Israel wineries I visited in the north and the state of Israeli kosher Wines

I just returned from a long and wonderful trip to Israel where I visited a total of 36 wineries in less than three weeks. To be fair, I was set to visit more, but let us just say that a family member, who will go nameless, slowed me down just a wee bit – LOL!!! All the same, it was great visiting the wineries, meeting the wine makers and owners, and getting a far deeper feel for all things wine in the land of Israel!

Yes, I brought back many bottles, and I had friends and family who helped me schlep in even more bottles. In all some 30+ bottles or so made it back to the diaspora, and I will be enjoying them in due time. Many of them are NOT available here in America and some were just too good to pass up on.

So, let us start with the facts – there are five wine regions in the land of Israel, and I visited wineries in all of them. According to Yossie’s Israel winery page that is a mash up of Google maps and his winery data, there are some 70+ kosher wineries. The kosher wineries are bunched up in the Judean Hills, Shomron, Samson, and the Galilee. There are wineries in the other wine region; the Negev, but other than Yatir, which is really the southern tip of the Judean Hills, there is no winery that I wanted to visit in the Negev (dessert – southern wine region of Israel).

I started my wine adventure in the north and went to every kosher winery that would let me visit. One of the first things I realized about wineries in Israel is that it is a business. To me, wine and wineries are like candy and big candy store. To top it off – they are kosher and in a land I love. So, when I visit a winery, I want to know everything about it and why it exists. Others see me as a pain or as a lack of dollars and cents and as such, are not so receptive to my interests. That is fair, and as such, if I was received well I will state it and if not, or I got to taste a single wine or less, I will simply state what I tasted and move on.

The first day, I dropped my stuff off at friends in the north and drove up to Tabor Winery. Tabor Winery ha recently been bought up by the Coca-Cola company of Israel, and as such has seen a fair amount of investment in both vineyards and winery facilities. Tabor Winery-smallThey have some of the coolest high-tech gear out there, though a few others do rival them, including Yarden (which I did not visit this time), Yatir Winery (visited and loved it!), Shiloh Winery, and of course Carmel and Binyamina (because their size allows for more toys). I was really shocked there and then by the cold blue fruit that exists if you look for it. By cold blue fruit I mean that wines (Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet – YES CAB, Petite Verdot, and Petite Sirah) exhibit blueberry, boysenberry, and other blue colored fruit when controlled in a cold enough climate. They had some lovely wines there, though no WOW wines (wines that get an A- to A or higher score). Still, a very nice and wonderful winery well worth the visit, if you can handle the drive all the way up there.

Now before you laugh at one winery in a day, driving north from Jerusalem, even with highway 6, is a large haul and in the pouring rain, I rest my case. While driving my way up there – I noticed another aspect that I have not spoken about in the past – Israeli drivers. I think it was my nephew who brought this to my attention; they drive cars like they have no tomorrow, without hesitation, and without fear – almost like war. Drivers in Israel are more than happy to pass you going uphill, on a curve, in the pouring rain! In no way was this a singular or rare occurrence! If you drive in Israel and you blink or hesitate, you may well find yourself forced onto the other side of oncoming traffic by a public transit bus! I am not kidding – and in a not so hospitable location to boot! My point is, if you wish to drive in Israel, and to get to all the wineries in and about Israel, a car is required (or a tour guide), my best advice is pray a lot, and be very careful. Also, get full coverage on your rental car.

Tulip Winery-smallBlessedly, I returned to my friend’s house in one piece and planned my next few days. The next day, I visited Tulip Winery, where I was just blown away by the wines; many received a WOW moment score. Tulip is a winery that went kosher in 2010 and its reserve wines are now just being released. The reserve wines that I tasted all receive very high scores, and we have not even yet tasted the 2010 Black Tulip, which is Tulip Winery’s flagship wine, a Bordeaux blend. The winery is based in a neighborhood of disabled individuals, this town teaches disabled individuals the skills required to live a free and productive life in our society, things we take for granted, and then the winery hires them and puts them to work doing the things that every winery needs, from facilities to working in the showroom. They are part and parcel of the winery and the winery was built-in that location with that very idea in mind.

