Grapes on the vine
Israel’s wine and wineries have developed hugely over the bast decade into a world-class network of wineries stretching across the country. The country has recently become a major center on the world wine-making map with more than 200 wineries scattered across the country, from the Tuscan-esque Galilee in northern Israel to the more barren Negev Desert. Some of Israel’s wineries are very historic, have playing an important part in the formation of the State, whilst others are newer, boutique enterprises set up by passionate Israelis from all kinds of backgrounds. Most Israeli wineries are open to visitors in one way or another, whether it be a visitors center in the larger wineries, or a visit to the makers home in a boutique winery, and wine tours in Israel are a perfect way to explore them.
Visiting Israel’s wineries
If you wish to include a visit to a one of Israel’s wineries on your trip to Israel, check ahead, and you’ll be sure to pass one (or more) on your journey around the country. The country has five wine regions, and you will find wineries across the country, even the Negev Desert has a wine route. If you wish to make a day (or more) out of visiting wineries, it is a good idea to aim to visit around four in a day, and no more than five. Remember, do not drink and drive (the law in Israel is very strict about this), and if you want to taste wines, you should consider a wine tour where you will have a driver and expert guide leading your day.
Famous Wineries in Israel
Among the most famous wineries in Israel are the names below. These each have visistor centers which are easily accessible
Golan Heights Winery Visitors Center
A high alititude, cold winters, lots of sun, and rich soil make the Golan Heights a perfect wine-making region. The Golan Heights Winery is one of Israel’s largest and most well-respected wineries producing under the Golan, Yarden, and Gamla labels. With a large visitors center, this is one of a few wineries really geared up to wine-lovers. Visits include a tour of the winery, as well as a movie, and wine tasting. Visits should be booked: 04-6968435. Katzrin Industrial Estate, Katzrin
Binyamina Winery Visitors Center (Coastal Plain nr Zichron Yaakov)
In the town of Binyamina, on the coastal plain close to Caesarea and Zichron Yaakov, the Binyamina Winery visitor center is in an old perfume factory established by the Baron Rothschild early on in the establishment of Israel. The visitor center is fairly new, and visits include a tour, film explanation, and of course, wine tasting. 04-6388643, binyaminawines.com. Hanasi St, Binyamina
Tishbi Winery Visitors Center (Coastal Plain nr Zichron Yaakov)
Located near Zichron Yaakov on the coastal plain, the Tishbi Winery was first established by the Baron Edmund de Rothschild over 100 years ago who commissioned the Tishbi family to grow grapes. The name has now changed, and the winery, tranquilly located at the base of Mount Carmel has one other unique feature. That is, visitors can come to the winery, and fill up containers of their own with Tishbi for 19NIS per litre. The center offers guided tours and also has a restaurant. 04-6288195, tishbi.com.
Tabor Winery Visitors Center (Lower Galilee)
A small, boutique winery, the Tabor Winery is located in the village of Kfar Tabor in the Lower Galilee with its vineyards growing on the slopes of Mount Tabor. This vineyard is very traditional in its agricultural methods, and only uses local materials including water. Next to the visitors center which offers full tours, is a marzipan museum and restaurant. 04-6760444, twc.co.il. Signed from entrance of Kfar Tabor
Wine Tours in Israel
Removing the need to be concerned about drinking and driving, and enabling you to maximise your time, led by an expert guide, wine tours can be arranged either devoted to wineries, or as a stop on another itinerary (for example, a tour to Caesarea and Haifa is well suited to a stop at a winery, as is possible on a Negev Tour). Read more about wine tours in Israel here.