include Golan Heights, Barkan, Flam, Margalit, Carmel, and Castel. There are other boutique wineries that produce exceptional wines. It would be my pleasure to suggest them.
How do you book a wine tour?