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...

  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    In a strong statement that challenges the historic divide between Christianity and Judaism, Pope Francis recently proclaimed, “Inside every Christian is a Jew.” But if you look at Renaissance artworks that depict Jesus, you will not find any evidence of a Jew inside the Christianized Jesus — even though the Gospels in the New Testament tell us that Jesus was Jewish to the core. Getting that point across to the public is a daunting task, as I learned in interviews I [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Recycling His Roots

    Recycling His Roots

    JNS.org – Having started his career playing on his family’s pots and pans, Jewish musician Billy Jonas has maintained this homemade performance ethic while spreading his messages of simple living and environmentalism to a shared home throughout the world. After beginning in the kitchen, Jonas soon moved to the music room, where he picked up the piano, guitar, and trombone. These days, the multi-talented multi-instrumentalist plays on with pretty much anything he can find, including cans, bottles buckets, and other recycled-object [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    JNS.org – Sara Davidson’s The December Project is a new book that should be read by all senior citizens, and by those who hope to live a long life, for it raises a question that most of us have not been taught how to answer: What should we do in that final stage of our lives? Many of us continue working past the traditional retirement age of 65, not because we need the money and not because we find the [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish History Why the Holocaust Occurred in Germany, and Why So Few Resisted (REVIEW)

    Why the Holocaust Occurred in Germany, and Why So Few Resisted (REVIEW)

    It’s hard to make a new contribution to the field of Holocaust studies,  but German historian Götz Aly accomplishes just that in Why the Germans, Why the Jews? His premise is that the origins of the Holocaust were rooted in the specific anti-Semitism found in Germany in the decades and centuries before World War II. Aly (who is not Jewish) seeks to prove his theory by studying only pre-Holocaust history, and tracing how the German people’s envy and hatred of [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Looking at Anti-Israel Celebrities and Their Brands

    Looking at Anti-Israel Celebrities and Their Brands

    JNS.org – During the current conflict in Gaza a number of celebrities have voiced their opinions in support of either the Israeli or Palestinian positions. But others—be it during Operation Protective Edge or at other times—have gone further than simply supporting the Palestinians by actively supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, making false accusations about the Jewish state, ignoring Israel’s position on the conflict, or justifying the actions of the terrorist group Hamas. Many of these [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Israeli UFC Fighter Returns to Jewish State to Rejoin IDF

    Israeli UFC Fighter Returns to Jewish State to Rejoin IDF

    JNS.org – Days after winning his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight bout against Steven Siler on July 26, Israeli-born mixed martial arts competitor Noad Lahat boarded a plane for his native country, choosing to temporarily exit UFC’s octagonal cage to rejoin the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as a paratrooper for its operation against Hamas in Gaza. Except he didn’t actually consider it a choice. “When [our] home is in danger, there is no other way for us [but to serve [...]

    Read 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 →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.