Ultimate Guide To Israeli Wine

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Disclosure: I partnered with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism on this article and they kindly provided dinner and wine for the review.  I am a professional travel and food site that receives compensation from the companies whose products I review.  Affiliates above support this site at no cost to you.  

Israeli wine is extremely rich in history dating back thousands of years. There are numerous biblical references to local vineyards, grapes being transformed into wine but when Muslims ruled Israel they banned wine because they believed consuming wine and alcohol was a sin.

In the mid-’70s professor Cornelius Oh arrives in Israel and recommends the Golan Heights and the Galilee regions as a quality wine growing area and Golan Heights winery planted their first vineyards.   The vineyard started producing cabernet sauvignon, merlot, sauvignon blanc, and Chardonnay.

Whether you’ve never set foot in the Holy Land once you get a taste of the Israeli wines you will be completely blown away by the aromas, taste, and the love put into each bottle.

Israeli WIne

Israeli wine is produced by hundreds of wineries, ranging in size from small boutique wineries to large companies producing millions of  bottles per year.Is

Israel has perfected the art of winemaking and now competes with some of the best winemaking countries in the world including South Africa, Italy, and Spain. T

I was invited to an Israeli Wine Tasting hosted by Israel Ministry of Tourism in Nashville at the amazing City Winery.  Although you can find excellent wines easily all over Israel, the best way to get a real taste is to visit the country itself and take a tour of a winery which is definitely on my bucket list.

Regions of Israeli Wine

The Shomron and Samson areas are the most well-known wine regions of Israel.  Both of these regions are where the majority of vineyards were originally planted and they are the basis of Israeli wine.  New vineyards were planted in the cooler areas of the Golan Heights, Upper Galilee, Judean Foothills and Judean Hills.

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Galilee – The Galilee, Galil in Hebrew is located in northern Israel which is comprised of Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights. These are high altitude, cooler climate vineyards planted comparatively recently.

Wineries in this region include:

The area of vineyards in the Lower Galilee is situated near Mount Tabor.  Tabor Winery is the main winery of this area.

The Golan Heights is divided into three regions: The southern Golan, The middle Golan, and The Upper Golan. In the late 1990s, this area became one of the major wine growing regions.

Wineries in this region include:

Shomron – Shomron is Israel’s most traditional wine-growing region first planted by Baron Edmond de Rothschild in the 1880s.

Wineries in this region include:

Samson – Samson is not a geographical place, but the wine region is named after the Biblical figure Samson.

Wineries in this region include:

The second part of the region is the Judean Foothills, which is the fastest growing region in terms of newly planted vineyards and new start-up wineries.

Wineries in this area include:

Judean Hills – The Judean Hills one of the underdeveloped wine regions ranging from the mountains north of Jerusalem, through Gush Etzion to Yatir Forest, south of Hebron.

Wineries in this area include:

Negev – The Negev is the desert region that makes up half the country. Vineyards have been planted in the higher areas in the northeast at Ramat Arad, a semi-arid area.

Wineries in this area include:

I was so disappointed that I had dismissed Israeli wines and had only been interested in wines from South Africa and California.

If you are not able to hop on a plane and fly across the country go to the Israeli Ministry of Tourism and find if they are holding a wine tasting near you or simply go to your local spirit store and ask them if they carry wines from Israel.

Israeli Wine

Exploring Wines From Different Regions

A wine tasting is only as great as the sommelier hosting the event and we were lucky enough to have Roni Saslove renowned winemaker and founder of Tel Aviv’s “The Tasting Room,” and she was recently featured at “Israel’s Pioneering Female Winemaker”  on CNN.com.

Israeli Wine

Wines available at the tasting included were the following: I

Israeli Wine

Top Israeli Wines From The Tasting

The Kishor Winery which is located in Kibbutz Kishorit was one of my favorites because of the deep purple color and the prominent nose of red fruit and spices.   The grapes at Kishor winery are all harvested by hand and must be fermented separately in stainless steel vats.

The Margalit Winery is family owned winery founded in 1989.  The owners and winemakers of Margalit Winery specialize in Bordeaux varieties such as (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet-Franc) which are all of the red wines I love! I

Now, that Israel is beginning to embrace wine the industry has swelled from a mere seven to more than 300 wineries. Make sure you add not only the Israeli wine to your bucket list but think about experiencing this beautiful country first hand and G Adventures offers great experiences in Israel.

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Have you tasted wines from Israel?  I would love to hear your thoughts so leave me a comment on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

Israeli Wine

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