At the same time as Israel’s culinary scene continues to thrive, the fruit of the vine goes big-time as Israeli wine continues to rack up international acclaim. Today, more than 200 local wineries are producing an impressive selection of varietals, from deep down in the Negev to way up in the Golan Heights. Come for the wining, stay for the dining at one of Golan Height’s top restaurants, farms and vineyards. Below, you'll find a few of the most notable producers, divided by region.
Divine Israeli wine
After studying oenology in Western Australia, Tal Pelter the founder of this winery and his brothers put forward an idea to bring premium wines to the masses. The outcome is a pure reflection of skilful Australian wine culture coupled with the wineries family roots. With every sip, you can taste the roots, and every step feel the spirit of Israel’s Golan Heights.
The Golan Heights Winery is attributed with being responsible for the country’s wine revolution. In 1983, the wine connoisseurs at Golan brought New World winemaking techniques to Israel and began offering homegrown quality table wines, some of which are now considered the world’s finest wines. Take a wine-tasting tour and visit the oak barrel cellar or else hop into a jeep for a tour of the vineyards themselves to learn about the different grape varieties.
This organic winery overlooks the Kinneret and the Lower Galilee, offering a gorgeous view of all the bounty of the North. For over 12 years, this winery has been known for their superb organic grapes that come from their vineyard in Kibbutz Zivon on the slopes of Mount Meiron. Also noteworthy is their attention to detail, such as the music selection they play for the grapes through the entire winemaking process.
Understanding the value and vigor of a good bottle of wine, the family owned Flam Winery take care of its four vineyards in the way one would take care of their children. Nurturing, supporting and loving. If you’re after an intimate tasting room experience situated close to Beit Shemesh, about 15 miles outside Jerusalem, and the famous “Classico” spicy Cabernet blend, then sit back surround yourself with the gorgeous views of the Judean Hills, and relax from life’s stress – something only wine can cure.
Just a few steps away from the town of one of Israel’s most magnificent villages, Zichron Yaakov, and it's gorgeous promenade lined with quaint stores and cafes - lies Somek Winery. The variety of grapes born at Somek Estate Winery are handpicked every morning as early as possible, by friends and volunteers. Close proximity to the winery allows for the grapes to be processed immediately through old-fashioned barrel press moved by hand, not tubes. You won’t get more authentic than this.
Nestled atop the Upper Galilee mountain range, one of Israel’s highest of more than 1,000 meters above sea level. This breathtaking spot is a fitting foundation for the quality grapevines to thrive in this soil and climate. It’s a mixture of technology and spirit: six area vineyards, state-of-the-art production and highly skilled expertise make Galil Mountain Winery an award-winning establishment you can’t miss.
It’s hard to believe that Vitkin Winery is only 15 years old. If you’re after a new-age legacy winery set in an old refurbished cowshed remodeled by the owners, the progenies of Kfar Vitkin’s founding families – then this one’s for you. All the grapes are sourced from all over the country, fused, blended and mixed to create Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Johannesburg Riesling, Petite Syrah, Carignan, Viognier and of course, Gewurztraminer. Head on over for a guided tour of Vitkin’s wine production and peep the spirit of its offering, don't forget the famous barrels room too.
Established in 1985, Tishbi Winery situated in the gorgeous Zichron Ya’akov, grew from humble beginnings to a much-admired internationally acclaimed winery. Tishbi Estate Winery offers a tasting center including delicious chocolate pairings, and guided wine tours in Hebrew and English. Pop by the restaurant and see for yourself why the winery produces approximately 1,000,000 bottles every year.
While it’s a known fact for Israeli wineries to have firm kibbutz roots, many people underestimate how agriculturally progressive and skilled these communal villages are. Started by Ronnie James, a former Kibbutz Tzora member, Tzora Winery is located in a residential spot in the heart of Judean Hills. Dig into its eight different varieties of wines, from Gewurtztraminer to Cabernet Sauvignon – and relax in its tasting room. Say cheese!
Where in the world can you find a winery situated in the northeastern Negev at the foot of the Israelite Tel Arad Fort, an archaeological site with 3,000 years of history? Right here in Israel, of course. Yatir Winery emphasizes the singularity of the region in its wines, creating a pride-driven frontier for winemakers to thrive by using vineyards that are special and unique. From the best land plots, to the cultivation of grape varieties and exceptional harvesting processes, this highly acclaimed and celebrated winery is a must-see for local and international wine lovers from all over the world.