On Wednesday, August 25th, I enjoyed the day touring around a few Jerusalem Hills wineries on my own.I started the day at Tzuba Winery, where Yael, the manager of the tourism and culture center of Kibbutz Tzuba met with me and showed me the ancient wine press and we tasted some white and red wines. I then enjoyed a kibbutz style lunch with Yael in their dining hall. Very authentic!
I had a delightful visit at Tzuba Winery, which definitely made me a fan of their wine and tourism wine site.During the tour I saw ancient wine presses, which Tzuba has a few in their area and during the tour, the guests receive a detailed description on how these presses were used back in the Temple periods.Included in their tour options is an ATV tour and Jeep tours, which sounded like a lot of fun, especially when the client is able to drive the jeep through the Jerusalem Hills.
Tzuba Winery currently produces 40,000 bottles annually and during their harvest season guests are allowed to pick with the works at 6:30am (across the street from the winery). They have 13 varieties of grapes in their vineyards, which they also sell to other wineries around Israel.
The manager of the Winery, Eiton, explained to me how Tzuba wines taste like the Jerusalem hills, which he described as elegant, pleasant, new world, not overly oaked and flavorful.
On Tuesday August 24th, eighteen AACI (Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel) members joined me on a wine tour in Zichron Yaakov. First we went to Tishbi Winery, where we toured the facilities, oak barrel room and almost completed Chocolate and wine tasting room. From these pictures you can see they loved the food and wine they tasted!The brandy fans enjoyed learning about the Alembic Distillery and then tasting that brandy fortified in the Barbara Zinfandel Port-Style Dessert Wine.
After eating and drinking a lot, we took a stroll, although it was hot, in Ramat HaNadiv, and saw the beautiful flowers and gardens.We also got some free time along the Promanade (Midrachov) in the Center of Zichron Yaakov, where the character of the road dates back to 1882.
Carmel Winerywas our next stop where Ruti, a Somellier trained in Italy, toured us around the old Oak Barrel rooms and we tasted 4 different types of wine.By the end of the day, fun was had by all and everyone was ready for a nap!
For their two year anniversary Shalahevet and her husband enjoyed a vacation in Israel. Part of their vacation was a wine tour in the Upper Galilee Region with me!On the 3 hour drive up North I explained to them the history of Israeli wine, the basics of wine, and what makes modern day Israeli wine so special and unique.
Our first stop was the Galil Mountain Winery where they were taught the process of wine making up close. We felt the coolness of the oak barrel room, smelled the yeast from the fermentation and tasted their Meron, Yiron and Barabara wines.
Next we visited the Adir Winery and tasted 8 different wines. They tasted the Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 and 2007, Plato 2005; Merlot 2006 and 2008; Shiraz 2008; Dessert wine and Port Style Wine.They loved the rich body of the Port style wine!
Lastly, they tasted Pomegranate Wine at Rimon Winery. They loved the jams made out of Pomegranates and got a little buzz from all that wine. We finished the day with lunch in Rosh Pina and then traveled back to Tel Aviv.
Mike and Chaya from New York and Chicago, enjoyed a wine experience in the Carmel Region on August 11th. We set out in the morning from Tel Aviv with our first stop being Tishbi Winery. Since harvest season began, we smelled the lovely aromas of crushed grapes and fermenting wine. Chai and Mike had a lovely tasting of Tishbi's French Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, 2007 Shiraz, 2006 Merlot, and the Fortified Dessert Wine. They enjoyed the wine with a cheese and jam pairing.
We then traveled up to Zichron Yaakov and visited Somek Winery, where they fell in love with Barak Dahan, the owner and winemaker of Somek Winery. They tasted his wonderful oaked Chardonnay, Carignan, Birkat HaNadiv, and Port Style wine.
Chaya enjoyed shopping and shmying along the art galleries in Zichron Yaakov and we ate a delicious lunch at Nili Café and Bar.
Our last winery was Amphorae Vineyards, where we were greeted by Ravit, who explained to Chai and Mike about Amphorae's new 2009 Rose and the newly released Unica series.
The day was a success and now when Mike and Chaya drink a glass of wine, especially an Israeli wine, they will think of the process and heart that went into that bottle of wine.
On July 25th, Sharon and his friends joined me on a wine tour of two wineries in the Sharon, which is the Central coast region of Israel. The first winery was Saslove Winerywhere Sharon and his friends received a private tour with Roni Saslove, the wife of the winemaker, Barry Saslove, in Kibbutz Eyal.
Roni gave them a taste of a range of wines from their Marriage (blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Syrah), Adom (100% Merlot) to their Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Reserve.
Doron at Vitkin Winery
We then ventured into Kfar Vitkin and met with winemaker and owner of Vitkin Winery, Doron Belogolovsky, where we enjoyed an Israeli conversations about the trend and market in the Israeli wine industry. Doron proudly told us his family story from the first Aliyah, and showed us around the winery, which is in his backyard.
We tasted about 10 different wines in Doron's home around his dining room table with pictures of his family in the background. We enjoyed his Rose, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Petit Syrah, Carignan and many more.
After all this drinking, we enjoyed the outlook of the Mediterranean Sea and ate fresh fish by the sea.
Vitkin Winery with Doron the winemaker
Saslove Winery with Roni Saslove
Esther Cohen, CEO
I moved to Israel in June 2008 not knowing what I was going to do in Israel. It turns out, my wine hobby is my career. MIWT coordinates wine tours for tourists and locals around Israel's 300 wineries in 5 regions on a weekly basis. Come join the fun!