Israel is becoming a popular destination for its rich wine-making tradition.
The nation has a thriving wine industry and tour operators are now promoting conducted tours that seek to link the culture, history and politics of the nation with the equally important wine industry.
Wine tourism is important to Israel’s wine industry to increase consumption and to encourage more people to enjoy its wines, and wine tourism from overseas clients is particularly valued.
For the tourist, Israel offers 5,000 years of winemaking history, and those trying to get a grasp of the industry will also interact with the nation’s agriculture, archaeology, gastronomy, history, religion and politics.
Wine tourism in the nation is being promoted as two models: the Italian model, known as agritourism and the Californian Napa Valley style. In the first, winemaking is introduced as a way of life and tourists enjoy all aspects of wine making as they visit different places. In the second model, the winemaking is restricted to specific areas that specifically attract tourists.
There are three main wine routes in Israel, the North, comprising Galilee and the Golan, the Mount Carmel area on the coast and the Shfela (Judean foothills) lying west of Jerusalem. Each area has diverse sights and tastes to offer the discerning tourist. The North has some of the fastest growing vineyards, and activities are more intense here. The Mount Carmel region, overlooking the Mediterranean, is the most traditional wine region and it is here that Israeli wine was fermented 2,000 years ago.
The Judean foothills are home to some of the finest wineries.
In the Negev area, there are farms to visit, resplendent in the near-desert landscape.