Tishbi wines, from the prestigious, long-standing winery based in Zichron Yaakov, are now a standard menu offering at Marriott hotel bars throughout New York.
Golan Tishbi, the winemaker, explains "Our wines are known for their quality and value in Israel and in the global kosher market, and we are finally getting the same recognition in the ‘regular’ U.S. market.”
Israeli wines have always been challenged in the U.S. wine world. The prices, the kosher stigma and the competitive nature of the market always denied Israeli wines prominent shelf space. This breakthrough opens the door for the public to be introduced to the high quality and diversity of Israeli wines.
Tishbi’s high-end Single Vineyard line and Special Reserve are among the best coming from Israel. The Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is one of best overall sellers in the kosher market. A few months ago, in a survey involving 80 top Israeli chefs, Tishbi Estate Gewurztraminer was selected as their favorite white.
This award winning winery has been producing notable wines for many years, so how did this success story come to fruition?
Ami Nahari, CEO of The River Wine, the US importer of Tishbi, explains: "Five years ago when we started working with Tishbi, we worked to place the wines back on the kosher shelf. It was not hard. The strong brand name and the quality are undeniable.”
“However, we challenged ourselves to start selling the wines in the non-kosher market. That was not easy. We started with restaurants, in states where kosher wines does not have the same stigma, such as the avant-garde Libertine in St. Louis, MO. We worked hard, we were patient, and we did a lot of networking."
“Most US companies which import Israeli wine, designate it as kosher wine, intended for religious Jews only. I defy that attitude. Quality wine is subjective and can be offered to any market which appreciates wines.”
"We were connected to Marriott hospitality through Yonatan Tishbi’s friend, Mikey Gallant. After multiple meetings with the executives, and tastings with their various beverage directors and wine experts, a decision was made to include the Tishbi wines on their menus."
Abner Withers, general manager of one of the Marriott locations, was more than pleasantly surprised by the Tishbi wines. "When Ami came to present the wines, we did not know what to expect, especially when we heard it was kosher and from Israel. I have to say that we all were very impressed by the wines. After some discussion, we decided not to label the wines as kosher and rather let the wines be sold for what they are – delicious, interesting wines from a country producing some of the finest.”