FAST FACTS/ ISRAELI WINE (2016)

March 21, 2016
Information on Israeli wine more »

VINEYARDS

Israel is usually regarded as being part of the Middle East. It may be more accurately considered as being situated in the Eastern Mediterranean, a region also referred to as the Near East or ‘The Levant.’

CLIMATE:   Mainly Mediterranean. Long, hot dry summers; short wet winters; snow on higher ground. Semi-arid & desert conditions, in the Negev.

SOILS:    Volcanic in north; sandy red soils on coast & chalk & limestone on the hills.

HECTARES:   5,500 hectares (13,585 acres; 55,000 dunams).

HARVEST (METRIC TONS): 2014:   60,054     2013: 55,693     2012:  52,873     2011:  46,079    2010:  46,258  

VINTAGE:     August to end of October – (often begins late July & occasionally ends early November); Machine & hand harvested.

BEST VINTAGES: 2014; 2013; 2012; 2008; 2005; 2004; 2003; 2000; 1997; 1995; 1993; 1990;

1989; 1985; 1979; 1976

 

GRAPE VARIETIES

Israel’s traditional volume varieties, Carignan & Colombard, apart from some quality old vine Carignans, are usually only used in inexpensive blends. They are gradually being replaced by international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc. Shiraz is proving both popular & suitable for Israel’s climate. Bordeaux varieties have been most successful to date, yet Mediterranean varieties may be more suitable in the longer term.

VARIETIES – METRIC TONS %:

Cabernet Sauvignon 18%; Carignan 17%; Merlot 13%; Shiraz/ Syrah 7%; Petit Verdot 5%; Colombard 4%; Muscat of Alexandria 4%; Argaman 5%; Chardonnay 3%; Petite Sirah 2%; Sauvignon Blanc  2%; Emerald Riesling 2%; Cabernet Franc 2%; Malbec 2%; Tempranillo 1%; Mourvedre 1%

LESS THAN 1%: Pinotage; Muscat Canelli; White Riesling; Pinot Noir; Semillon: Sangiovese; Tempranillo; Gewurztraminer; Barbera; Muscat Hamburg; Chenin Blanc; Zinfandel; Grenache; Nebbiolo.

 

WINERIES

The three largest wineries – Carmel, Barkan & Golan, (along with their respective subsidiaries: Yatir, Segal & Galil Mountain) account for 60% of the harvest.  The top 6 wineries total 75 % of the harvest and the top 12 account for well over 90%.

NO. COMMERCIAL WINERIES:                          60

NO. BOUTIQUE WINERIES & GARAGISTES:    300 +

LARGE WINERIES (> 2,500 metric tons  /  2.1 million  bottles ):

1.      Carmel WineryZichron Ya’acov, Alon Tabor, Ramat Dalton (Kayoumi), Tel Arad (Yatir)

2.     Barkan WineryHulda

3.     Golan Heights Winery Katzrin

4.      Teperberg 1870Tzora

5.      Arza Winery – Mishor Adumin

 

MEDIUM SIZED WINERIES  (> 1,000 metric  tons  / 840,000 bots ):

6.      Zion WineryMishor Adumim

7.      Jerusalem Winery Jerusalem

8.      Tabor Winery – Kfar Tabor (Tabor Village)

9.      Binyamina Winery – Binyamina

10.    Recanati Winery – Emek Hefer

11.    Tishbi Winery – Binyamina

12.    Dalton Winery – Dalton

13.    Galil Mountain – Yiron

 

SMALLER WINERIES

Some of the more prominent of the smaller wineries are listed below:

 

North

GALILEE      Adir, Ramat Naftaly, Netofa, Shvo, Trio

GOLAN HEIGHTS     Bazelet Hagolan, Chateau Golan, Odem Mountain, Pelter

Coast

MT CARMEL    Amphorae, Bar Maor, Margalit, Somek, Tulip

SHARON PLAIN    Alexander, Benhaim, Lewinsohn, Vitkin

Center

JUDEAN PLAIN     Bravdo, Segal, Sphera

JUDEAN FOOTHILLS    Clos de Gat, Flam, Montefiore, Tzora

JUDEAN HILLS     Castel, Gush Etzion, Sea Horse, Tzuba

Central Mountains

SHOMRON HILLS    Gvaot, Psagot, Shilo, Tura

South

NEGEV    Midbar, Ramat Hanegev, Yatir

 

