From Ancient Vines to Modern Delights: Israel’s Blooming Winemaking Culture and Enchanting WineTourism

Nestled within Israel’s diverse heritage and ancient landscapes lies a thriving vineyard and winemaking culture that’s gaining international acclaim. The winemaking renaissance in Israel has seen remarkable growth, with intriguing microclimates and terroirs shaping the outcomes. With over 300 wineries, a mix of boutique and larger establishments, dispersed across its terrain, this vibrant winemaking scene intertwines tradition with innovation, crafting wines that eloquently express the distinctive terroirs of various regions, ranging from the northern Golan Heights’ mountains to the warm coastal plains and arid landscapes of the southern Negev Desert, the climatic conditions and soil compositions contribute to the wines’ diverse complexities.

A captivating facet of Israel’s winemaking narrative is the harmonious fusion of modern technology and time-honored methods, particularly in the desert region, where advanced irrigation techniques and cutting-edge viticulture practices have facilitated grape cultivation in unforgiving environments, resulting in exceptional wines that encapsulate the land’s resilience and history.

The Judean Hills, an outstanding viticultural region often dubbed the “Napa Valley of Israel,” is a testament to the nation’s winemaking prowess. Elevation, microclimates, and limestone-rich soils here create an ideal environment for cultivating grapes. The cooling breezes from the Mediterranean Sea and the high altitude collaborate to ensure gradual grape ripening, an essential factor in crafting wines with depth and harmony.

As international recognition for Israeli wines grows, the world appreciates the nation’s adeptness at blending innovation, tradition, and a storied history within each bottle.
Israel produces over 40 million bottles annually, allowing winemakers the freedom to experiment and craft distinctive blends. Every sip of Israeli wine encapsulates not just the craftsmanship of winemaking, but also a piece of a resilient and storied land.

Visiting Israel’s wineries offers a feast to the senses, with an array of experiences where the wine is not only paired with artisanal cheese and hand crafted chocolate, but also with breathtaking views and unique atmosphere. As guests of Eshet, you’re not only invited to savor this experience but to make it your own – Host a private event or gathering within the vineyards’ embrace, meet the masterminds behind the vintages – the winemakers who pour their passion into every bottle, and gain exclusive access to activities that are tailored to elevate your visit to a new level.

While it is quite impossible to select just a few favorites, these are some of the wineries our clients love visiting:

Amphorae Winery (Northern Israel)

Image courtesy of: Amphorae Winery

Follow the beautiful stone road amongst olive trees and vines in the organic Makura Ranch, near Kerem Maharal, on the southern side of Mount Carmel in northern Israel. Surrounded by lushes nature and a magical garden, the winery is housed in a charming stone building, where visitors are welcomed to sit back, relax and enjoy wine tastings accompanied by a rich platter of cheese and fruit. The tastings are being held by a wonderful staff of wine lovers and enthusiasts that know all of the behind-the-wines stories.

Flam (Judean Hills)

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Second generation winemakers, the Flam family manages their winery with great attention to detail and style, maintaining values of sustainability and ecology, thus minimal intervention is practiced in handling the vines, resulting in wines that capture the unique flora characteristics of local agriculture.

The winemakers deepen their exploration of the best suited grape varieties to the local terroir of the Judean hills, an area offering soil rich in minerals and agreeable Mediterranean weather, and one which is leading Israel to new levels of winemaking quality, in the same place where wine was made in ancient times. A visit to the winery includes a tour of the vineyard and explanation on the winemaking methods unique to the area. The crisp mountain air, freshly baked bread, and delectable cheese platter create the perfect companions to the wines.

Nana Vineyards (Negev Desert)

Image courtesy of: Nana Vineyards

Located in Mitzpe Ramon, in the upper section of the Zin River at an altitude of 800m, Nana Vineyards grapes encompass a delightful desert quality and character, drawing from the mineral-rich loess soil and the range of extreme desert temperatures between day and night.

Eran Raz, known by his nickname, Nana, is a Viticulturist who has transformed Mitzpe Ramon into one of the most desirable areas for obtaining grapes. Nana’s dedication to matching the grape variety and growing method to the terroir and desert climate has contributed greatly to the maturation and success of the vineyard. Visitors are warmly invited to savor a glass of wine alongside locally crafted cheese, while immersing themselves in the serene embrace of the desert.