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Wine in Modern Israel

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It’s not a surprise, though it’s often overlooked that for centuries it was the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean was the home of the world’s wine-making culture. Documents from the past show Canaan being among the first nations to drink wine, more than 2500 years prior to when the vine was introduced to Europe.

From Noah, who planted the first grapevines recorded for wine–to the spies who looked over the area and found that it was healthy wine played a significant role in the story of the region of Israel. The prophets of the past spoke about it the wine symbolised God’s plan to redeem. Through the centuries it played an important role in the economics, society and religious traditions throughout Israel to the Jews and , later, Christians.

In the past, Israel had a flourishing wine industry, as evident by the digging of wine presses that were buried and storage vessels. It culminated in the time that was the Second Temple. In the Roman ruin of the Temple led to the exile of Jews away from their homeland, and the once-proud wine industry was dismantled. After the fall of the Temple and the Arab conquerors of the around 600 A.D. and the prohibition of alcohol in Islam led to a number of remaining vineyards throughout the country particularly those in Judea and Samaria to be sacked.

In a brief time, Crusaders in the Holy Land briefly revived the growing of vines and grapes. were planted in areas such as Bethlehem or Nazareth. However, the revival of this land only short time. It was fortunate that after they Crusaders came back to Europe they were able to bring along a variety of noble grape varieties like Chardonnay, Muscat and Shiraz that originated from the Middle East.

When the Ottoman Empire, the wine industry in the Middle East was erased due to the declining prosperity of the region, conflicts, and epidemics that greatly reduced the number of people. A lot of Jews as well as other ethnic groups that had supported the industry of wine left to seek refuge in other countries.

There was still hope for those who wanted to be able to go back again and grow vineyards on the hill that their forefathers had cultivated. A desire to return to the land ignited the souls of many Jews who began to settle within and with their Arab neighbors around the middle of the 19th century. From the time of the Ottoman rule to the present the grapes of the region were cultivated exclusively to be consumed. The revival of wine-making in Israel began in the middle of the 1800s, and grew into a major industry by the 1880’s. It began as an “cottage industry” that made wine at home in order to provide the Kiddush (sacramental) wine to members of the spiritual Jewish community or communion as well as altar wines for Christian pilgrims looking for “wine of The Holy Land.” The first documented evidence of this was found in Jerusalem’s Old City of Jerusalem, in 1848, when the Shor family began producing wine in 1848.
Similar to the grapevines of Israel that began in a variety of ways spread throughout the world, and finally returned to the land in Israel began to begin to “Aliyah” (or “ascent”) return to the land more frequently at the end of the 1800s.

The year 1882 was the time when Jews in 1882 from Russia and Romania created new villages in the region, now called Palestine. They sought financial help through the Baron Edmond de Rothschild, a banker and art collector from Paris who also was the owner of Chateau Lafite located in Bordeaux, France, one of the most well-known wineries in the world.

Baron Rothschild Baron Rothschild offered immigrants financial assistance. He also, as Moses from the Biblical account ordered a study to study the possibilities for agriculture within the “Promised Land”. The suggestion of the experts of his report was that he plant vines and in 1882 they first saw the vineyards established and grew in size. In 1887 Baron Rothschild visited the area which is now Israel at first, and became enthralled by the region around Mount Carmel, the place in which the Bible says Elijah brought down fire from heaven. Rothschild thought that the region may be an area that could be called the Tuscany as well as Provence of Israel and was determined to establish a wine industry. Rothschild recruited the best agriculturalists from France as well as winemaking experts from Bordeaux and the most sophisticated equipment that money could buy to ensure his plan was successful. The first commercial wineries of modern times began in Israel.

The wine industry in Modern Israel

It’s amazing that the rootstock (or the trunk) of a vine can support and produce different kinds of varieties at same at the same time. This is done by grafting grapevines from new varieties onto already existing ones.

The grapevine and the resulting wine is a wonderful symbol for the people of Israel that once was wild, was purged and replanted before it moved back to its initial soil. The country of Israel has been the home of various people groups over the long periods of time and continues to carry the weight of religious, political, and emotional weight and discussion. The year 1948 was the first time Israel became an independent nation. Since then, she has been fighting for her right to settle her territory.
Israel is stunning partly because it is an example of unity and diversity.

