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About Israeli Wine

It’s not a surprise, though it’s often overlooked that for centuries, it was the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean was the home of the world’s wine-making culture. The oldest documents point to Canaan to be among the first nations to taste wine, which was more than two thousand years before the wine was introduced to Europe.

From Noah’s planting of some of the first grapevines recorded for wine–to the spies who looked over the area and found that it was healthy wine been a major factor in the story of the country of Israel. The prophets of the past spoke about it the wine symbolised God’s plan to redeem. Through the centuries it played an important role in the economy, society and the religious practices within Israel in the case of the Jews and , later, Christians.

In the past, Israel had a flourishing wine industry as shown by the digging of wine presses that were buried and storage vessels. The industry culminated in the time that was the Second Temple. It was the Roman ruin of the Temple led to the exile of Jews out of the country, and the once-proud wine industry was abandoned. After the fall of the Temple after the Arab invasion of around 600 A.D. and the prohibition of alcohol in Islam led to a number of remaining vineyards throughout the country particularly those in Judea and Samaria to be sacked.

A brief period of time, Crusaders in the Holy Land briefly revived the growing of grapes and vines were planted in areas such as Bethlehem or Nazareth. However, the revival of this land not long and short-lived. It was fortunate that as they Crusaders came back to Europe they were able to bring along a variety of noble grape varieties like Chardonnay, Muscat and Shiraz and originated in the Middle East.

When the Ottoman Empire, the wine industry in the Middle East was erased due to the declining economic prosperity in the region, conflicts, and epidemics that greatly affected the population. A lot of Jews and other groups who had backed the industry of wine left to seek refuge in other countries.

However, there was hope for those who desired to come back and cultivate vines of grapes within the hills that their forefathers had cultivated. The desire to return to the land was arouse the souls of many Jews who started settling within and with their Arab neighbors around the middle of the 19th century. Since the time of the Ottoman rule until the time of the Ottoman when the region was a wine-growing zone, the grapes in that region were only cultivated to be consumed. The revival of wine-making in Israel began in the middle of the 1800s, and grew into a major industry by the 1880’s. It began as an “cottage industry” producing wine at home in order to provide the Kiddush (sacramental) wine to those in the religion of Jewish community or communion as well as altar wines for Christian pilgrims looking for “wine that came from The Holy Land.” The first evidence that was recorded of this was found in Jerusalem’s Old City of Jerusalem, at the time that the Shor family began producing wine in 1848.
Similar to the grapevines of Israel that began in a variety of ways and spread across the globe, and eventually returned in the late 1800s, the people in Israel began to begin to “Aliyah” (or “ascent”) returning to their homeland more frequently towards the end of the 1800s.

The year 1882 was the time when Jews of Russia and Romania created new villages in the region, now called Palestine. They sought financial help by the Baron Edmond de Rothschild, a art collector and banker in Paris who also was the owner of Chateau Lafite, located in Bordeaux, France, one of the most well-known wineries in the world.

Baron Rothschild provided immigrants financial assistance. However, he, just like Moses from the Biblical story requested a report to study the possibilities for agriculture of the “Promised Land”. The advice of the experts of his report was that he plant vines and in 1882 they first saw the vineyards established and began to flourish. In 1887 Baron Rothschild traveled to the region that is now Israel at first, and was captivated by the area around Mount Carmel, the place where the Bible states that Elijah sent fire down from heaven. Rothschild thought that the region may be one of the Tuscany as well as Provence of Israel which is why he decided to start a wine business. Rothschild recruited the best agriculturalists from France as well as winemaking experts from Bordeaux and the most sophisticated equipment available to ensure that his venture was an success. In the process, the first modern commercial wineries were established in Israel.

The wine industry in Modern Israel

It’s awe-inspiring that the rootstock (or the trunk) of a vine can support and produce different kinds of varieties at same simultaneously. This is done by grafting grapevines from new varieties onto already existing ones.

The grapevine and the wine is a wonderful symbol for the people of Israel that once was wild, was then dragged away and replanted before it returned to its original soil. The Land of Israel has been the home of different people groups for many centuries, and consequently continues to carry the weight of religious, political, and emotional weight and controversy. The year 1948 was the first time Israel became an independent nation. Since then, she has struggled for the right to settle her area.
Israel is stunning partially because it stands as an emblem of unity and diversity.

