This part of the world is famous for its ancient viticultural heritage, but in recent years Israeli wines have enjoyed a resurgence. There are now more than 300 Israeli wineries, many of which are family-run boutique producers making small quantities of top quality wines.
Key Israeli Wine Regions
Israel's most important wine regions that produce the best Israeli wine are found in the cooler, higher altitude regions away from the Mediterranean coast. Galilee in the north is known for its hilly terrain with altitudes of up to 1000 metres and volcanic and terra rossa soils. Another northern high altitude region on the Israeli wine map is the Golan Heights which is set on volcanic plateau rising up to 1200 metres above sea level. Close to Jerusalem in the centre of Israel are the Judean Hills where a third of Israel's vineyards are located. Finally, in the far south is the Negev desert where the tough, arid conditions produce some truly unique varieties of Israeli Merlot, Chardonnay, Shiraz, and Muscat.
Israeli Grape Varieties
Israeli wines are predominantly made from classic French varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Local winemakers are also experimenting with Mediterranean varieties which are better suited to the hot, dry summers. These include Grenache, Carignan, Mourvedre, and Viognier. Israeli wines are made in a huge variety of styles and tend to be food-friendly, pairing well with typical Mediterranean dishes.