Despite the anti-climax this year has proved to be, here is something to look forward to for wine lovers. There is a new, much needed guidebook on Israeli wineries that is due for publication. It will be in a soft covered, handy guide book style, and will be called: ‘Wine Journey – Israeli Adventure.’ The book will feature over 200 wineries that cover the land of Israel from the snow covered Mount Hermon in the north, down to Eilat on the Red Sea, and will be published towards the end of 2020. It will highlight the wineries giving all the relevant details and also give local information of craft brewers, artisan cheese producers and nearby restaurants. It will be in Hebrew of course, but also in English providing a much needed insight into Israeli wine for wine lovers and connoisseurs worldwide. Israel is a meeting place between Europe, North Africa and Asia, and it contains the most dynamic, fastest developing wine industry in the Eastern Mediterranean. Israel has always been a fascinating place to visit to explore and about history, archaeology and religion, but in recent years it has become a ‘must visit’ destination for anyone interested in the culinary, wine and gourmet arts. For foodies and winos, Israel is a paradise. For those regular, returning visitors, the option of wine tourism offers them much needed variety. There is so much more to see and experience after the Old City of Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea!
This production is a joint venture of four musketeers, each leaders’ in their field, covering different aspects of the Israeli wine trade. Guy Haran is a sommelier – educator – wine tourism expert. He is founder of Vinspiration, Israel’s leading wine tourism company, host of a popular podcast called ‘Wine is Basic’ and a WSET approved teacher. He is the number one wine tourism authority in Israel.
Roni Saslove is a winemaker – educator – communicator. She was winemaker of Saslove Winery and now teaches innovative sensory enhancement workshops and a variety of wine courses, at the Seren DPT wine venue in Jaffa. She is much in demand as a representative of Israeli wine in the media. Whether on television or radio, she conveys professionalism & enthusiasm and is one of the leading wine communicators in Israel.
Itamar Gur is a wine lover – designer, with a leaning towards wine. Studio Gur has designed numerous labels and branded many wineries over the years. His clients include some of the leading wineries in the country, and also some of the largest. It would be fair to say that his is one of the very few studios that are specialists in wine design.
Last but not least, is David Silverman who is the unofficial wine photographer of Israel. His photographs have won international awards at the highest level. He may be found at dawn, camera in hand, in the vineyard during the harvest, and then late at night at wine tastings. He is a fixture at all wine events, recording the people, vineyards, wineries and wines of Israel for posterity.
The publication of the book depends on a headstart campaign, and if you know Israeli wine but want up to date information, or are curious to learn about this New World wine country, set in one of the oldest wine making regions on earth, then I urge you to contribute and support this important project, in any way you are able. https://headstart.co.il/project/59483?lang=en
There is also a short film introducing the authors and the concept behind the book:
The history of books on Israeli wine in English is short and unsatisfactory. The first was ‘The Bible of Israeli Wines’ by Michael Ben-Joseph in 2000. It was in a coffee table book size, that I still dip into occasionally. Then, the first ‘Rogov’s Guide To Israeli Wines’ came out in 2004. This was an annual publication until Daniel Rogov passed away in 2011. This was a wine guide, giving scores and tasting notes. Following that in 2006, the first ‘The Wine Route of Israel’ was published by Cordinata, which has been reproduced since, but the last updated edition in English was in 2015. ‘Wines of Israel’, a smaller version of The Wine Route was also published, the last one was actually published at the beginning of 2020. ‘The Comprehensive Guide to Israeli Wines’ was a more recent wine guide. It was published only in 2016, but now they are working on a new edition. Then there is the coffee table book ‘Vineland’, which is a beautiful pictorial album of Israel’s vineyards and wineries. I have them all, and have even been involved in some of them. They all read well even today. There are gems of information in each, but none is all embracing, covering Israeli wine from A to Z. What is particularly exciting about the Haran – Saslove – Gur – Silverman initiative is that it will be up to date and will cover 200 wineries. All the other books covered far fewer wineries. Therefore I am waiting like everyone else with great anticipation for this new, important addition to the Israel wine library.
Photos: David Siverman, DPS Images