The Hebrew word ‘Yayin’ is said to be the root from which the word ‘wine’ is derived



Israeli Wine - Part II


Today there are approximately 12 commercial wineries in Israel and over 150 boutique wineries. The largest wineries, which control over 90% of the Israel wine industry, are : 

Carmel Winery , Barkan Wine Cellars , Golan Heights Winery , Efrat Winery , Binyamina Wine Cellars , Tishbi Estate , 
Galil Mountain , Dalton Winery and Recanati Winery.               

Most of the exports are to American and Western Europe. For the Jewish consumer, Israel may be regarded as having the finest range and quality of wines 'that happen to be kosher' in the world.


For the Christian consumer, Israeli wines are 'wines from the Holy Land', the land of the bible. For the wine connoisseur Israel represnets possibly the most dynamic, high quality wine producing country int Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East.


The kosher wine scene has become eminently more interesting in recent years, as top wineries around the world have either dedicated themselves to kosher production methods, such as Hagafen Winery in Napa Valley, or have produced a kosher version of their wines, as Château Giscours and several other Bordeaux estates have done. For wine lovers, however, the real excitement in kosher wines is the emergence of Israel as a producer of serious, world-class wines.



Kosher wine used to mean a sweet dark-red liquid . All that has changed.  

Not all of the wine being produced in Israel is kosher. Their objective is to produce the finest wines possible, ‘that happen to be kosher’ – as opposed to ‘kosher wines’ . Kosher wine does not have to be sweet like Manishevits and some kosher wines will be suitable for vegans and vegetarians.





Today it is no longer a surprise that one Israeli winery is invited to the New York Wine Experience, and another to the Decanter Fine Wine Show. These are by invitation only, to the finest wineries in the world. Yet another winery finds itself in the list of the ‘Hundred Most Exciting Wines in the World’. Other wineries regularly win gold medals in international competitions.


Yarden – Golan Heights Winery have received invitations to the New York Wine Experience, open to only the finest wineries in the world


Golan Heights Winery, Carmel & Tishbi have received trophies in the IWSC in London

Golan Heights Winery, Barkan, Binyamina, Carmel, Galil Mountain, Recanati, Saslove, Tishbi & Yatir have all received gold medals in  major wine tasting competitions 




Some Wine Terms

Acid - An essential component in wine.  Acidity can balance sweetness, and is necessary for wines to age well.

Ageing - All wine is aged, from a few weeks to many decades. Ageing in barrels is a very slow oxidation, and the barrels can impart flavors to the wine. Bottle ageing allows the wines to soften and various components within the wine to harmonize.  

Aperitif - Any wine served before a meal.

Body - The weight of wine in your mouth. Alcohol makes a wine seem heavier, as does tannin. Commonly expressed as full-bodied, medium-bodied or medium-weight, or light-bodied. 

Cabernet sauvignon - Often called the "king" of red grapes, cabernet sauvignon is, along with merlot, the famous grape of Bordeaux, and is also grown in other renowned wine regions throughout the world .

Champagne - The famous sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region of France, about 90 miles northeast of Paris. Champagne is generally a blend of three grapes ­ two red and one white.

Chardonnay - One of the most popular white grape varieties in America and throughout the New World, as well as the white grape of the Burgundy region of France.

Enology - The science of winemaking

Marsala - Fortfied wines from the western tip of Sicily. These wines are dry and somewhat austere, they are aged in wood for a minimum of 10 years and usually served as an aperitif. 

Methode Champenoise - The method by which real Champagne gets its bubbles, i.e. the secondary fermentation takes place within the bottle. 

Pinot blanc - One of the white grapes of the pinot family that includes pinot grigio (also white) and the red grapes pinot noir and pinot meunier.

Riesling - The white grape of Germany, Austria and the Alsace region of France, though it is also popular in Israel, Washington and New York state, and certain parts of  California and Australia.

Sommelier - The French term for a wine steward

Syrah / ShirazThe classic red grape of the northern Rhone Valley of France and also grown throughout southern France, syrah is also the leading grape of Australia (where it is known as shiraz).


Vermouth - A wine based beverage that originated in Italy and is often served as an aperitif

Zinfandel -  The much loved red grape of California, zinfandel is grown almost no place else in the world.




If you are new to wines try a Riesling, Gewurztraminer, or a Muscat dessert wine if sweeter wines suit your fancy. If you prefer a dry white wine then look for a Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc.


As for reds, starting with a Gamay, Pinot Noir or Merlot if you do not want anything too complex or full-bodied. If you are looking to turn up the complexity meter, then go with a great Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah or a Zinfandel




Veal Brisket with Marsala sauce


6-to 7-pound point-end veal breasts, boned, fat trimmed, bones reserved 

1 1/2 pounds medium onions, quartered

2 tabs all purpose flour

1 1/2 pounds button mushrooms, thickly sliced

4 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt broth

2 cups dry Marsala

2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed, drained

8 large garlic cloves

1/4 teas ground allspice



Preheat oven to 350°F. Season veal with salt and pepper. Heat heavy large skillet over high heat. Add veal bones and cook until some fat is rendered, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add onions and sautי until brown, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle flour over and stir 3 minutes. Transfer mixture to large roasting pan, spreading onions in center and bones around edge. Add 1 brisket to same skillet and cook until brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer brisket to roasting pan and place atop onions. Repeat with second brisket.


Add button mushrooms, stock, Marsala, dried mushrooms, garlic and allspice to same skillet. Bring mixture to boil, scraping up browned bits. Cover tightly with heavy-duty foil. Roast until briskets are very tender, about 2 hours. Uncover, let cool at least 30 minutes.


Transfer briskets to platter. Remove bones from pan and discard. Spoon onions into strainer set over large saucepan. Press onions hard to release juices. Discard onions in strainer. Set mushrooms aside. Strain pan juices in roasting pan into same large saucepan. Spoon fat from top of pan juices and discard. Boil until pan juices coat spoon lightly, about 20 minutes. Return reserved mushrooms to sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Cut briskets diagonally across grain into thin slices, trim fat, if desired.

Overlap slices in large casserole. Spoon mushroom sauce over.





Part of this article was written with the help of Haim Gan, "The Grape man".

A wine school and a restaurant in old Jaffa.

Grape man • Mazal Shor 9 • Old Jaffa   03-5180533





Israeli Wine part I




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