Bazelet Hagolan-smallFrom there I drove to Odem Winery, but on the way I saw the sign for Bazelet Hagolan and I could not help myself. On this I made the cardinal mistake with visiting wineries in Israel, I went there without a pre-call ahead. If you are visiting a winery in Israel, please do yourself a favor and call in advance. It will let the winery know you are not just anyone driving through, looking for some red or white wine! I did not do that and in the pouring rain, I turned off course and went looking for Bazelet Hagolan Winery. I visited this winery once before, a long time ago, and this time and tasted a couple of wines. This time I was lucky enough get meet a fellow English-speaking man, but one who hails from Canada! This man was a lawyer in Canada and left the entire thing to do Aliya and go work for a winery! Since than he tells me he has learned by drinking from a fire hose – that tastes like wine and is loving every second of it. The winery is a lovely place and is not that far of from the road to Odem Winery, so I turned off and tasted a few wines there. Many of the wines were lovely, but none had the WOW factor. Still, the winery is producing some really nice wines, and they have received many great scores from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast. They are clearly doing many things correctly and I look forward to tasting more of their wines soon.

Odem Mountain Winery-smallFrom there I started the long, and I do mean LONG trip to Odem Mountain Winery, where I was meant to meet the winemaker – Yishai Alfasi. I did meet him, but with the insane downpour that was occurring in the region, I did not get there on time to do a full tasting with him. The good news is that the wines as the Odem Mountain Winery continue to excel. Also, the wines are sourced from the mountains around Odem, including the Tabor and the Hermon Mountain. The “baddish” news is that to get there you must drive to the northern most point of Israel, and it is a drive. Still, the winery, the facility, and the wines are well worth the effort if you are not driving in the pouring rain. Yishai was very nice to met with me at all. I missed my time window, but because the next guests were also late, I got the chance to taste through some lovely wines. I did not taste a WOW wine there, but there does exist one, the 2009 Odem Mountain Har Odem Syrah Reserve – quite a lovely and rich blue and black wine.

I laugh about it now, but at that time driving home, the rain was pouring so hard and the roads so slick, and the fog so insanely thick, that the only way I knew what was ahead of me – road wise, was the map on my GPS! If you drive in Israel – YOU MUST USE Waze! Google Maps does not enable navigation in Israel, and even if it did – Google maps does not have the wisdom of the crowd that makes Waze so powerful! Waze saved my life – literally many times, on this very drive. The road and the drivers and the environment were so insane that inevitably there was going to be a very large pile up. Sure enough, Waze and the crowd sourcing folks behind it warned me of this impending doom, as I crested the hill, and I was able to stop the car and not add to the already large pileup!! Blessedly, again, I returned to my friend’s home safe – after going to a lovely humus joint called Humus Eliyaouh. It turns out that these humus places are popping up all over the place. They are places that look simple, but to make a fresh and yummy humus plate takes skill – and being placed in the middle of the Israel’s Yokneam tech center, they are packed all day long. However, they were open late at night too, and I was their last customer of the night. What I had for dinner that night was NOT last customer fare in any way! Loved it, fresh green flavors abounded in the plate of humus, along with a plate of salad – loved the place and the bread was baked fresh and tasted like heaven. Sure, I was starved, as when I am wine tasting I do not eat all day, but hey I know bad food from good food, even if I am hungry!

Dalton Winery-smallOn my third day up north I visited four wineries – yeah I was making up for my first day. Still, only two had a wow wine, but there were some very interesting wineries – that is for sure. First I visited Dalton Winery with the head wine maker Na’ama Sorkin. The visit was delightful. First of all the Dalton Viognier is back!!! You have heard me lament on these very virtual pages – how I miss the beautiful Viognier wines they used to make. After the 2009 vintage – the vineyard went bad and they had to source new grapes. Well – they have and it is a smashing success. That along with the new 2012 Rose is lovely wines that need to be found. From there, the 2010 Alma Red SMV, Bordeaux blend, and the 2011 Petite Sirah are all crazy good wines and are once again proving the veracity of why Dalton is one of the best QPR wineries in Israel. The WOW wines were the 2010 Dalton Cabernet Sauvignon, reserve, the 2011 Dalton Cabernet, Single Vineyard, Kerem Meron, and the 2010 Dalton Alma red, Bordeaux blend. Though the 2011 Cabernet Single Vineyard Meron is a muscle car – the bad boy who all girls fall for, the 2010 Alma Bordeaux blend – is the suave, well coiffed gentleman in the corner that is not as alluring as he is elegant and sleek – a lovely wine that I personally fell in love with. I really did enjoy the time at Dalton, I got to taste almost everything there and in the works, along with the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, which is bracing and lovely. The 2011 Dalton Shiraz, reserve, single vineyard, Hoshen vineyard is dark, brooding, deep and blue! Bravo! The winery is a clear leader of the wineries up north (excluding the beast called Yarden), with some of the new upstarts (read below) that are making a run for them as well. Many thanks to Alex, Naama, and the rest of the Dalton winery folks – the wines were lovely.

Galil Winery-smallThe next winery was the Galil Mountain Winery. This is a massive winery that is partially owned the Yarden Winery and partially owned by the surrounding kibbutz that owns the grapes. The winery is state of the art, made to essentially run on its own, and surrounded by mountains, and spitting distance to its northern Lebanese neighbor. The winery is now changing its labels, as I explained here and while the Yiron continues to impress, the rest of the new lines are OK. The drive was fruitful, in that I could taste all the wines that have yet to come here, but when they do, stick with what Galil is calling the Galil Elyon labels; the Yiron, Meron and maybe the white Avivim – which does not often make it to the states. The middle lineup; the Galil labels include many good old standbys; the Pinot Noir, Viognier, Barbera, and now the renamed Bordeaux blend (with Syrah thrown in) – the Ela, and the Alon (the old Cab Syrah blend with Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc). I am not trying to disparage the Galil name as much as I am trying to tell you that the old labels seem to have fallen on hard times and the only real QPR wine from this winery is the Yiron and Meron which are solid A- wines that last long and taste great!

Lueria Winery-smallThe third winery for the day was my clear second favorite and one that I never been to yet, the Lueria Winery. I arrived a bit late, a common theme in Israel – but one that I am not normally apt to do, traffic, rain, and just driving takes a toll on you. I arrived and Gidi, the winemaker of this family run winery greeted me. I took some quick pictures of the winery itself, and then we hopped into each others cars and I followed him weave and bob through the one-lane roads till we arrived at the family run bed and breakfast that is also doubles as the winery’s tasting room. Actually, I may well have helped to inaugurate the just finished tasting room, that is at the base of the bed and breakfast. The room was still filled with the smells of recently laid flooring, so we moved outside and there we happily enjoyed the wines of Lueria winery. To start – you may be asking me – where did the winery’s name come from – well good question! I asked that of Gidi, and he explained that the vineyards overlook the burial grounds of the famed kabbalist the Ari (Rabbi Yitzchak Luria). Being religious and Sephardi, Gidi saw it as a sign and named the winery after him, and hey – how can you go wrong with associated that man with any endeavor you take – it sure is not going to hurt! We had the chance to taste through all of the current wines, and many are unique, including a wine that is never to be released to the public – the 2012 almost dry Gewurztraminer. The 2012 semi-dry Gewurztraminer – is quite nice as well. They make two whites; the Chardonnay was all sold out so I missed that one. The Gewurztraminer is the other. The 2010 Inon was quite nice (named after the child who was born the same time as bottling of this wine), the 2010 Rosso, but the real WOW was the 2008 Lueria Grand Vital – WOW! Yes, it is a shemita wine, but I missed that till it was too late. The good news, I had no intention of spitting that wine, once it hit my mouth. At the end, we enjoyed a bottle of the 2011 ice wine, made from frozen Cabernet Sauvignon grapes – a nice but not awe-inspiring wine. The visit was lovely and eye opening to the abilities of small wineries to compete and make wines that would go toe-for-toe with many of Israel’s famous wines – BRAVO!

Or Haganuz Winery-smallMy final stop was at the winery that is slowly changing people’s opinions of religious owned wineries – Or Haganuz. I arrived on time – shockingly, but it was ill timed for the winery, and after doing mincha (afternoon prayers), I quickly tasted a few wines, talked logistics with my nephew (who will go unnamed as he slowed me down LOL!!), and finally tasted a few wines. I had tasted the 2009 Or Haganuz Cabernet Sauvignon, Namora/(Namura in the US), clearly the best wine from the winery. The Namura/Namora is a fine wine, still too sweet and far too overweight. A wine that we did taste from the winery, in NY, and liked is the Namura select, a blend of Cabernet, Shiraz, and Merlot, a nice wine, but still not a blow away wine. We tasted the 2011 Shiraz, which was nice and blue, but OK. The 2012 Amuka is really not my cup of tea, but the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Shamai was nice and was the exact wine we tasted later in the week at the Terravino award dinner, but it too was OK. The winery is really nice and the tasting room is first class, and I am sure with time that they too will find their niche and road to what they believe is their true purpose. Till then, I would say stick with the higher end wines and buy at tastings – where you get a chance to see what you like and dislike for yourself. Finally, I really hope they can cleanup their labels – they are highly confusing here Israel, and let alone in the US.

