5 must-see wineries in Israel
From the sommelier to the casual drinker, these award-winning wineries offer something for everyone.
Since the 1990s, the Israeli wine industry has seen remarkable growth in not only its number of wineries, but also in exports and recognition from around the globe. A mixture of soils - from terra rossa and gravel to volcanic - coupled with varying altitudes and temperature, have made the region a center of wine production for more than 2,000 years. Today, more than 300 wineries of different sizes can be found throughout Israel. Below, we take a virtual tour of five wineries in Israel that feature impressive tasting rooms in addition to vintages stretching from Cabernet Sauvignon to Pinot Noir.
(Photo: Amphorae Winery)
Located in the heart of the Western Carmel region, one of world's oldest areas of wine production, the Amphorae winery looks like it was plucked from a Tuscany postcard. Set against the slopes of the Carmel mountains, gorgeous stone buildings house both the visitors' center and the production area. Besides the standard tours and wine tastings, Amphorae also offers organic honey, olive oil and a variety of wine-making equipment. Using grapes from three vineyards totaling more than 20 acres, the winery produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc.
(Photo: Jezreel Valley Winery)
Started in 2011 as Israel's first "startup boutique winery," Jezreel has made a name for itself not only as a modern winemaker embracing state-of-the-art production practices, but also for its use of native grapes – such as the Israeli-created Argaman. The winery features a beautiful tasting room that was once an abandoned garage and also regularly hosts concerts and special tasting events. Wines produced include Chardonnay, RedBlend, Syrah, Argaman and Gewurztraminer.
(Photo: Galil Mountain Winery)
Overlooking a scenic landscape atop the Upper Galilee mountain range, the Galil Mountain winery features a modern visitors' center of glass, wood and steel situated in the heart of its extensive vineyards. It also features one of the best winemaking tours in all of Israel, with an extensive look at everything from the stainless steel vat room to the modern grape press to the oak barrel room. The winery produces 14 award-winning vintages, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Syrah.
Winner of a multitude of prestigious international awards, Golan Heights is one of Israel's largest and most popular wineries. Spanning 28 vineyards (more than 1,500 acres), the winery cultivates 21 varieties of wine grapes using state-of-the-art technology and modern viticulture practices. Its expansive visitors center is highly regarded for its attention to detail with the winemaking process and in-depth workshops. Golan Heights is also on the cutting edge of propagation, working with the Entav of France to develop varieties of vines that are disease-resistant.
(Photo: Flickr/Orl Hitch/Creative Commons)
Founded in 1882, Carmel is both Israel's oldest and largest winery - producing more than 15 million bottles annually from more than 3,000 acres of vines. Within Carmel's newly renovated Center for Wine and Culture, you'll find a restaurant, two specialist tasting rooms, a small cinema and a barrel room from one of the historic cellars. The winery is also close to the gorgeous city of Zichron Ya’akov - so visitors can spend plenty of time sipping wine while overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
MORE FROM THE GRAPEVINE: