Israeli Wine brands
Israeli wine is produced by hundreds of wineries, ranging in size from small boutique enterprises to large companies producing over ten million bottles per year. Wine has been produced in the Land of Israel since biblical times.
The location of Israel along a historic wine trading route between Mesopotamia and Egypt brought winemaking knowledge and influence to the area. Wine played a significant role in the religion of the early Israelites with images of grape growing, harvesting and winemaking often being used to illustrate religious ideals.
For most of its history in the modern era, the Israeli wine industry was based predominantly on the production of Kosher wines which were exported worldwide to Jewish communities. The quality of these wines were varied, with many being produced from high-yielding vineyards that valued quantity over quality.
Israel has a distinctly Mediterranean climate and some vineyards in the higher elevation regions of Golan Heights can see snow in the winter months.
After many years where in Israel the wine industry was almost non-existent, the past twenty years herald a change in path. In the late eighties there were only a couple of wineries in Israel, making mostly boiled wines for sacramental use. That is part of the reason why wines from Israel are mistakenly considered to be boiled wines and Israel is not yet considered and recognised to be a wine region as many other countries are. Over the last twenty years, the Israeli wine industry has grown tremendously and today there are around 300 wineries of different sizes in all areas of Israel.
To be considered Kosher, a wine may only be handled by observant Jews from the time the grapes are crushed. If, however, the wine is boiled or pasteurized, it may subsequently be handled by anyone without losing its kosher status. Additionally, kosher wine cannot contain any non-kosher ingredients or fining agents such as isinglass, gelatin or casein. Although not all Israeli wine is kosher, virtually all of the large producers in Israel have kosher certification.