Israel is known for many wonderful things: its history, its delicious Middle-Eastern foods, its diverse people, and even its innovation in tech and agriculture, among many others.
But did you know that Israel also has a rich and tasty wine and vine industry?
Wine has been around in Israel since biblical times, and Israel’s grapes are even mentioned as one of Israel’s seven special fruits in the Torah, in addition to many other commandments involving wine! Some say that the land of Israel sat along the wine-trading route between Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia and that Canaan wine was sent in jars to Ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece! Many old depictions and artwork of the Israelites include them drinking wine, or in the process of wine-making with grapes.
While the exact biblical origins may seem a bit hazy, we do know one thing for a fact: wine has been an important staple in the Land of Israel for centuries!
Today, modern Israel has an extremely active and robust wine industry, exporting close to 30 million dollars worth of Kosher wine each year, many to Jewish communities worldwide. However, while in the past kosher wines may have been set to the bottom of the shelf, Israel is making a comeback with a clear message: kosher wines can be excellent, while still made with the utmost care and respect for Torah guidelines. Israeli wines have become popular around the world, making headway in the global wine connoisseur community as well.
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For such a small country, Israel has six main grape-growing regions- the Galil in Northern Israel, the Sharon Plains near mid-coastal cities, the Negev in Southern Israel, the Judean Hills surrounding Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and the Shimshon region. Not only is Israel diverse in its people, but this tiny piece of land the size of New Jersey is one of the most diverse regions in the world. On the same day, you can see snow in the Golan Heights and sunbathe by the ocean in Tel Aviv, making it a great climate for many different types of grapes to grow.
You may be familiar with some of the country’s big wineries known throughout both Israel and the world, like Barkan, Carmel, or Golan Heights Winery, but most people don’t realize how many top-notch boutique wineries line the land by the hands of passionate wine connoisseurs all over the country. Many people even grow their own grapes in their backyards, and press them to make wine for their family and friends!
From the large commercial wineries to the small and exclusive ones, Israel has over 300 up and running wineries!
Israel is a country of wine-tasting galore ,with opportunities to go on wine tasting tours throughout the country. Many of them also take you on a nice scenic drive through the vineyards, and into their storage rooms with barrels upon barrels of wine! Many wineries in Israel also produce additional products as well as wine, like premier chocolates or dairy products, something that is very unique to Israel.
Some even have an accompanying dairy farm attached, making delicious and rich goat cheeses and yogurts! So get your taste-buds ready for some delicious treats.
Next time you're craving a new Israeli experience, be sure to take some time to explore a whole new culture in and of itself: Israeli wine. Enjoy the green vineyards, the smell of preciously aged wine, and the rich tastes of Israel’s finest grapes!