A small nation, roughly equal to New Jersey, Israel is situated on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea and is bordered by Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. The country of Israel — with over 8 million, the majority of whom are Jewish, has many significant sites of archaeological significance and are that are revered for Jews, Muslims and Christians alike, and has a lengthy background that includes periods of peace and war.

Similar to the wine industry the food market in Israel has incorporated ingredients, recipes and flavors from all over the world, making Israel (and particularly Tel Aviv) one of the top food destinations in the world. Blending Ashkenazi as well as Sephardic Jewish influence, neighboring Lebanese, Syrian, and Turkish flavours, as well as top quality Arab food, Israel is truly unique in its approach to bringing together various people by their food preferences.

Israel Close Up

In keeping with their diversity, the inhabitants of Israel The winemakers and the grape varieties produced in Israel are varied, distinct and abounding.

In the Second World War, the wine from Israel began to flourish again. When Israel in 1948, there were State of Israel in 1948 14 wineries were that were in operation. There are currently 40 wineries producing 50 tonnes or more 250 boutique wineries as well as numerous “garagiste” or wineries that are domestic with less than 50% of them considered Kosher.

Wine Regions and Wine Varietals

Israel has unique and traditional varieties that are native to the region and also Bordeaux type blends. The three most cultivated varieties that are found in Israel in the present comprise Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Merlot followed by Shiraz, Argaman and Petite Sirah. The majority of the finest red wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Shiraz varieties or Bordeaux blends based mostly around Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The principal white varieties that produce the best white wines in regions are Chardonnay as well as Sauvignon Blanc. There are also some fantastic White Rieslings, Gewurztraminers and Viogniers.

The area belonging to the state of Israel is just 7,992 sq. miles that spans only 263 miles from north to south. Despite its tiny dimensions, Israel is producing some of the finest wines around due in large part, to the traditional Mediterranean climate, which is humid with hot summers and warm dry winters. Israeli wines have competed with wines from old and modern wineries, and have been awarded the distinction of awards and praise.
Israel has the perfect conditions for grapes to grow and the wine-producing regions are split into five regions across Israel: Galilee, Shomron (or “Samaria” in English), Samson, Judean Hills and the Negev.

The Galilee region lies in north Israel it is considered to be one of the top appellations. Two of Israel’s most prestigious wine producing regions are situated in this region, namely The Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights. Galilee is a large part of higher altitude, cooler climate vineyards as well as mountains of forest with peaks that plunge and stone Ridges. It is without doubt that Galilee is the most stunning wine region.

This region in Shomron is often referred to by the name of “Samaria”. It is Israel’s oldest wine producing region. It was initially been replanted in late 1800s. Mount Carmel, Ramat Manashe and the Shomron Hills are part of the Shomron Region. This region enjoys its southern Carmel Mountain range and cooling breezes that flow off of the Mediterranean Sea. The landscape of Shomron is what you imagine when you think of a biblical setting and a number of biblical tales were set in this region.

Samson does not refer to a geographic location and the region of wine is named in honor of the Biblical character who was a frequent visitor to the region. It encompasses the central coastal Judean Plain and Judean Lowlands which lie to the south from Tel Aviv and it features an extremely humid, hot climate. A large portion of the vineyards that produce large volumes of wine originate from the Judean Plain region. The second region, called the Judean Foothills, is the most rapidly growing region, in terms of new vineyards being planted and the start-up of wineries. These hills, which are rolling, with limestone soils are seen on the way from Jerusalem.

Fourth region known as the Judean Hills, is a high-quality, yet underdeveloped wine region that extends from the mountains north of Jerusalem along Gush Etzion to Yatir Forest which is located to the south of Hebron. Cool nights and warm days temperatures define the region. numerous wineries are making wine that has won awards.

The Negev is the desert area which comprises half of the nation of Israel. There are vineyards being planted in the upper regions of the northeast region at Ramat Arad, a semi-arid region, and located in central Negev Highlands. The region is extremely hot in the day, with cooler nights and colder nights. Because of the dryness and absence of humidity, a few ailments can affect the grapes, and the vineyards can be encased by mists in the morning early morning hours.