Israel Wine and Grape Varieties

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007 at 12:00 am

Israel wineWhen you first encounter “Israel” and “wine” together in the same sentence, you might be tempted to do a double take. French wine, of course. Greek wine, maybe you needed to brush up on your wineries. But Israel? No one really knows Israel primarily for their wine. But this is when your ignorance stops and the education begins.

Israel has been at the winemaking industry ever since the 1980s. The wine industry at that time came of age because of recent advances in technology care of California, the Israeli high-tech farming and several adventurous young winemakers.

Today, the country can look back at the significant burst of investment in large new wineries as well as a few substantial boutiques. There have been many plantings of quality grapes which are mainly focused on Cabernet and Merlot in the shady and cool region of Galilee and the Golan Heights. These are the best growing sites in Israel and it has helped the country increase their harvest to favorable levels.

Israel grows a wide variety of grapes which includes Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Their wines have been awarded several international prizes such as dessert and sparkling wines. Their high-quality, California-style varietals come from the influences of France, Australia and South Africa. These wineries in Israel arguably produce the biggest variety of quality kosher wines in the world. Part of Israel’s success as a winemaking country is that it has several diverse microclimates and wine regions.

Golan Tishbi, who is an expert in Israel’s wine as well as a producer himself, says that the quality and prominence of Israel’s wine is beginning to unfold. If they are able to continue with the trend of cultivating their land and their vines, then they will be able to compete with the rest of the world by producing high-quality and fine-tasting wines.

Because in Israel you can find the oldest wine-producing region of the world, the technology of the present is able to merge with the antiquity of the past. This type of emphasis can be seen in different posters that highlight men from the Bible such as Noah. One particular poster quips: “Blessed will be Noah, the first of the winemakers.”

Right now, different grapes are now being grown in hot regions. Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay grapes are just one of the few grape varieties that are being grown with very favorable results. The wine that is being cultivated in the Negev Desert has become very prominent simply because of the surrounding conditions it is in.

Growers and winemakers have said that the climate in Israel is actually suitable in cultivating very good wine. They highlight the abundance of sun as well as the moderate summers and cool winters in the region. These are great conditions actually when one thinks about growing grapes and making wine.

Right now, the market is not as aware of Israel’s wines but in the future, the world will know and taste that Israel’s wines are as competitive as any other country’s.