The land of Israel is known for many wonderful foods, but some of the most unknown is something that has been made in the land for thousands of years, and that is Israeli wine!
Ancient Israeli Wine
There are many instances of wine in both the old and new testament, since book of Genesis. Some were positive and some were negative. The climate in many parts of Israel is ideal for the growth of vineyards. In the book of Deuteronomy, the “fruit of the vine” is listed as one of the seven blessed fruits of the land of Israel. The others are wheat, barley, olive oil, honey, fig trees, and pomegranates.
The Israelites used grapes and wine to explain many parts of religious thoughts as well as ceremonies and rituals. There is even a prayers for the blessing of the wine in Hebrew that is used still today:
“Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe, Who creates the fruit of the vine.”
Wine was created by utilizing wine presses to squeeze the juice out which were then placed into wineskins.
Israeli wine was so prized that the Romans imported it constantly, with vintage wine being the most popular, with the growers’ name listed on the vessel. The more things change, the more they stay the same!
Most of the vineyards were destroyed during the muslim rule of the area. For the time that the crusaders had control, there was a regrowth of the vineyards. Once they lost however, those vines were also destroyed once again.
Modern Israeli Wine
There was a long “dry spell” so to speak in vine growth in Israel. Then in the 19th century, the famed winey, Rothschild in France, began an investment in vineyards in Israel during the British Mandate.
During the 1970’s is when the industry really began to take off again and wine began to be produced for enjoyment, and not just for religious purposes.
Today there is a growing industry with hundreds of wineries. Some of these are in the area of Shiloh, which is where the tabernacle rested for nearly 400 years. Many people love to add wine tasting to their program when exploring the land of Israel. If you are interested in adding a wine tasting to your tour, please let your tour operator know and they’d love to assist you in making your tour a custom experience.
We hope to make a toast to your arrival in Israel very soon!