A tiny country about similar to New Jersey, Israel is situated on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea and is bordered by Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. The country of Israel — with an estimated population of 8 million, the majority of them Jews–has a number of important places of worship and archaeological sites that are which are considered sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians alike, as well as a long and complex time-line of peace and war.

Much like the wine from Israel, the food culture in Israel has incorporated ingredients, recipes and tastes from all over the world, making Israel (and particularly Tel Aviv) one of the most famous food cities in the world. Blending Ashkenazi along with Sephardic Jewish influence, neighboring Lebanese, Syrian, and Turkish tastes, as well as high-quality Arab food, Israel is truly unique in its method of bringing together various people by their food preferences.

Israel Close Up

In keeping with their diversity, the inhabitants of Israel The winemakers and the varieties of wine produced in Israel are diverse, distinct, and full of flavor.

In the Second World War, the wine industry began to flourish again. When Israel in 1948, there were State of Israel in 1948 the number of wineries was fourteen operating. There are currently 40 wineries producing 50 tonnes or more 250 boutique wineries as well as numerous “garagiste” or local wineries with less than 50% of them considered Kosher.

Wine Regions and Wine Varietals

Israel is home to unique and traditional varieties that are native to the region and also Bordeaux styles blends. The three most cultivated varieties of Israel in the present comprise Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Merlot followed by Shiraz, Argaman and Petite Sirah. The majority of the finest red wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Shiraz varieties or Bordeaux blends based mostly upon Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The principal white varieties that produce the top white wines of this region include Chardonnay as well as Sauvignon Blanc. There are also excellent White Rieslings, Gewurztraminers and Viogniers.

The area belonging to the state of Israel is only 7,992 sq. miles that spans only 263 miles from north to south. Despite its tiny dimensions, Israel is producing some of the top wines around due in large part, to the typical Mediterranean climate, which is humid with hot summers as well as warm, dry winters. Israeli wines have been able to compete with wineries from both old as well as new world wineries and consistently win the distinction of awards and praise.
Israel has the perfect conditions to cultivate grapes. the areas that produce wine are split into five regions in Israel: Galilee, Shomron (or “Samaria” in English), Samson, Judean Hills and the Negev.

The Galilee region is located in northern Israel which is considered to be to be one of the top appellations. Two of Israel’s most prestigious wine producing regions are situated there, and are referred to as The Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights. Galilee mostly contains high altitude cooler climate vineyards, and also the mountains, forests with peaks that plunge and the stony hills. It is without doubt that Galilee is the most stunning wine region.

It is the region that Shomron is often referred to in the region of “Samaria”. It is Israel’s oldest wine producing region. It was been planted in the late 1800s. Mount Carmel, Ramat Manashe and the Shomron Hills are part of the Shomron Region. The region is a beneficiary of Southern Carmel Mountain range and cooling breezes that flow off of the Mediterranean Sea. The scenery of Shomron is what you think of when you think of a biblical setting and a number of biblical tales were set in this region.

Samson doesn’t refer to any geographic location and the region of wine is named in honor of the Biblical character who was a frequent visitor to the region. It comprises the central coast Judean Plain and Judean Lowlands located south and south east of Tel Aviv and it features an extremely humid, hot climate. The majority of vineyards used for large volumes of wine originate from the Judean Plain region. The second region, known as the Judean Foothills, is the most developed region for new vineyards being planted and the start-up of wineries. The rolling hills that are dotted with limestone soils are seen on the way from Jerusalem.

Fourth region called the Judean Hills, is a excellent wine region that is underdeveloped and not well-developed which extends from the mountains to the north of Jerusalem and through Gush Etzion to Yatir Forest which is located in the southern part of Hebron. Cool nights and warm days temperatures are typical of the region, where numerous wineries are making wine that has won awards.

The Negev is the region of desert which comprises half of the nation of Israel. Wineries have been established in the upper regions of the northeast region at Ramat Arad, a semi-arid region, and within the Negev’s central Highlands. The region is extremely hot in the day, with cooler nights and colder nights. Due to the lack of humidity, a few ailments impact the grapes. The vineyards can be encased in mists throughout the early morning time.