Skip to content

A Guide To Israel Wine

The background of winemaking throughout the east of the Mediterranean dates back to the beginning of time, but the modern Israeli business has been booming over the past few years.

White wines have seen a dramatic improvement in terms of quality. Rhone variety and the hybrid varieties are pushing over Cabernet blends. Native grapes are beginning to achieve commercial results.

The winemakers who have traveled abroad have returned with an open mind to experiments. This has led to an era of innovation has sprung up in this vibrant and diverse Mediterranean country. This trend will probably determine the direction of Israel’s wine industry into to the end of. Here are some most important trends to be watching.

White Wine

Seventy percent of wine grapes that are grown within Israel are red and red, and with Cabernet Sauvignon leading the way. But, the demand for Israeli white wines both at home and in the world is on the rise.

“It’s as if someone flicked an on and said, “Wow we live in an extremely hot climate, and we should really be drinking white wine cold”” declares Joshua Greenstein, an executive vice-president of the Israel Wine Producers Association trade group.

Freshness and acidity are crucial and the most excellent examples come from vineyards at high altitudes. Apart from Chardonnay as well as Sauvignon Blanc, there are excellent examples of Gewurztraminer from producers such as Psagot, Jezreel, Tabor and Golan Heights Winery.

Rhone-style whites such as Recanati’s Special Reserve white blend and Netofa’s Roussanne have also gained traction.
Rhone-Style Reds

“Mediterranean kinds are best suited to our climate and terroirs,” says Gil Shatsberg the executive vice president of Recanati. “Early maturing grapes and the ability to keep natural acidity even in hot conditions are an advantage in making top-quality wines that go well with our local culinary traditions.”

This covers both blends and bottlings made of varietals like Grenache Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre. The best examples of Syrah/Shiraz are from producers like Ramot Naftaly Winery, Pelter Winery, Binyamina Winery, Shiloh Winery and Tulip Winery and blends are a staple at Jezreel Valley Winery, Hayotzer and Dalton Winery.

Boutique Wineries

The four biggest producers – Barkan Wine Cellars Carmel Winery, Teperberg Winery and Golan Heights Winery – account for almost 50% of Israel wine production of between 40 and 45 million bottles annually. Since the late 1970s, there’s an increase in the number of proprietor-owned craft wineries that produce as much as 30,000 bottles per year.

It was Dr. Yair Margalit, who created Margalit Winery in 1989, is believed to be the father of Israel’s tiny-winery industry. They focus upon quality, style, and expression. They also experiment with methods of winemaking, blends that are proprietary along with grape varietals.

Small-scale producers like Kishor Winery, Agur Winery, Shvo Vineyards, Alexander Winery, Ephod Winery, Nadiv Winery, Odem Mountain Winery and Gush Etzion Winery are racing to the top of Israel’s wine industry.

The Vines of the Desert

One of the most dry wine regions on earth in Israel’s Negev (Hebrew meaning “dry”) first began producing grapes around two thousand years ago. It was cultivated by the Nabateans who were a nomadic tribe who constructed stone dams in order to redirect rains towards their vineyards. With more than forty wineries. This deserted area that lies between Egypt and Jordan has altitudes up to 2,950 feet. This provides cool nights that help preserve the acidity.

One of the top producers in the region are Yatir Winery, founded in 2000 in a partnership with local farmers as well as Carmel Winery. The red wines of the company are sparkling, given the topography of the vineyards and climate.

Another one that stands out is Midbar The Hebrew word meaning “desert.” The winemaker Shachar Landman pulls incredible levels of freshness from dry soils in his blends of white and red wine.

Native Grapes

Israeli winemakers have old indigenous varieties like Marawi, Bittuni, Jandali, Baladi and Dabouki, which were long believed to be extinct.

Recent discoveries made by researchers such as ElyashivDrori from Ariel University have led to their discovery and propagation. Cremisan Winery, on the frontier between Israel along with in the West Bank, is one of the top producers of indigenous grapes. Sales for these vino support people who are Salesian Monks. The winemaking team is comprised of Italian monks, under the supervision guidance of the consultant Riccardo Cotarella.

Ido Lewinsohn MW Head winemaker of Barkan Segal, also works with Marawi and Marawi, while Teperberg Winery uses the native Dabouki variety to make the production of its Inspire White.


After their mandatory military service, a large number of Israelis go abroad for a year, before returning home and start a new job.

Winemakers will find many things to learn about in Europe and in the United States and Australia, and come back looking forward to trying new fermentation methods or grapes.

Yehuda Nahar who is CEO and winemaker at Jezreel Winery, creates wines made from Argaman an ancestor of Souzao as well as Carignan.

Argaman meaning “crimson” to Hebrew is a wine that was developed by Israeli agriculturalists in order to create deep-colored wine. It is frequently added to blends that are cheap. But, Nahar and a few like-minded fellows from the country have produced premium blends and bottlings of varietals using the grape.

Then, at Segal, Lewinsohn has introduced techniques like whole-cluster and native yeast fermentation. These methods are a part of the traditional method to make wine, they were pushed out of fashion when winemaking became an industrial process.

wines with a Mission

A growing number of consumers are looking to buy from companies that contribute in the communities they serve, which is a trend that has not been overlooked by the Israeli wine industry. Two notable wines can be found in Kishor and Tulip both of which provide assistance to those with special needs.

Kishor lies within Kibbutz Kishorit Community, which is for adults with special needs. Kibbutz members are employed all year round and a committed team is brought in during the harvest season. Kishor’s tasting rooms feature baking and cheese products created by members of the community.

Tulip winery was established within Kfar Tikva, the “Village of Hope” where adults live with emotional and developmental disabilities. The residents are part of and work at the winery, primarily when it comes to harvesting and the labeling the bottles. Both wineries produce a range of red and white wines.


In the forefront in the forefront is Golan Heights Winery. The vineyards were among the first ones in Israel to be certified for sustainable wine-growing. Its cellars for barrels as well as the bottled wine storage facility and bottling hall are covered with solar panels. Winery officials claim that two-thirds its energy use comes from the sun.

Tabor Winery, under the direction of its general manager and chief Agronomist Michal Akerman. The winery has been working to restore wildlife to the vineyard to restore the ecosystem through using sustainable cultivation techniques. The new logo of the winery is a barn owl that symbolizes the return of many wild animals, and their importance to the quality of soil.