This year was a busy one for Israeli wines, and next year is looking promising as well! Before we crack open a bottle to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, we look back on the achievements, collaborations, special visits and initiatives from the past year in Israel’s wine world.
A year in Israeli wine
Israeli wines featured in the world’s largest wine museum, the Cité du Vin.
The world’s biggest wine museum, the Cité du Vin, opened in Bordeaux, France. Six Israeli wines of excellence were selected by world’s best sommelier, Andreas Larsson, including the Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon 2012.
The October 2016 edition of Wine Spectator Magazine featured – for the first time – extensive coverage on the Israeli wine industry.
The world-renowned Wine Spectator Magazine showcased the Israeli wine industry in its October 2016 edition. Articles covered the transformation of Israeli wines, tasting notes on over 100 Israeli wines and a guide to top wineries. This was the first time that this well-respected publication devoted such considerable coverage to the Israeli wine industry, demonstrating the high regard that Israeli wines now have on the international stage.
The Israel Export Institute brought the best of Israeli wines to Japanese wine lovers with a first-ever Israeli wine tasting event.
After growing interest from Japanese wine lovers in the past few years, the Israel Export Institute organized special wine tasting events in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan. The events featured wines from 22 Israeli wineries and was received with great enthusiasm and excitement. It was a huge success, with an exceptional turnout and even more exceptional responses from locals and wine lovers alike.
Galil Mountain Winery became the next Israeli winery to rebrand, with new labels continuing the nature theme in their brand.
Galil Winery rebranded this year with a fresh, clean look that more closely reflects their winery’s DNA. The new branding reinforces its image as a perfect balance between young and old, novel yet non-pretentious and value for money. It also speaks to the winery’s distinct terrain and the wines they produce.
Award winning sommelier, Mr. Serge Dubs, visited Israel.
Mr. Serge Dubs, who was recognized in 2013 as the best sommelier in the world by the Association de la Sommelier and head sommelier of L’Auberge de l’Ill in Alsace, a 3-starred Michelin restaurant in France, came to visit Israel. The world-renowned sommelier toured the Golan Heights Winery, which has wines featured on the restaurant’s wine menu, and Galil Mountain wineries. Golan Heights’ head winemaker, Victor Schoenfeld, joined the tour, at the end of which Mr. Dubs graciously held a master class for Israel’s up-and-coming young sommeliers. Mr. Dubs learned about the work of Dr. Shivi Drori, from the Gvaot Winery, who has conducted groundbreaking research on indigenous grapes and historical winemaking practices.
Eran Pick, from Tzora winery, became the first Israeli official Master of Wine.
Eran Pick, Winemaker at Tzora Vineyards, is now able to share the prestigious letters MW after his name, an honor shared with only 343 other people in the world. The Institute of Masters of Wine, which was founded in 1953, examines potential MW’s based on their knowledge in Theory, Practical Exams and a final Research Paper. Currently the list of MW’s come from 25 different countries, and after Eran’s recognition as a Master of Wine, Israel is now on that list for the first time.
Recanati Merlot Reserve 2013 won gold at Vinalies Internationales
Israeli wines walked away with 6 medals from this year’s Vinalies Internationales, one of which was a gold medal awarded to the Recanati Winery for their 2013 Merlot Reserve.
Decanter World Wine Awards: 2013 Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon won Platinum Best in Region and Psagot winery won gold.
At this year’s Decanter World Wine awards Psagot winery was honored to receive the lone gold medal won by an Israeli winery, and the Golan Heights Winery received the Platinum Best in Region Award for the Best Red Still Wine in the Middle East, Far East and India for their 2013 Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon.
1st Israeli wine tasting in Kenya
Israeli wines are available in over thirty countries across five continents, and now, thanks to the efforts of BARAKA Israel, that list is expanding. The Israeli – Kenyan company brings the best of Israeli products to Kenya, this year including wines from Golan Heights Winery and Teperberg. They also hosted a wine tasting at Unicorn la Table restaurant in Kileleshwa, Nairobi to show off the wines, which was a hit among local and international wine critics.
First Israeli wine tasting in Kenya
Israeli wine guide awarded Best in World Photography in 2017 International Gourmand Awards.
The 2017 International Gourmand Awards honored The Comprehensive Guide to Israeli Wine with the prize of Best In World Photography award. The book was written by Sagi Cooper, Yair Kornblum Koren and Haim Gan, designed by Studio Keren & Golan and featured photography by David Silverman. This is a collaboration that shows what we can achieve when great minds come together for a common cause.
1600-year-old wine press discovered in Ramat Negev.
Winemaking has a long history in Israel, but much of the local practices were lost during the 7th century, in which alcohol production was banned by conquering Muslims. Part of the country’s wine history puzzle was accidentally discovered this year by a group of workers performing maintenance work in the Ramat Negev region. They came upon a large structure which turned out to be a 1600-year-old wine press from the Byzantine period.
The 2017 harvest began.
The harvest season began around Israel. Wineries around the country are bringing in the grapes that will soon become another award-winning vintage.