Finally, I drove back to my friend’s home after a long time out. We went to Greg’s for dinner, a sit down place that served a nice plate of eggs and cheese. After that we went to a dessert place, of which I forget the name, and then it was time to pack up for tomorrow, as I was going back to Jerusalem for Shabbos, after tomorrow’s last day up north.

Adir Winery-smallThe next day I drove back up north to get to the last of the winery’s that I had missed, and one that I was really looking forward to – Adir Winery. I first heard of this winery in 2008 when they won Terravino with their double gold 2005 Adir Plato, a blend of Cabernet and Shiraz. Since then the winery did not make wines that interested me and the prices were so obscene that it was moot for me in any case. However, since than things have changed, maybe it is my taste buds, or the winery, but the wines I tasted at the 2011 Sommelier – made me think I needed to visit this winery on my next trip up north. It was a real joy to visit the winery, which is also a cheese, yoghurt, and milk diary. That may sound like a very interesting combination, but if you think about it – wine is an agriculture byproduct, as is milk and cheese. It turns out that the multi-family run winery also owns a fairly large herd of goats, which is where all their milk byproducts come from. Besides owning goats, the families (Rosenberg and Ashkenazi) planted vineyards in the late 80s and again in the 90s, essentially planting much of the vines on the now famous Kerem Ben Zimra slopes and plateaus. It was a joy tasting through much of the wines that were available, that are being imported to the USA through Red Garden imports. We started with the 2011 Adir Chardonnay and it was nice, followed by the 2010 Adir Shiraz – which I found more black and tar than blue, reminiscent of a ripe Yarden, without the date and raisin flavors, essentially a controlled black and red Shiraz. The 2010 Adir Cabernet was equally lovely with ripe and controlled red and black fruit, full bodied and layered. The winner and WOW wine was the 2010 Adir A, a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet, and Cabernet Franc. It is an elegant wine that is rich, layered, but also controlled and without the sledgehammer of the Cabernet. The 2009 Plato was a nice wine, but not a wow wine. The other shocking and very close to WOW wine was the Adir Blush Port wine! It is a filthy wine with a nose that is quite crazy and unique if not a WOW wine – it is surely a BRAVO wine.

Kerem Ben Zimra-smallThe next winery was up the street one mile – called after the mountains from which it sources all of its grapes – Ben Zimra Winery. The winery is a lovely and is right off the road that leads north to Galil Mountain Winery and south to Meron and Tsfat. The winery is owned and managed by Yossi Ashkenazi and the wine maker is Assaf Kedem. I rolled in, again without a pre-call and in the end it worked out very well. I tasted through the wines, which were all nice. While there were no WOW wines, they were very solid wines that make me want to follow the winery and watch how they continue to progress. The 2009 Ben Zimra Lior, a blend of Cabernet and Merlot, showed classic styles and was quite nice.

Vineyards around Netofa-smallThe final winery that I visited in the North is called Domaine Netofa Winery, owned and managed by non other than Pierre Miodownick, the head wine maker for all of Royal’s European special run wines. Pierre has been working with Royal Wines for more than 25 years as its European winemaker, which means that all the wines we loved so much from Chateau Pontet Canet, Chateau Giscours, Chateau Leoville Poyferre, and others were made under his watch, using the grapes from the respective wineries of course, but not by their winemakers, but rather by Pierre.

