Israel has seen an explosion in the area of wine production and whilst wineries have existed in Eretz Yizrael since biblical times, it is really in the last 25 years that the quality of wines has become world renowned with international recognition and numerous accolades.
The most common areas of wine production in Israel tends to be in the region of the Golani, The Galilee, Samaria and Judean hills and the area of the Negev.
The Golan region is a perfect location due to its cool breeze, elevated position yet warm climate. The Negev by complete contrast is a desert region with a dry arid terrai. Wine production here has been made available due to the innovative irrigation technology that Israel has perfected over the years.
Many of the grape varieties are now grown in Israel which is perfect because this now means that Israel not only has the history of wine but the future too!
The largest area of grape production tends to be around the area just south of Haifa close to Binyamina. It is now thought that there are up to 250-300 wineries around Israel producing commercial wines ranging from large exporters to small boutique vintners.
We have listed below a small but by no means complete list of wineries for you to discover.
Israel is making significant dents in the wine world, though it should come as no surprise given that wine making is really a speciality. Lets not forget that Israel has been making wine since Biblical times. So it seems only natural that whilst it took some time to catch up after a hiatus, it has now become a major player on the world wine circuit once more.
Many Israelis have returned to their homeland, after years overseas, studying and practicing their craft. As a result, you'll find fresh new boutique wineries producing award winning wines enjoyed all over the world.
Take a look at our breakdown of wine regions for an deeper insight.
In Moshav Matta, in the heart of the Judean Hills, a small cellar became a boutique winery. It all started in 2002 as a therapeutic pursuit, and evolved into a dream fulfilled by Nevo after a tragic and moving back story.
The grapes are grown in the moshav vineyards at 700 meters above sea-level, in small plots of mineral rich earth, with low, controlled yield. The wine is hand crafted with advanced technology, combining old and new worlds. Due to ample rain fall, warm days and cool nights, Nevo Winery cultivates unique wines where our forefathers grew thier wine grapes.
In late summer, the tension can be felt in the air as Nevo, along with his wife and children, prepare for the harvest. While most wineries harvest according to the level of sugar in the grapes,
Nevo Winery harvests according to the level of acidity in order to achieve both complex wine flavor and long drinking windows.
Nevo is insistent about harvesting by hand, at night, so the heat of the day doesn’t cause the freshly picked grapes to start fermenting before they’re ready.
As soon as the daily tasting and testing shows that the grapes have reached their optimal pH, three generations of the Hazan family don headlamps and enter the excitement of harvest mode. Adults gently cut off the grape clusters. Children run the buckets of grape clusters to the central repository, where they are soon crushed and destemmed.
Over an average of five to seven years, the grapes progress from vine to vat to barrel to bottle. Nevo wines are not mevushal (boiled) in order to give the customers the opportunity to experience the living, vibrant taste of Israel and its fruit.
Each Nevo Winery vintage has its own story, where planned precision meets intuitive spontaneity. Every single barrel is carefully and personally selected in France, and then imported to complement and enhance the flavor of the wine. Nevo employs a practice for some vintages of aging wine for two years in one type of barrel and then switching to an alternate barrel for the remaining three years in order to achieve a complex flavor. He has also created varietals (single-grape wines) from grape varieties used almost exclusively for blends, and they’ve turned out to be some of the most marvelous wines he has ever produced.
The vines are planted at an altitude of 700 meters in a special vineyard and are treated with extra care. This area is ideal for growing wine grapes, combining the warm sun, cool nights, mineral-rich soil and adequate rainfall. Using a special growth method, in which the grapes are diluted and aired, allowing the winemaker to pay special attention to each and every cluster. This growing method makes a more concentrated fruit with rich flavors and bright colors, which ensures production of high quality and long lasting wines. The grapes are harvested in the early morning when they reach phenolic ripeness and desired concentration level.
After carefully sorting the grapes they are separated by series and then go through a gentle crushing. They then go in to 5 weeks of fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, while being stirred frequently with the skins in order to extract maximum colors and flavors. The wine is then put in French oak barrels for aging in the cellar.
