|Israel. The word conjures up childhood
images of the Holy Land and movies
I had seen showing dessert-like terrains. My first
and recent trip to this impressive country showed me
another side altogether. As the plane landed in Tel
Aviv I marveled at the surrounding greenery. In fact, I
was told that such verdant and fertile lands extend for
hundreds of kms. north of the city.
Although I was eager to see and learn more about
this fascinating country, the primary reason for my
visit was to attend IsraWinexpo 2010 and familiarize
myself with Israeli wines.
Winemaking in Israel
Israeli winemaking began in the triangle that
encompasses the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea and the
Sea of Galillee. In fact, the oldest grape pips found in
|Levant date back to 8000 B.C., with the first recorded
vineyard planted by Noah in 2000 B.C.
Israel’s wine industry further evolved thanks to a threefold
revolution which began with the founding of the
modern Israel wine industry when Baron Edmond de
Rotschild, owner of Chateau Lafite founded Carmel
Winery in 1882. The second phase ‘the quality
revolution’ was led by Golan Heights Winery, founded
in 1983, that applied the newest technology both in
the vineyards and winemaking sectors. The third took
place in the 1990s, when the country’s wine market
came of age with an eruption of boutique wineries, wine
imports and stores that also led to ‘wine tourism’.
Israel devotes about 12,350 acres to vineyards, the
soils for which can range from volcanic in the north,
Terra Rossa on the coast, chalk and limestone on the
hills and sandy/clay in the south. Such soil conditions,