Israeli Viticulture: how our vines make the best wines
How can such a small country produce so much wine?
Well, Israel may be the size of New Jersey, but her land is diverse and her soil is rich. Israel has the terrain of multiple regions across the globe woven into one little country. Sitting at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe, this Middle Eastern country gets a bit of everything, from the African sun to the mountains of Europe.
And this is what makes Israel an agricultural dream.
With a dry and arid desert down south, the lush coastal plains to the west, and high and green mountains up north, Israel is a country of variety, and possibility. Farmers throughout the country use the top technology to bring the people of Israel and the world the most delicious foods. For decades, Israel has been at the top of the global agricultural game, with the latest farming innovations. Both drip irrigation and desalinization plants have turned a water cautious country into a blooming and resourceful one. We are the founding father of cherry tomatoes, and the home of some of the best fruits (like dates and pomegranates)!
But most impressively, Israel’s vineyards have 5 different and unique regions, making Israeli viticulture a hard one to miss. Because of its vast and diverse winemaking terrain, Israel has one of the longest harvest seasons! Although it may vary from region to region, the overall harvest season in Israel is from August to October, while budding usually occurs in March/April time. Most vineyards use drip irrigation, and are planted on a north facing slope to get those breezy coastal Mediterranean winds from the west!
Commercial winemaking in Israel began over a century ago, when a French entrepreneur funded what came to be one of Israel’s biggest wineries, The Carmel Winery. And with the initial splash of good wine and rich vines in the country, viticulture took off, and has since become one of Israel’s most beloved industries. The majority of vineyards lay in Israel’s coastal regions- the Judean Plains and the Shomron- but overtime, more and more are popping up all over the Galilee region in the North, and the Negev region down South, as we begin to cross agriculture and technology.
Once thought impossible, Israeli winemakers have begun to successfully develop vineyards in the dry and arid sun of Israel’s Negev region down south, which makes up about half of the country’s land! Slowly, Israeli’s are learning how to create agricultural life in less than perfect conditions. Yet, each year, the vineyards reach deeper and deeper into the desert, proving that the impossible may yet be possible.
Some of Israel’s top vineyards use the latest technology in viticulture for the most precise and accurate winemaking. In Israel’s Golan Heights region, the Yarden Winery uses the most advanced meteorological stations among the vineyards to test leaf wetness, soil temperature, and humidity within seconds!
With over 150 varieties of grapes grown in Israel among the different regions, it’s no surprise that Israel’s wine industry is one of the most unique and popular, making wines suitable for any occasion. Reds, whites, rose’, or sparkling- Israel has you covered!