Israel And Wine
Since the beginning of Biblical times, wine has been made in Israel. In fact, when Noah was commanded to leave the Ark the first thing he did was to plant a vineyard. However, until later years the Israeli wine wasn’t a source of pride. Wines that were shipped to ancient Egypt needed flavoring added to make them palatable, and wines sent to Rome and England during the Roman Empire were too thick and sweet that today’s modern connoisseur wouldn’t have accepted such standards. When the Muslims conquered the land they imposed an official halt to wine production which ended up being beneficial for the country as it provided an opportunity for a rebirth in the winemaking industry.
Jews began to produce wine again in 1870 with the assistance of Baron Edmond de Rothschild, who began importing French grape varieties and effective winemaking techniques to the region. This period in history was marked as the beginning of a new modern era in Israeli winemaking. Most of the wines produced during that interlude were for the intent of producing kosher wines that were exported to Jewish communities worldwide. The qualities of the wines during this initial period were speckled; mainly red, sweet, primitive and unattractive. Production was more geared to quantity than quality.
In the late 1960’s the first dry table wine was produced which caused a major revival in superior winemaking. This turnabout imported modern technology and winemaking formulas from talented winemaking countries, such as France, Australia and California. Hence, in 1989 the first winery in Israel was founded, and by 1990 Israeli wines were awarded at the international wine competitions.
Since the 1990’s, Israel started prospering with the establishment of ensuing winery boutiques. By the year 2000 there were 70 wineries in the land of Israel with a doubling spurt five years later. This revolution developed due to Israelis traveling abroad, especially to Europe, Israelis became consciously aware that wine wasn’t just for mere ceremonial purposes. The country gained a new prospective to the modern wine culture with up-scale restaurants serving a host of national and international wines to their enthusiastic wine patrons.
Nowadays, sophisticated wine lovers in and outside of Israel recognize Israel’s wines as classy, high end wines. Israel boasts the eight largest wineries, and subsequent smaller boutiques, with an average of 30 million bottles of wine produced annually; yielding in an assortment of red, white, rose, still, sparkling and dessert wines. They export wines worldwide, selling the most to the United States.
Israel has ascended as the premier winemakers in the Eastern Mediterranean region; renowned for its modern technology and colossal export marketing. A famous wine connoisseur said, “Israel is now on the world of wine map”. They have earned a reputation as the finest wine producers that are equally or superior to their competitive wine producing countries abroad.
Savor Israel. Relish its wine.