A few Canadian friends came to Israel and wanted to experience a different kind of Wine Tour so I took them to the Negev, where no one could imagine wineries existing, but they do. We first actually visited Tzora Winery, which is in the Jerusalem Hills, but it was on the way to the Negev. They really enjoyed the variety of wines and atmosphere of Tzora. Shula gave them a taste of Or 2008, Tzora's ice-wine, and as Canadian's they thought it was superb, even if it came from a freezer and not a natural freeze!
We then drove down to Sde Boker Winery and Zvi, the owner and winemaker, who is originally from California and made Aliyah 30 years ago, told us how he grows grapes in the Negev and how he started his winery through a kibbutz community. We tasted his Cabernet Merlot 2006 and Zin Zin which is his late harvest Zinfandel dessert wine. Zvi told us about a little “hole in the desert” restaurant called Cornmill Farms where almost every dish has their local goat cheese included. The food was delicious, the atmosphere of being outside in the Negev was enchanting and the service was fantastic.
The third winery we visited was Kadesh Barnea Winery. It is located along the Egyptian border, about 30 km south from Gaza and is really in the middle of nowhere! We sat down with Yogev, the winemaker and son of the owner, and enjoyed a selection of their wines. We tasted the Cabernet 2009, Merlot 2009, Negev 2010, and Red Desert 2009. Everyone loved the taste of their wines and enjoyed the intimate experience of talking with such a down to Earth guy. Kadesh Barnea Winery is an up and coming winery in Israel and is in the process of exporting their wines to the US.