The following article is from the New York Jewish Week
Napa, Watch Your Back!
About five years ago, I was scanning reds by the glass in a Park Slope wine bar when something unusual caught my eye.
“Recanati,” read the listing. “Cabernet Sauvignon, Israel.”
Suddenly, in the last few years, it’s Israel’s turn to be one of the world’s hot new regions for serious wine. And boutique outfits like Recanati, with vineyards throughout the Galilee, are turning their wineries into a destination for oenophile vacationers — a kind of Napa Valley for the Holy Land.
“Wine tourism is really booming,” confirmed Valerie Hecht, wine and culture manager for Carmel Winery, one of the original Israeli winemakers. As more wineries open visitor centers and tasting rooms for curious travelers, Hecht and her colleagues in the industry are working to put together a tourism-ready Israeli wine route — modeled on California’s legendary Napa and Sonoma counties.
David Rhodes, a California-trained sommelier and wine educator and one of Israel’s most prominent wine writers, said the Israeli wine boom paralleled its gastronomic revolution in the 1990s. A prospering economy sent Israelis abroad, where they cultivated sophisticated tastes and began demanding more adventurous cuisine at home. “And then as restaurants got better, they wanted better wine lists,” said Rhodes, who leads custom wine tours throughout the country (reserve at [email protected]). “It’s gone hand in hand.”
Another of Israel’s foremost wine experts, the writer and consultant Adam Montefiore, agreed that the boutique trend took off between 1990 and 2000. “It became a very ‘in’ thing to own your own winery,” recalled Montefiore, who himself is development manager for the Carmel and Yatir Wineries.
Read the rest at the New York Jewish Week