Well, in 2005 Miodownick moved to Israel and built a lovely home and winery in the North, close to Ben Zimra, but in flavor worlds away. The grapes may well come from the region surrounding his home, but the flavors are absolutely in the style of classic Cotes du Rhone. Rich dirt, spice, fruit, and lovely controlled oak. This is not the first time I tasted through Pierre’s wines, but it is absolutely the first time I really loved each and every one of them. In the past, I thought some of the whites were a bit light or a bit over-oaked. Now, they are really standing out from the crowd and are well on the way to prove that world-class European style wines can be built in Israel, with a spice and fruit of Israel on top. We met Mr. Miodownick in his lovely home, and I started tasting the wines as we waited for Benyamin Cantz of four gates winery to appear, with his own friends in tow! Yes Benyamin did come to Israel, but that is for an entirely different post. The first wine was quite lovely, the 2011 Domaine Netofa, Galilee, a wine made from Chenin Blanc is the classic Rhone style, not sweet, more tart and mineral. The next wine was the oak aged 2010 Domaine Netofa Latour Netofa, a Chenin Blanc aged in oak and in a wonderful controlled manner. The wine was ripe, oily, full, and rich, with years ahead of it. The next was the 2011 Rose and showing better than in previous years. If I really liked the white netofas, I really liked the reds that I tasted next because they were not at all like the wines I had the entire week. The wines showed more mineral, dirt, garrigue, along with meat flavors and blue fruit. The first red was the 2010 Domaine Netofa red (a Syrah/Mourvedre blend), with black, blue, and meaty notes, along with mineral and dirt. We also got a preview of the 2011 Domaine Netofa red – a more soft and more round version of the 2010, but one that is still opulent with black and blue fruit. The next red wine was the first WOW of the afternoon, 2010 Domaine Netofa Latour Netofa, red, another lovely Syrah/Mourvedre blend, a huge, bold, massive, and rich wine, with mineral, crazy blue fruit, and tons of mouth coating tannin. The next really nice wine was the Netofa Tinto, made from 60% Tempranillo and 40% Touriga Nacional, that smells like crazy roasted meat, along with rich mineral, roasted espresso, licorice, and chocolate, really lovely. The final wine was the next WOW wine, a Ruby Port, made in Israel, so not a real Port, but one made in the exact same manner. The sweet dessert wine was crazy awesome, rich, lovely, and insane. The wine was made from 80% Touriga Nacional, and 20% Tempranillo (AKA Tinta Roriz), aged for 24 months in oak, and topped with 77% alcohol to stop fermentation. The wine is killer and one that I would buy if I could – but ran out of suitcase space – but one to buy the next time I am in the area. There is no winery for this winery – as of now, but who cares, Miodownick’s home was a lovely replacement and it gave me the time to get to talk more with Pierre to boot.

So, there you have it, those were the wineries that I was very happy and honored to visit. However, the other aspect that I wanted to hit on in this post is the state of Israel and it wineries. A few facts that I kept hearing over and over again:

