David Rhodes about Drinks for New Year's Eve more »

It's New Year's Eve Thursday night, what Israelis and many Europeans call Sylvester. This New Year's Eve, there's one more reason to celebrate by popping open a bottle of bubbly.

Some of the world's most popular sparkling wines and Champagnes are available at rock bottom prices and the most spectacular part is that it includes next day delivery to your front door. was launched earlier this year by Leon Falic, purveyor of Duty Free America which operates 180 duty-free shops around the world (yet with only one shop in Israel's most southern city of Eilat, itself a duty-free zone).

Duty Free America sells between 2-3 million cases wine and liquor a year between all of their shops which almost equals Israel's output of wine (of 35-40 million bottles a year).

This buying power allows to Paneco to get their inventory at such low prices that they still can pay for delivery while beating the prices of wine shops and supermarket's shelf prices.

Asked about his motivation for launching such a site, Leon responded "there's a lot of people today too busy to shop during store hours. Who wants to drive and park for just one bottle? We also wanted to share the great prices we get for tourists for locals. Online the wine and liquor aren't duty-free but it's a low as you can find them in Israel. We only stock items when we know we have great prices." 
paneco600Photos by Israel Preker

Although the site is only in Hebrew now, Google translate makes it easily navigable and legible for English speakers. In the near future, an English version of the site is expected. Some specials and descriptions of products would be more accessible with an English version.

I did a little investigating to see how low the prices are. Anyone can say they have low prices but I decided to stop in one of Israel's larger wine chains to see how price competitive Paneco's listed sparkling wines were before corks began to pop at midnight December 31st/January 1,.

The wine shop (part of a chain with over a dozen stores) and didn't have the exact same selection. That's to be expected. But they did list two of the same premium Champagnes Moet-Chandon Imperial Brut and Veuve Clinquot (yellow label).

Moet-Chandon is the most popular Champagne house in the world so it's a good bench mark to compare against other Champagnes and between vendors. At the wine shop it sold for 240 NIS while at it was only 188 NIS or about 25% less. The difference with Veuve Clinqout was still significant though not as dramatic with the shop price of 300 NIS going up against at 265 NIS or about a 12% difference.

Both the shop and offered a selection of less expensive Proseccos, Cavas and other sparkling wines at different price points and it seemed Paneco had them beat by at least a few NIS if not more even with the cheaper wines while still providing delivery.

Tourists or locals who want Israeli wines shouldn't be concerned. Paneco has 27 different Israeli wines to choose from four wineries: Recanati, Teperberg, Psagot and Trio. There's a wide range of price points and quality to choose from whether a Teperberg Silver Sangiovese for 35 NIS or Recanati Special Reserve Red for 189 NIS and a many wines in between. The wine discounts aren't as aggressive as the liquor possibly because wine doesn't have the high taxes as beer and spirits in Israel. The wine has tax exemptions because of its religious significance in so many Jewish rituals and holidays.

Since wine is only one facet of this new website I also checked some of the liquors as duty free shops sell more liquor than wine since brand names are more familiar and taxes are often higher on hard liquor than beer or wine.

On the Liqueur page, Sabra, Israel's most popular exported liqueur, can be found in coffee or chocolate-orange flavors at 99 NIS for 750 ml bottles.

Additionally, on the Vodka page, two premium vodkas matched up again in's favor. A 1 liter bottle of iconic Grey Goose was on the store shelf selling at 140 NIS while on sale for 125 NIS through as well as a 1 liter bottle of Van Gogh Double Espresso flavored vodkas (all flavors) sold for similar prices 140 NIS at the store and 125 NIS at An even better savings was to be had at the 750 ml size where Grey Goose was selling at 123 NIS at the store but only 99 NIS online with delivery.

Blended and single malt whiskeys seemed just as competitive. A one liter bottle of Jack Daniel's for instance sold for 129 NIS through while 146 NIS if you make the effort to visit a store.

Paneco also features a series of their own private label brands of liquors under the umbrella of Innovative Liquors which include their own single malt King of Queens Scotch, Canadian Heritage Whiskey, Caribana Sol Rum from Barbados and Gila Tequila from Mexico.

There' also an assortment of mixers such as Red Bull and flavored sodas that in Google Translate comes out under the heading Complimentary Beverages. Some party and bartending supplies also help last minute hosts.

Although I couldn't find Paneco's complete listing of wines and spirits at any one store, by checking with one chain I know to be competitive (because it buys for many locations), I did not see any items where was more expensive and generally the savings seemed to range between 10 to 33%. That would be a great deal in its own right but with the free delivery, it's a remarkable savings of both time and money.

Leon reports that in the few months the web site has been running that it has exceeded their expectations and best projections almost three-fold. Hard liquor sales in general have been rising world-wide as evident at their duty free stores and Israel is no exception.

So if you get a chance to buy a bottle of bubbly from Paneco to bring in 2016 with some flair. you can be confident you'll be saving some money to begin the New Year. Whether it's one of Paneco's 24 NIS bottles of Spanish Cava or a 320 NIS bottle of Veuve Clicqout Rose Champagne from France, enjoying their lower prices and free delivery can be part of your New Year's resolutions. 

David Rhodes is a California trained sommelier who moved to Israel in 2008. David is the host of Rhodes to Israeli Wines on radio and has written hundreds of articles about Israeli wine, beer and spirits. David can reached about classes, tasting events and tours at
or 053-432-9463 (053-HEB-WINE)


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