ISRAELI  MARKET

WINE MARKET IN ISRAEL:      US$ 315 million annually

IMPORTS:    20%, mainly from 1. Italy; 2. Chile; 3. Argentina; 4. France; 5. Spain

CONSUMPTION:    5 liters a head

MARKET SHARE:   63% red; 16% white; 8% sparkling; 2% rose;11% sweet (moscato style, dessert & sacramental)

 

EXPORT

EXPORT OF ISRAELI WINES ($ m.)

2014:      $ 40   (2001: $ 8.01 m.)

MAIN IMPORTERS OF ISRAELI WINES

1. U.S.A; 2. France; 3. U.K;  4. Canada; 5. Poland,  6. Germany; 7. Holland

EXPORT SALES

 55+ % of exports to North America; 35+ % to Western Europe. Remainder to more than 30 countries in 5 continents.

 

ISRAELI  WINERY RANKINGS

HUGH JOHNSON’S POCKET WINE BOOK

The number of stars given to Israeli wineries, in Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book, are listed below.

FOUR STARS:

Clos du Gat

THREE TO FOUR STARS:

Flam, Yatir 

THREE STARS:

Castel, Golan Heights, Lewinsohn, Margalit, Tzora

TWO TO THREE STARS:

Carmel, Chateau Golan, Recanati, Sphera, Shvo

TWO STARS:

Adir, Barkan-Segal, Bar Maor, Dalton, Pelter, Sea Horse, Tabor, Vitkin

ONE TO TWO STARS:

 Amphorae, Binyamina, Bravdo, Galil Mountain, Teperberg, Tulip

 

ISRAELI WINE SCORES

ROBERT PARKER’S WINE ADVOCATE

The highest scoring wines in Robert Parker's Wine Advocate are listed below.

94 POINTS

Alexander Amorolo 2011

Clos du Gat Sycra Muscat 2006

Castel Grand Vin 2013

 

93 POINTS

Alexander Grand Reserve 2010

Castel Grand Vin 2008

Castel Grand Vin 2006

Flam Noble 2010                                                  

Margalit Cabernet Sauvignon Sp. Res. 2007 

Margalit Enigma 2006             

Yarden El Rom Cabernet Sauvignon 2003                  

Yatir Forest 2003 

 

92 POINTS

Chateau Golan Eliad Royal Reserve 2012

Castel Grand Vin 2004                                                  

Castel Grand Vin 2009

C Blanc du Castel 2014                                                  
Clos du Gat Sycra Syrah 2007

Clos de Gat Sycra Merlot 2006

Flam Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005

Flam Noble 2011

Makura Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Recanati Wild Carignan Reserve 2011

Recanati Special Reserve 2011

Recanati Special Reserve 2012

Recanati Special Reserve 2014                                      

Tzora Or 2006                                                                

Yarden El Rom Cabernet Sauvignon 2008                    

Yatir Forest 2008                                                            

 

WINE REGIONS

HECTARES OF VINEYARDS BY REGION (%)

·       GALILEE 41% – mainly Upper Galilee & Golan Heights

·       SAMSON 27%  –  vineyards in central coastal plain, Judean Lowlands, Judean Foothills

·       SHOMRON 17% – southern Mt. Carmel – mainly in valleys around Zichron Ya’acov

·       JUDEAN HILLS 10% – Jerusalem mountains, Gush Etzion & Yatir Forest – southern Judean Hills

·       NEGEV 5% – mainly Ramat Arad, Sde Boker & Mitzpe Ramon

OFFICIAL WINE REGIONS

 

Region in Hebrew

Name in English

Vineyard Areas

Galil

Galilee

  • Upper Galilee
  • Lower Galilee
  • Golan Heights

Shomron

Samaria

  • Mt. Carmel
  • Sharon
  • Shomron Hills

Shimshon

Samson

  • Central Coastal
  • Judean Lowlands
  • Judean Foothills

Harey Yehuda

Judean Hills

  • Jerusalem
  • Gush Etzion
  • Yatir Forest

Hanegev

Negev

  • NE Negev
  • Central  Negev

 

Wine regions in bold type are registered with the TTB (USA) and the European Community.

