Wine production in Israel dates back thousands of years. The vine is one of the Seven Species of the Land of Israel, and across the country ancient wine presses have been uncovered at archaeological sites. Israel has both large wineries, many small boutique wineries and family run wineries. Several of Israel’s wineries have crafted award winning wines.
On a wine tour of Israel, you can visit several wineries in Israel’s most famous wine regions, include wine tasting, see inside the wine cellars and maybe even tour the vineyards. If this is not your first time in Israel, then you may choose to take an extended tour of Israeli wineries, and include several regions. Each region in Israel has its own micro-climate, ideal for a particular grape variety. Being an elongated country, Israel is blessed with wet, cooler weather in the north, a mild climate in the center and arid desert conditions in the south; so several types of grapes can be grown in this one small country.
Israeli Wine Regions
The Golan Heights’ high altitude, rich soil and cool climate make it perfect for viniculture. There are many fantastic wineries in the lush countryside of the Golan Heights including the international award winning Golan Heights Winery. They have a Visitors Center in Katzrin, wine tasting and tours of the winery. The Golan Heights Winery was established over 30 years ago and today exports to countries around the world.
The Upper Galilee is one of the best wine regions in Israel and one of the most beautiful. The region has pastoral landscapes, gourmet restaurants, artists’ galleries and wineries producing a wide variety of wines. Pair the Galilee wines with locally produced cheese and other artisan cuisine.
The Carmel Winery in the Carmel Hills was founded by Edmond Rothschild in 1882; today it is Israel’s largest winery, exporting to over 40 countries around the world. The winery is located in the picturesque town of Zichron Ya’akov and their vineyards are spread out over several regions. They harvest approximately 25,000 tons of grapes each year.
The Judean Lowlands is the fastest growing wine region in Israel, with many newly planted vineyards and newly established wineries. The region of rolling hills, is 500-1000 meters above sea level, and sees warm days and cold nights with snow in the winter. The soil is perfect for Cabernet and other late-ripening grapes.
Even in the southern region of the Negev, there are thriving wineries like the Yatir Winery, located in the heart of the desert on the slopes, rising to the Judean Mountains. The vineyards are spread across various plots, in the Yatir Forest, and each plot produces red grapes with distinct characteristics, according to the plot’s location in the forest.
Through Israel’s wine country, you can see a different side of the Israel, enjoy idyllic scenery and have a unique experience.