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Israeli Winemakers Strive for Greatness

Israeli winemakers

Israeli wine
The vineyards of the Flam Winery one of nine Israeli producers we interviewed


Israeli wine

Wine has been made in Israel since biblical times. The book of Deuteronomy lists seven blessed species of fruit, including “the fruit of the vine.” Israel’s Mediterranean climate boasts many microclimates, which foster a diversity of wine styles.

The modern Israeli wine industry was greatly influenced by Baron Edmond James de Rothschild, owner France’s Château Lafite Rothschild. He started making wine in Israel in the late 19th Century, importing French vine varieties and winemaking knowledge, and founding Carmel Winery, today the largest wine estate in Israel.

By the late 1980s, most Israeli wine was low quality, used for sacramental purposes. But the 1990s saw a huge boom in the establishment of quality-focused boutique wineries that were taking an artisanal approach. Today there are hundreds of wineries producing in aggregate over 10 million bottles per year. Three producers are responsible for 80 percent of the production: Carmel, Barkan, and Golan Heights Winery.

We spoke to nine Israeli quality wine producers about the wines they make, their individual path into winemaking, and their terroir.

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