Traditionally, Israel is known for its religious and cultural experience. Since the 1990’s, however, this small country has also become famous for its wineries. The old syrupy tasting Israeli wines have been replaced with gold medal winners. These wines can compete with any special vintages from France, Italy, or California. Just take a peak at your Jerusalem hotel’s wine list and you’ll see some of the well-known Israeli wines listed.
So where can you taste these fantastic wines? You have the choice of visiting any one of the 160 commercial and boutique wineries in the country. Since most wineries are within two hours of your Jerusalem hotel, you should have no difficulty in touring a cross section of both large wineries and boutiques.
The country is divided into six major wine producing regions:
Golan and the Galilee – This area is located furthest from your Jerusalem hotel. However, you can easily take a day trip to this region and see four or five wineries. With its ideal climate of warm afternoons and cool, but frost-free nights, this area produces some of the top Israeli wines. Make sure to visit such favorites as Dalton, the Golan Heights Winery, and Meron, Israel’s first boutique winery.
Shomron – Located south of Haifa and just a bit inland from the Mediterranean, this region hosts probably the best-known winery in the country – Carmel Winery. Your Jerusalem hotel probably carries a selection of five or ten Carmel wines. Dating back since the 1880’s, this winery has roughly 50% of the Israeli wine business. Save time for wine tasting at the Tishbi Estate and Binyamina Wine Cellars.
Samson – Located between the Judean mountains and the middle of the coast, this region is a mere 30 -45 minutes from your Jerusalem hotel. You’ll find a few boutiques and larger wineries in the Rishon Le Zion and Rehovot areas.
Judean Hills – With its cool mountain air, the Judean Hills region produces some of the more sweet tasting wines.
Negev – Not usually considered an ideal place to grow grapes, this desert area also produces some award winning wines. Visit the Barkan Wine Cellars in Mitzpe Rimon – you’ll see the wonders of drip irrigation technology.
Once you’ve returned to your Jerusalem hotel, sit back, relax, and order a glass of the finest Israeli wine.