  1. Wineries are planting like crazy ALL over Israel. Millions of dollars are being poured into the land of Israel, from the Negev, in the south, all the way to the Galilee, in the North. After a few years these vineyards will be coming online, and some are already online.
  2. Why is there so much planting going on? Because many vineyards have been hit by a debilitating disease called: Leaf Roll Disease. If you see lovely blood-red or black-red colored leafs on vines, it could mean the onset of the deadly Leaf Roll disease. Sadly, this evil beast is killing vines throughout Israel and is one of the reasons why wineries we all love stop making certain labels or varietals, as the vines that sourced those bottles are dying off at alarming rates.
  3. Much of these new plantings are the French noble grapes, but we are also seeing new plantings of other French varietals including Malbec, Petite Verdot, Petite Sirah. The real cool planting are from Spain, Portugal, and other Mediterranean regions (other than the south of France AKA Syrah), Mourvedre, Grenache, Touriga Nacional (by Netofa, Yarden, and others), Tempranillo, and even real unique ones like Oseletta. What will come of all of these new and non-noble plantings only time will tell. However, already the Syrah grape and the petite Sirah (No relations to each other of any kind), are showing wonderfully in Israel, along with the Portuguese varietals as well.
  4. We are seeing the revitalization of family owned and run wineries (Hertzberg, Leuria, etc.) that are doing fine and making a go of it. We are also seeing a return of real Vignobles wineries, like Max Hertzberg who manages his own vineyards and makes the wine. We are also seeing successful integration of the small and new wineries. More and more I heard from the small wineries how they are leaning on the big boys for crush facilities, storage facilities, general knowledge exchange, and aid in others facets. Either way, Israel is truly showing its brotherhood in many ways – and especially in the winery business.
  5. Many continue to believe that this cannot continue, that there is just not enough wine drunk in Israel to meet the supply being created. When I visited the wineries both large and small, I was shown the wine room, and sure it looks like a ton of bottles, but they say they sell it – where? The most consistent and the most touted responses were: from the winery itself, from restaurants, and from export to the US, Europe, Japan, Germany, and other countries. Time will tell where the wines go, but for now we are seeing a growth in plantings – but not a growth in wines – because of the loss of vineyards. In the essence the new vineyards and the new supply are really just an exchange for the lost supply.
  6. The export business from Israel to the state is a five horse race; Royal Wines, Allied Importers (adding Gvaot recently), Happy Hearts, Red Garden, The River Wine (adding Tishbi recently). Along with a couple of single wine importers; Victor Wines, Palm Bay (Recanati), and Skurnik Wines (tzora). Other than Red Garden there really has not been new importers, rather wineries are moving from importer to importer – until they find the right niche for their product. Cleary the biggest importer, and the 500 pound Gorilla is Royal Wines. Like I have stated many times recently, they have been doing a really good job at getting wine rags to score Israeli wines, and the scores have been solid (Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast). Royal drives the market and that is a great thing, it teaches the world about Israeli wine and even if what they push and teach is only Royal wines – who cares, the world needs the knowledge. The export will continue to grow that is quite clear, wineries are growing in size, in leaps and bounds, and they need the 20 to 30% export to make their growth a reality. So, look for more wines and wineries you never heard of showing up at your local wine shop.
  7. Sadly, with the one year anniversary of Daniel Rogov’s passing – no one has stepped up and taken over the mantle of wine writer for Israel. The single man and his knowledge has been lost, much like the much of the wine world is moving from a few famous names (E.G Robert Parker and others who have had a bad past year in the wine trade rag industry).
  8. Deep passion for all things Israel is hard to miss when you stay in the country for three weeks and all you do is visit with people who are insanely passionate about wine as well. Wine makers and winery owners are coming to grips with the fact that wine starts in the vineyard and more and more I hear that wine making is a slow way to lose money, and NOT a fast way to make money. The old adage, how do you make money in the wine business? Start with a bigger pot of money and buy a winery. The wine business is a slow cycle business, and this is a statement I heard over and over again from almost every wine maker in Israel, meaning that by the time you know that something is a hit – three years has passed. Why? Because, you try something in the vineyard and you harvest it, ferment the grapes, age the grapes and make a wine out of it – and that is a turnaround of three years. Now, you realize the idea is not quite correct, so you have to tweak it again, so by the time you turn around – ten years has passed and you barely had three tests in the vineyard. That is insane, and a test of your patience – that if you have investors – is not something that goes well, if you make one mistake in the middle of the plan. Worse, is you make a blend or a wine that is not what everyone thinks is a good idea, so you make 10,000 bottles of it, by the time you find out it is a hit, that is three years too late! Your customers are banging on your door asking for that “new” wine, but three vintages have passed and you decided not to continue your “crazy” experiment. Well, that crazy idea is now mainstream and you were a year ahead of the tide, well now you are three years behind the tide. The wine business is a fickle mistress and if you do not feed it with imagination and work, you will find it turning on you – in what you think is a heartbeat, but is rather more like a slow wine business cycle.
  9. Inclosing on this subject – Israel is a complex place to live and a complex place to do business. The joy of it though is that Israel is a group of brothers and sisters who may have more bureaucracy than an Army, but are folks who look out for each other. Wineries are slowing growing and slowly improving product wise and name wise – which is great! Israel is slowly getting the name recognition that it needs. I was at a winery on my trip, and I was at the table with the wine maker and a group of folks from Finland. The group praised this winery’s wines and told the winemaker where they buy the wine – Israel! This group flies in every few months, for work, and goes to the wine store in Tel Aviv and buys this winery’s wine – and so they asked – why is it not available in their native country? The answer – our wine is too expensive! It was hilarious – because I and them both responded the same thing and the same time – your wines are world-class and they are NOT too expensive. Israel has what it takes to compete on the world wine scene – in the upper echelon of wine snobs. What is missing is the next level down – to compete with wines on the world scene at the 30 dollar and the 20 dollar range – that is still an issue in Israel and I believe they are working on it. When I was in Israel – I heard wine makers repeat that they want to make wines that everyone can enjoy, but “everyone” is a subjective statement. The hope is that they all see the need to get quality down at the 15, 20, and 30 dollar range, and not just save their best wines for the 50 and up range. Time will tell, but there are many small producers that are pushing the big guys – in this very space – good wine at a reasonable price, and I think it will inevitably find its ay to the rest of the Israeli wine industry.

There you are – my first few days in Israel and the wineries I visited. I hope this is of service to you to see which wineries you may want to visit yourself. If forced, I would say Adir, Dalton, Tulip, Netopha, with a special mention to Lueria. I did miss a winery that I had hoped to visit – Ramot Naftaly.

Posted on January 4, 2013, in Israel, Israeli Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Rose Wine, Kosher Semi Sweet Wine, Kosher Sparkling Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine, Wine Tasting, Winery Visit and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

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