The Golan Heights Winery has become the first Israeli Winery to be imported and sold in the Emirates, UAE. Yair Shapiro the CEO said “We are excited to be the Israeli winery that will open the gate and introduce residents and guests of the UAE in Dubai to the Israeli wine industry.” This is a result of the recent normalization deal with Israel.
The importer is the company African + Eastern (A&E). They are a leading importer and distributor of wine and spirits in the Emirates and the Persian Gulf. They represent some of the leading global brands from around the world. Jason Dixon, CEO of A&E, said “the Golan Heights Winery is one of the leading and most decorated wineries and we are excited to bring our customers their unique wines.” He went on “This is a historic launch and we look forward to a successful and long term collaboration with the Golan Heights Winery.”
For 100 years Carmel Mizrahi was the main ambassador of Israeli wine. If someone mentioned Israeli wine, they were invariably referring to Carmel. Since the 1990’s the balance changed, and the Golan Heights Winery became the name most associated with Israeli wines overseas. Their main brands or labels are Yarden (divided into the icon Yarden Katzrin, Yarden Single Vineyards and the regular Yarden wines), Gamla (Gilgal in USA) and Hermon.
Today the Golan Heights Winery is the fourth largest winery in Israel (after Barkan-Segal, Carmel and Teperberg), but it is the largest exporter. Whilst small quality wineries and boutique wineries (for instance Castel, Tzora and Flam) are strongly representing Israel in a certain category, no doubt the Golan Heights Winery still remains the most visual of the larger wineries in export markets. Their label Yarden is the most recognizable Israeli brand to the outside world, and is arguably the number one ambassador of Israeli wines.
As wine is a symbol of communication and peace, it is wholly appropriate that the peace and normalization between the UAE and Israel should be underlined by Israeli wine being sold in Dubai. Let’s hope they will be the first of many Israeli wineries to be sold there.
Photo: Kfir Haravi