Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Wine Route of Israel

How much do you know about the wines and wineries of Israel? Is Manischewitz the only Israeli wine you know? Like many people, you may not really know much. That is partially because Israeli wines often receive little press though that is changing. The Israeli wine industry is about far more than just low quality Kosher wines. High quality Israeli wines are becoming available and it is a wine region that you should learn more about. There are some exciting wines coming from this region.

There are not too many books available about the Israeli wine industry and most international guides devote only a few pages to Israel. But I recently finished reading a book all about Israeli wine, The Wine Route of Israel by Yaron Goldfisher and Eliezer Sacks (Cordinata Publishing House 2006, $54.95). This is a large, coffee table sized book of 208 pages. At a recent Israeli wine tasting, I won this book as a door prize.

The start of this book contains some basic information about Israeli wine, including a history, information on wine culture in antiquity, the basics of the modern Israeli wine industry, Kosher wine, wine terms, and more. Did you know Baron Edmond de Rothschild is considered the founder of the modern Israeli wine industry? Did you know there are over 100 wineries in Israel? Do you know what makes a wine kosher? Did you know that all Israeli wines are not kosher? There is plenty to learn about Israeli wine and this book provides a very good overview.

The majority of the book is broken down into descriptions of about 75 wineries in eight wine regions. For each region, there is a detailed, colored map with the location of the described wineries. For each winery, the book provides information on the winery, vineyards, wine maker, wines, website urls, and more. There are tons of photos throughout the book. This section is a very useful reference source about Israeli wines. I have used it to research some of the wineries from which I have tried their wines.

Yes, this is a bit of a pricey book though that is the norm for coffee table books. It would be nice if there was a smaller edition of this book, one less expensive. But it certainly provides an excellent overview of the Israeli wine industry, an overview you can't find too many other places. The price will limit those wine lovers who buy this book but I would suggest you try to find a copy to read if nothing else. Israeli is an up and coming region that is only going to grow in importance so you should learn more about their wines.

For more information, I would also recommend that you check out Israeli Wine Direct which has an interview with one of the editors, Eliezer Sacks.


Richard Shaffer said...

Richard: I love how you introduce people to parts of the wine world they're not yet familiar with and say "taste here"!

Richard Shaffer

Wine Tasting Guy said...

Great post, as always! Way to ONCE AGAIN be at the forefront of what people everywhere are starting to realize - wine from Israel is on the way up!

BTW - Did you know that Manishewitz is produced in upstate NY, not Israel?


Richard A. said...

Thanks Richard. I strongly believe people should taste everything, and then determine what they like or dislike. Excellent wine can be found everywhere, even if places people may not know much about. But the only way to find those wines is to taste.

The Manishewitz comment was a mistake. I should not have called it an Israeli wine, just a Kosher one. Thanks for the correction and for your commments.