To most, Israeli wines are only used for religious reasons. Until this week, I could not name one Israeli wine brand besides Manischewitz. It’s true, Israel has traditionally produced mostly Kosher wines of “lower quality”. The topics of quality vs. quantity and increasing non-religious consumption came up severals times as we toured Israel’s wine country. In total, we drove 700km from Tel Aviv to Zichron Ya’akov, Golan Heights and the Upper Galilee. I’m proud to say that we covered a good taste of what Israeli grapes have to offer.
Israel has a distinctly Mediterranean climate with hot, humid summers (April – October) with very little precipitation and a cold, rainy winter (late October to March). Its latitude is similar to San Diego, California. Baron Edmund de Rothschild, a co-owner of Chateau Lafite recognized the opportunity to pioneer modern Israeli winemaking . Around 1882, he sent Israel grape varietals from southern France to help Jewish entrepreneurs kickstart a new industry. We learned that many of these growers were of Romanian descent. His vineyards were planted in Zichron Ya’akov (e.g. Carmel Winery) and Rishon Le Tzion, south of Tel Aviv. Continue Reading