Wine Stores

14/03/2012
Israel?s leading wine shops.
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Wine Stores

?Israel?s leading wine shops.

Wine retailing used to be in kiosks. The wines would be displayed on the top shelf, untouched for years, covered in dust and more often than not, in direct sunlight. No wonder wines? were not so well regarded in those days.
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The first serious wine shops in Israel were Avi Ben in Jerusalem and Super Drink in Ramat Hasharon. They were the first retailers to stock a full range of wines and also to employ staff that knew how to give expert advice and tastings.
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The real revolution came in 1993 with the foundation of Derech Ha?Yayin (the Wine Route). This was an international style wine shop on Ha?hashomonaim Street in Tel Aviv. It brought wine retailing to an international standard. All the wines were kept lying down horizontally, as should always be the case. The storage temperatures were correct and the range of wines was unequalled. It was opened by the Shaked family, who were then the distribution agents for The Golan Heights Winery.
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The founding of this store coincided with two explosions in the domestic wine scene. Firstly the number of Israeli wines increased dramatically as more and more new wineries were founded and as a result of the wine boom, each individual winery decided to produce more and more wines. Secondly, import restrictions were relaxed and the shop suddenly had to find space from new wines from all the major wine producing countries.
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On at least two occasions Derech Ha?Yayin was completely been redesigned and extended to create more space. On its later reincarnation, what was previously a wine shop expanded to also include spirits and specialist beers too.A customer seeking advice will find expert staff, who can offer advice on imported or Israeli wines. Wine connoisseurs should not miss a visit to the cellar, where many of the world?s most prestigious wines lie waiting for the eagle eyed collector.
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Apart from main Derech Ha?Yayin in Tel Aviv, there are other branches in Ra?anana, Ramat Hasharon, Savion, Modiin, Ness Ziona, and in the new ?G? complex in Tel Aviv.
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A second major wine store group is Wine & More, previously known as Hinawi. They have branches in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Herzliyah Pituach, Petach Tikvah, Rishon Le Zion, Hod Hasharon, Yehud and in the ?Airport City? complex.
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Their main shop window is the store on Carlibach Street in Tel Aviv. They also stock a large list of Israeli and imported wines. ?There you will always receive the warmest welcome. It is a very large shop. In one corner, there is also a cheese counter with one of the best ranges of imported and Israeli cheeses available in Tel Aviv. In another corner is a branch of the famous Hinawi butcher. So if you want to buy an excellent steak to go with your wine purchase, you can do so.
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The main branches of Derech Ha?Yayin and Wine & More in Tel Aviv, are within five minutes walk of each other. Many of the wines they list do not overlap, as they import separately and the Israeli wines they represent are not the same. Visit both and you will receive a fairly comprehensive idea of what is available in Israel today and you will be able to compare prices.
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Avi Ben was the pioneer in Jerusalem. He created a quality retail system with an excellent range of the best Israeli wines. He not only trained staff to sell to Israelis, but also specialized in providing service in English to tourists. Out of those shops already listed, this is certainly the one most geared to the tourist and the kosher customer.
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Avi Ben now has branches in Nachalat Shiva and Machane Yehuda in Jerusalem and also in Mevasseret Zion. Quite apart from his success over the years, he is also part organizer of the Jerusalem Wine Festival held at the Israel Museum every August.
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The most original and exciting newcomer to wine retailing is Bin 281, which is in north Tel Aviv on Dizengoff Street. This complex is retailing taken to the 21st century. It has the exact feel of a slightly crowded New York liquor store.
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On the ground floor is the shop, which like the others has a good selection of imported and Israeli wines. The wines are all well kept and the service is super professional. There is an attractive sitting area outside, where one can uncork the latest vintage, sit with friends and watch the world go by.
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On the second floor there is a wine bar, with a great atmosphere. It is possible to buy wines from the shop, at the standard retail price, to enjoy in the bar with only a small corkage charge. Alternatively there is an attractive wine list of wines by the glass.? The bar food is simple but totally appropriate. A basic choice is available, but it is well made from excellent ingredients. No-one will go hungry.(It is not kosher.)
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On the third floor is a beautiful room with a large tasting table and well equipped mini kitchen. Ideal for private tasting tastings and chef catered events. Bin 281 is interesting, different and I thoroughly recommend a visit.
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The wine shops mentioned are:
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Derech Ha?yayin,
90 Hashmonaim Street, Tel Aviv
Tel. 03 5619263
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Wine & More,
25 Carlibach Street, Tel Aviv
Tel. 03 6240458
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Avi Ben,
22 Rivlin Street, Jerusalem
02 62230311
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Bin 281
281, Dizengof Street, Tel Aviv
03 5444281
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