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Israeli Wine

Naomi Miller, MIBA, Director of Israel Partnerships

Wine was produced in Israel as early as biblical times; its bounty is referred to in Genesis as, “an abundance of grain and new wine” (Chapter 27).  In the ancient land of Israel wine was a dietary staple and often symbolized prosperity and vitality, in addition to being used for ritual purposes.  The spies sent by Moses to check the potential homeland for the Israelites returned with enormous bunches of grapes as proof of the land’s agricultural richness.

Israel’s modern wine industry began in the late nineteenth century under Baron Edmond de Rothschild, who imported French grapes and technology and established the Carmel Winery.  This flagship enterprise is still operational today and is Israel’s largest producer of wine. The last three decades have seen a renaissance in quality wine making, with over 300 boutique wineries founded throughout the country, from the Golan and Galilee in the north to the Negev Desert in the south.

The Israeli sun, along with a combination of mountainous and hilly areas with diverse soils, cool Mediterranean winds and advanced drip irrigation technology makes the country a viticulture paradise.  Many creative Israeli wines and blends have been recognized in the international arena. At the prestigious Decanter Wine Awards this year, Israeli wines won 57 awards.