 

WINE TOURISM

There is a great deal of domestic and international wine tourism. Larger wineries are more likely to have visitors’ centers. Smaller wineries are more likely to be open on Shabbat- Saturdays.

The main wine routes are the Upper Galilee & Golan (north), Mount Carmel (northern coast) and the Judean Hills & Foothills regions (center). These days there are also wine routes in the Negev (south) and the Central Mountains too.

 

THIRD PARTY RECOMMENDATION

The corner has clearly been turned qualitatively. Israel has a real wine industry that deserves consumer attention. There are attractive wines with typicity and some distinction….Many are classic and charming and the best will impress anyone.”  Mark Squires, Wine Advocate

 

“The…wines are getting better all the time and some of them are superb” Robert Parker, Business Week

“New vineyards with classic varieties and a focus on cool climate, high altitude regions has transformed Israeli wines, as has modern technology and internationally trained winemakers.”  Hugh Johnson, Pocket Wine Book

“Improvements in quality and consistency since the mid 1990’s have been remarkable.” Jancis Robinson MW, World Atlas of Wine

“The country’s entire wine industry has gained global recognition.” Tom Stevenson, Sotheby’s Wine Guide

"Israel is on track to make wines with a distinctive style and taste. Its an amazing turnaround for a nation that has been mostly overlooked in the world wine sweepstakes."  Kim Marcus, The Wine Spectator

“Israel’s best Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots are exceptional”  Andrew Jefford, Wine Magazine

Israel has developed a wine industry that will confound preconceptions.” Mark Squires, Wine Advocate  

 “Israel is a rising star of the wine world”  Oz Clarke, Wine

“Israel wine has been transformed in the last 20 years by producers who have imported wine expertise to go with their existing technological and agricultural prowess.” Hugh Johnson, Pocket Wine Book

 “In such a climate, tending vineyards and producing wine is an act of courage and of optimism. I have enormous admiration for the majority of Israel’s winemakers…. Surrounded by anger, dogma, devastation, deprivation, mutual suspicion and….politics, they offer the possibility of hope for a better future.” Tim Atkin MW, The Observer/ Off Licence News

“Once, recommendation of Israel wines was mostly of a sentimental nature. That is no longer necessary.” Frank Prial, New York Times 

“No-one should avoid wines simply because they have kosher certification. It seems generally irrelevant.”Wine Advocate

 

SOURCES

www.wines-israel.com

Israel Wine & Grapes Board (Ministry of Agriculture);

Israel Wine Institute; Israel Export Institute (both Ministry of Trade & Industry);

 

The Wine Route of Israel, Eliezer Sacks, Adam Montefiore (Cordinata)

Rogov’s Ultimate Guide To Israeli Wines, Daniel Rogov (Toby Press)

Wines of Israel, Eliezer Sacks, Adam Montefiore (Cordinata)

Wines of Israel, Israel Export Institute

The Bible of Israeli Wines, Michael Ben-Joseph (Modan)

The Book of New Israeli Food, Janna Gur (Al Ha’Shulchan)

 

Divine Vintage, Randall Hesketh & Joel Butler MW (Palgrave Macmillan)

Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide No. 7, Robert Parker (Simon & Schuster)

Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book 2013, Hugh Johnson (Mitchell Beazley)

The Oxford Companion To Wine, Jancis Robinson MW (Oxford)

 

The Vine & Wine in Archaeology of The Land of Israel, Prof. Amos Hadas (Kronenberg)

Drink & Be Merry, Michal Dayagi-Mendels (The Israel Museum, Jerusalem)

Rogov’s Ultimate Guide To Kosher Wines, Daniel Rogov (Toby Press)

The Kosher Grapevine, Irving Langer (Gefen)

 

 

2 Responses to FAST FACTS/ ISRAELI WINE (2016)

  1. paul says:

    why is tzuba not mentioned

  2. Pingback: Consulado General H. de Israel | Revista le toma el pulso a la industria vinícola de Israel

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