Israel and wine have gone hand in hand since the very first day that the Jewish people arrived to the land of Israel. Along the years various buildings have been discovered all over Israel, whose original purposes were to produce wine. These historical buildings date back to the time of Jesus and before. Wine is mentioned in the Old Testament and in every historical text regarding agriculture. The wine industry always flourished in Israel alongside the olive oil and perfume industries. But the modern story of wine started in the 19th century when Baron Rothschild created the Carmel vineyards as part of the initiative in encourage Israeli settlement. The Carmel vineyards are still active today.
Over 90% of the wine produced in Israel is kosher. Up to twenty five years ago most of the kosher wine produced in Israel was sweet red wine, and quality kosher wine was rare. Carmel and Palwin were first sold in England in 1898 and to this day remain the oldest wine brands in Israel, well known in every Jewish household. The Baron Rothschild vineyards that were built in Zichron Ya’akov and Rishon LeZion are still the biggest vineyards in Israel today. Initially the Israeli wine quality standards were not as high as international standards, as the demands of the Israeli population was small and did not justify further investments in quality wine.
The situation began to change about 25 years ago, when larger parts of the country gained access to various wines from around the world, and with that comparison arrived a demand for a higher quality of wine in Israel. Today it is possible to find many dozens of big and small vineyards that produce small quantities of quality boutique wine. Ramat Hagolan vineyards, Carmel, Binyamina, Barkan, Tavor, Daltonare but a few that exist today. Many of these vineyards have won international awards and praise.
Many of the vineyards are located in Mediterranean climate areas such as the Galil, the Negev, Yehuda and Shomron and it is in this climate that allows for the production of many types of wines. The composition of the ground is very versatile, from limestone to Basalt, alluvial soil and clay. The types of wine that produce the best results of terroir in Israel are: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot and Shiraz. These wines are usually of high alcohol concentration and impressive texture.
There are a few wine festivals in Israel that suit both the professional and amateur connoisseur. One of these festivals is the Salute 2015 which will take place in Tel-Aviv and will feature about 30 different vineyards, from the most well known, to the smallest boutique ones, as well as imported carton boxed wine (the latest trend). Among the vineyards in the festival are: Har Bracha Winery, Hasdera, Kishor, Tanya, Tishbi, Kinor David, Stern, Jerusalem, Arza, Pasiflora, Or Haganuz, Lavi, Psagot, Dalton, Ekek Ha-Ela, Aligote, Talmim, and Raman. Imported wine companies from abroad are also present such as Sommelier, Zur and Bibovino. The larger vineyards such as Carmel, Dalton, Tishbi, Barkan, Segal Teperberg etcwill also take part in this event.