Getting to Know Israel’s Wine Country

on 19/10/10 at 8:25 am


With more than 200 wineries, five wine regions and a new focus on quality, Israel has plenty to explore. Learn more from three of its leading winemakers.

From cosmopolitan beach towns to ancient archeological and historic sites, from desert landscapes to the lowest point on earth at the Dead Sea, Israel has much to attract travelers. Set among all of this is a rapidly expanding and improving wine industry that combines exciting new boutique estates with producers more than 100 years old, making the country’s wine regions well worth a visit for wine and food lovers.

“Wine is a product of place; we are making wine in a place where it has been made for 5,000 years, in an area where wine culture was created,” said Lior Lacser, winemaker at Carmel Winery. “Israel is a great place to make wine.”

Grapegrowing spans much of the country, from the rolling hillsides and mountains in the north to the desert and forest in the south, divided into five official regions: Galilee, Shomron, Samson, Judean Hills and Negev. With its variety of microclimates, soils and temperatures, Israel can grow numerous different grape varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Grenache and Chardonnay.

Today, Israel has more than 200 wineries, more than 10 times the number of table-wine producers just 10 years ago, and the largest 17 are all kosher. But gone are the days when the country produced mainly sweet sacramental wines and inexpensive bottles for local consumption.

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