Why Israeli Wines?
Israel's wine industry is fast becoming recognized as one of the most thrilling regions for wine making around the globe. Still a vastly under discovered jewel within the industry, the inemakers of Israel have been receiving rave reviews from highly respected sommeliers and wine critics, and a surprisingly large proportion of the country’s wine have been accumulating many prestigious international awards of the highest caliber.This new, vibrant industry is fueled by a remarkably youthful passion for quality offerings and an unparalleled respect for the terroir. Arguably the world’s most influential wine critic, Robert Parker, has celebrated the rapidity with which Israel’s viticulture is maturity: “The wines are getting better all the time and some of them are superb.” The most renowned wine writer, Hugh Johnson, writes of the region: “Many wines are quite exciting.”
Since the dawn of recorded civilization, Israel has been recognized as one of the most prominent historical site of ancient wine making, a fact which is well documented throughout the Hebrew Bible. The book of Deuteronomy names “fruit of the vine” as one of Israel’s seven blessed types of fruit. In fact, archaeologists suggest that wine was likely the most prevalent alcoholic beverage of ancient Israelites, and dates Israel’s prolific winemaking tradition back at least 5,000 years. Israeli wines were shipped to Rome during Roman times and were considered the most distinguished wines in the world and are thought by some to be one of the prized agricultural ancestors of today’s old Italian and European vines. Contemporary wine making in Israel dates back to the 1800s, when viticulture became reintroduced along with French varietal grape vines and traditional French techniques. In recent decades, Israeli wine makers recognized the potential to showcase a modern rebirth of Israel’s ancient wine making heritage and the industry has quickly growth to include world-renowned wineries that consistently achieve the most prestigious awards available on the international wine scale.
It’s no wonder, considering Israel hosts the perfect geography, topography and climate for the art of wine making. Israel experiences a notably Mediterranean seasonal cycle, with an incredible range of microclimates, and the country’s five vine-growing regions are uniquely ideal for producing grapes of exceptional quality. Galil, or Galilee and the region of Golan Heights, are the predominant and most renowned location for wine making considering its cool breezes, levation, favourable daily temperature shifts and its rich, well-drained soil. Outstanding wine cultivation can also be found in the Judean Hills, which surround Jerusalem and Shimshon, or Samson, which is situated in between the Judean Hills and the Coastal Plain. In the semi-arid desert location of Negev, technological advances such as drip irrigation are utilized to enhance the grape growing process. The Sharon plain is located south of Haifa, near the Mediterranean coast of Israel, and features the most expansive area for grape growing in the country.
Currently, Israel produces approximately 36 million bottles of wine each year and offers a selection of quality reds, whites, roses, still, sparkling and dessert wines. New World Israel wines are typically characterized as high fruity, naturally sugary wines delivering a distinctly fleshy and velvety mouthfeel. Discovering the way that each winery balances the unmistakable sweetness, some by adopting old world techniques to balance the wine with good acidity others by embracing the richness of the sun-filled grapes, is all part of the exciting adventure of understanding what Israel has to offer the world.
Despite all its many critical accolades, Israel is still relatively unknown for it wine making, yet experts and astute wine collectors around the globe have developed an insatiable appetite for Israeli wines, which are still to date, the industry’s best kept secret.