The winemaking is done by manual labor with the help of advanced technology, which combines an old world and new world.
The Flam winery was established in 1998 by Golan, Gilad Flam and their mother Kami, with the vision of producing wine at the highest international quality.
Golan and Gilad absorbed their love for wine from their father, Israel, one of the country's wine industry pioneers. Their mother, Kami, has contributed greatly to the development of the family’s winery, harnessing her business experience for the task. The younger sister to the Flam clan, Gefen, joined in and added her young and innovative approach.
The unique combination of accumulated family knowledge of winemaking, experience, and never-ending passion for wine has placed the Flam family as the first wine family of Israel.
The story of FLAM winery is a family story. A family that lives, breathes and produces wine for more than 50 years. Surrounded by vineyards, the FLAM Winery is located at the heart of the Judean Hills surrounding Jerusalem, between the Kisalon river and the Kdoshim forest. The winery operates in the classic European Family Estate model.
Working the land and attending the vine stands at the core of the FLAM winery. The winery cultivates the same vineyards year after year. This meticulous and consistent work in the vineyards yields an intimate relationship, essential to produce authentic and terroir-driven wines.
Flam have made a habit, throughout the years, of keeping a few bottles of every vintage for ageing in the winery’s cellar. Time does wonders to Flam wines. The traditional practices in the vineyards and classical winemaking doctrines that Golan follows gives the Flam wines an impressive ageing potential. The bottles rest in the deep cellar, continue to slowly develop in optimal conditions. Now, for the first time, and in very limited amounts, Flam Winery offer these wines for sale, inviting you all to take a peak at their own family collection.
Sam pelter immigrated from the USA in 1970, and together with his wife Tiva established a farm in the agricultural community of Tzofit. All the family's members share the farming, raising greenhouse flowers, peanuts and olive trees.
It was a natural course of events for working the land to continue into the second generation. Tel Pelter, returning from viniculture studies in Australia, manifested his passion for wine production by establishing an Israeli winery together with his brotherNir.
In 2001 the family winery commenced operations in Tzofit, and four years later, when the family moved to the Golan Heights, they resettled their winery. The proximity to their vineyards allows the, to stay connected with the land, planting, sampling, pruning, cultivating and harvesting.
In the past decade, phase by phase, the winery has expanded from 4,000 bottles each year its current production of 150,000 bottles annually. As the PelterWinery grew, the family began looking towards new horizons. The kosher winery and alcohol distillery allow experimenting with new varieties diverse raw materials and accessing new audiences and markets.
Pelter Wines and sprits combine experience, skill and intuition. Balancing grape varieties, vineyards and barrels allows them to produce unique wines and beverages imbued with the depths of local flavours. A true family business.
Since establishing the winery, the Pelter Winery activities have exponentially grown without compromising an iota as far as the winery's quality and identity.
The patience employed in production, and close attention to the finest details all stages of their work, from choosing grapes to customer service. it is clear they love their work and remain curious about innovation, constantly exploring new worlds.
The extensive wine collection is available in a range of crisp whites, rosé and fruity reds using grapes harvested from the hills of Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and Upper Galilee.
Worth a visit for a wine tasting experience and tour of the winery and distillery.
In the heart of the Galilee Mountains, above endless rows of pomegranate orchard, lies this unique winery offering a high quality range of award wining wines and other products made from the Rimon, otherwise known as the pomegranate. They offer an onsite visitors centre and work shops and this is a really cool way to spend a couple of hours having some alternative fun, learning the process, enjoying some tasty products and purchasing some unique gifts!
Somek is a small family winery founded in 2002 by Barak and Hila Dahan. The ethos was to produce the highest quality wines possible from the family's vineyards. Each Somek wine you open is the end result of a long, labor intensive, enjoyable process where the grapes, sun, soil, wind & rain have come together to create the perfect wines. They offer a comprehensive & very professional tour conducted by the owner and vintner of the winery Barak Dahan together with a spot of tasiting.