03/24/2011

Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute

“Another record year” – Israeli wine continues to reach new heights

Leipzig, March 24, 2011. Worldwide exports of Israeli wines have been growing for years. 2010 was a record year, with an estimated 30% increase in wine exports, to 21 million euro. Israel can thank a generation of young, world-wise and superbly qualified winegrowers and winemakers, who have helped transform the state from being a relatively unknown wine country with great potential to a well-established, recognized producer of top wines. Visitors can now experience wines from ten leading Israeli wineries during hosted tastings at the ProWein 2011 trade fair.

“Israel has a real wine industry that deserves consumer attention. There are appealing wines with typicity and some distinction…Many are classic and charming, and the best will impress anyone,” commented Mark Squires in Robert Parker's Wine Advocate in December 2007. He was reviewing the results of the first major tasting of Israeli wines, in which 14 wines topped the magic score of 90 Parker Points. Another testament of Israeli wine quality is the overwhelming number of awards that Israeli wines have received in the last several years. The ten wineries exhibiting at ProWein 2011 have been awarded about a total of 30 medals over the past two years. Israeli wines earned Gold awards in the following competitions: Les Citadelles du Vin 2010 (Yarden Chardonnay Odem 2008, Yarden Gewurztraminer 2009, and Yarden Heights Wine 2007), Gold Cluster 2009 (Galil Mountain Avivim 2007), Les Citadelles du Vin 2009 (Recanati Special Reserve 2005), and Terravino 2010 (Teperberg Reserve Cabernet 2007).

The story of how Israel has grown to become one of the world's most dynamic and interesting wine-producing countries began in the early 1990s, as a true technological revolution swept the nation's wine cellars. Ninety percent of all present-day wineries were founded during or after that time. Currently, there are about 300 wineries in Israel, 35 of which produce for the wholesale market. The USA, Great Britain, and France are the key markets for Israeli wines, while Germany is sixth on the list of export customers. It is notable that only twelve of Israel's wineries account for the production of 94% of total export sales. Among these producers are five wineries that are exhibiting at ProWein this year: Binyamina, Golan Heights, Teperberg 1870, Tishbi Estate, Galil Mountain, and Recanati.

Binyamina Winery: Founded in 1952, Binyamina Winery procures its grapes from all of Israel's wine-growing regions and produces a diverse range of wines, offered in five product lines: The Chosen, Binyamina Reserve, Yogev (the Hebrew for “farmer“), Teva (“nature“), and Kramim (“vineyards“). Under the direction of chief winemaker Sasson Ben-Aharon, 2.8 million bottles are produced annually. Binyamina is Israel's fourth-largest winery.

Galil Mountain Winery: Galil Mountain Winery was founded in 2000 as a joint venture between the internationally renowned Golan Heights Winery and the local Kibbutz Yiron in Upper Galilee. Today, winemaker Micha Vaadia's dynamic team produces about a million bottles per year, using grapes from five different vineyards in the area. The premium wines are marketed under the label Yiron; the main product line is sold under the winery’s name, Galil Mountain.

Golan Heights Winery: In 1983, eight local grape producers, four kibbutzim (agricultural collectives) and four moshavim (agricultural co-operatives) founded the Golan Heights Winery. From its inception, its chief winemaker Victor Schoenfeld and his team of California- and French-trained winegrowers, winemakers, and enologists placed a great deal of emphasis on combining Old World and New World winemaking expertise. Their most successful wines are the Yarden, Gamla and Golan product lines. Golan Heights Winery, Israel's third-largest winery, produces six million bottles per year.

Recanati Winery: Located in Emek Hefer, this winery was founded in 2000 by Lenny Recanati, whose family immigrated to Israel from Italy in the beginning of the 20th century. Extensive investments, both in modern cellar equipment and in the vineyards, have made Recanati one of the nation's most contemporary wineries. Chief winemaker Gil Shatsberg trained at the University of California at Davis. Under his direction, 750,000 bottles are produced annually and marketed in four product lines: Special Reserve, Reserve, Recanati, and Yasmin.

Teperberg 1870: This winery, founded by the Teperberg family in 1870, started producing wines for a more demanding clientele in 2002, under the direction of the California-trained winemaker Shiki Rauchberger. Its flagship brands are Teperberg Meritage, Teperberg Terra, and Teperberg Silver. In 2009, Teperberg was recognized as Israel's best winery at the Terravino trade fair. The estate produces five million bottles per year and exports to a total of 22 countries.

Tishbi Estate Winery: In 1882, Baron Rothschild commissioned Jonathan Tishbi's grandfather to plant vineyards. After a century of tradition as a grape grower, Jonathan Tishbi decided to start making wines from his own grapes. His son Golan studied viticulture, and as a winemaker, he raised the winery to new levels of production and quality. Currently, the modern estate, near the town of Binyamina, turns out around a million bottles per year. There are four product lines: Jonathan Tishbi Special Reserve, Tishbi Estate, Tishbi Vineyards, and Tishbi.

Israeli Wine Pavilion at ProWein 2011
From March 27 through 29, 2011, wines of Israel will be presented for the fourth time at the ProWein trade fair in Düsseldorf. Exhibiting at the Israeli Wine Pavilion, Stand H21 in Hall 6, are: Avidan Winery, Binyamina Winery, Galil Mountain Winery, Golan Heights Winery, Margalit Winery, Recanati Winery, Teperberg 1870, Tishbi Estate Winery, Tulip Winery, and Vitkin Winery. The ProWein Israeli Wine Pavilion is organized by the Israel Export Institute, Tel Aviv, in collaboration with the Israel Trade Center, Berlin.

German Press Contact: Ms. Ulrike Schinagl, Bestsidestory GmbH, Neumarkt 20, 04109 Leipzig, Tel: +49 (0) 341 - 39 29 98 90, E-mail: ulrike.schinagl@bestsidestory.de

Israeli Contact: Ms. Michal Neeman, Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute, 29 Hamered St., Tel Aviv 68125, Israel, Tel: +972 (3) 5142859, E-mail: michal@export.gov.il