List of Top Boutique Wineries in Israel Showcases Vino Variety

April 25, 2013 2:54 pm 1 comment

Bottles of Israeli wine. Photo: wiki commons.

Israel has carved out a place on the global wine stage in recent years, much thanks to the impressive multiplication of wineries that have come to dot the country’s landscape.

Sales of Israeli wines stand at $315 million per year, according to Wines Israel, and the country exports some $30 million worth of wine annually. The main importers of Israeli wines are the US, France, the UK, Canada, Poland, Germany and Holland.

“Until 1995, there were just seven boutique wineries in Israel. By 2000, we had 100. Today, there are between 280 and 300,” Oded Shoham of Israel Wine Experience told ISRAEL21c.

“You see people who have fulfilled their dream and you taste it in their wine,” says Shoham, who has been on the forefront of the Israeli wine industry for more than 25 years. “It’s not like buying a bottle off a shelf and not realizing there’s a person and a temperament that stands behind the bottle. It makes it a more interesting story.”

After consulting with “the experts,” Israel21c compiled a list of the top 10 boutique wineries in Israel.

1. Margalit Winery, Caesarea/Upper Galillee

Cabernet-Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet-Franc

Yair Margalit – a chemist turned winemaker — is credited with starting the boutique winery trend in Israel when he founded Margalit Winery in 1989. “He was way ahead of everyone else. He taught everyone else,” says Israeli wine expert Oded Shoham.

The family-run venture on the Mediterranean coast specializes in red Bordeaux blends. The wines constantly reap praise from the world’s best wine experts. Margalit is one of four wineries to score 93 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (Domaine Du Castel, Clos du Gat and Yatir are the others).

“The Margalit winery started as a boutique and never swayed away from that. It stayed small but with extremely high-quality wine. It stayed true to its course and this makes it the best winery in Israel,” says Shoham.

The winery is open to the public in springtime.

2. Clos de Gat, Ayalon Valley

Cabernet, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Chardonnay

Winemaker Eyal Rotem is equally renowned for the way he grows his grapes as for the wine he produces. He invested a lot of time in learning the land and experimenting with grape varieties to produce his top-tier wines.

The name Clos de Gat is a play on words – clos means “enclosed vineyard” in French while gat is the Hebrew word for an antique wine press.

Israel’s preeminent wine expert Daniel Rogov, who passed away in 2011, included Rotem’s wines in every “best of” list he wrote. Rogov called Clos de Gat “a world-class winery, one regularly producing excellent wines.”

Winery visits by appointment only.

3. Domaine Du Castel, Judean Hills

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec, Chardonnay

Eli Ben-Zaken, a former poultry farmer/restaurateur, turned his hobby of winemaking into an award-winning business. Ben-Zaken credits the winery’s success to the family’s personal involvement in all aspects of the business – from viticulture to winemaking, management to distribution.

The winery was established in 1998. The vineyards are at an average altitude of 700 meters in the Judean Hills.

In the December 2012 version of Parker’s Wine Advocate annual tasting of Israeli wines, he highlights Domaine du Castel as one of the “most successful wineries over the [past] five years . . . Castel has had no less than 13 wines being awarded 90 points or more.”

Winery visits by appointment only.

See the rest of the list here.

1 Comment

  • glenda urmacher

    would love to put together a wine tour of Israel sometime in the future.
    write occasionally about wine regions that I have visited.
    happy drinking,
    glenda

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Education Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    JNS.org – My wife Suzy and I will never forget our wedding day. It was not just the uplifting ceremony and beautiful party that left an indelible mark. Some life-altering advice that we received from one of our guests informed and shaped our lives from that day forward. My high school teacher, Rabbi Moshe Yagid, pulled us aside just before the chuppah and challenged us to choose one mitzvah that would be the foundation of our marriage and our lives. He explained [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    JNS.org – Influenced by his Jewish upbringing and a summer on a kibbutz, basketball coach David Blatt is embarking on his highest-profile challenge yet: coaching LeBron James, the four-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player who has made waves for returning to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. After guiding Israel’s storied Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball franchise to its 51st Israeli league championship and 6th Euroleague title this past season, Blatt landed the Cavaliers head-coaching job in June. Just weeks later, [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    JNS.org – At the turn of the century, a young Jewish immigrant arrived in New York. So begins the history of many American Jewish families. It is 27-year-old Albert Allaham’s story, too, with a few unusual twists. Albert’s “century” is the 21st—he arrived almost 100 years after the massive waves of European Jewish immigration. Rather than coming from a small town along the Danube river, his shtetl was Damascus. His first American business was not a pushcart on the Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    Did you know that in the entire Bible, only one birthday is mentioned and it is that of Pharaoh? And did you know that according to some scientists, by accepting Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, it is impossible to prove or disprove that the sun is the gravitational center of our solar system? In his new book, REBBE, best-selling author Joseph Telushkin reveals many surprising and sometimes shocking details as he chronicles the life and teachings of the charismatic Rabbi [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Mitzvos New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    JNS.org – Omelet sandwich: 5 shekels. Iced coffee: 5 shekels. Tuna sandwich: 5 shekels. Fresh-squeezed orange juice: 5 shekels. Cheese bureka: 5 shekels. There’s plenty more on the Cofizz menu, but you get the idea. Dani Mizrahi and Amir Amshalm, two Israeli men in their early 30s, asked themselves: Why not launch a take-out food joint in busy neighborhoods around Jerusalem where everything—and that means everything—goes for five shekels, or about $1.50. They’d seen the concept take off in Tel Aviv, where [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    The new FX Network drama Tyrant was shot entirely in Israel, just 10 miles north of Tel Aviv, Bloomberg News reported last Tuesday. Tyrant follows the life of an Arab dictator’s second son Barry, played by Adam Rayner, who reluctantly returns home to the Middle Eastern nation of his birth to join the family business away from his suburban life in America. The elaborate set production for the primetime drama included a crew of 300 and a reported cost of over $3 million [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Skokie, Il-born 25-year-old Erin Heatherton (Erin Heather Bubley) is rocking the modeling world. And in a new interview accompanying a cover spread for Miami’s Ocean Drive magazine, she says Jewish moms are “constantly trying to set her up with their sons.” Imagine that – who would have thought? “The moms, they’re doing what they do. It doesn’t matter what country they live in, what city – grandmothers, too,” she admitted. “But I’m probably going to do that too one day.” Heatherton was [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Israel First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    Some 15 Turkish university professors and lecturers will take part in a first of its kind seminar at Holocaust museum Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies starting next week. The trip is especially significant as Holocaust denial is rampant in the Arab world. A Palestinian professor was recently forced to resign after he led a trip to the Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz. Participants in the week-long program at Yad Vashem will experience in-depth tours of the museum’s archives and [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.