top of page

Resurgence of Israeli Wines 

Israeli wines are currently attracting a great deal of global attention. Combining advanced technology with a long history, wine producers are exploring the question of what makes Israeli wines authentic.

- Eliya Tsuchida (creator/expert on Israeli wines)

Have you tried Israeli wine?

People have been harvesting grapes and producing wines in Israel since ancient times. In terms of archaeology, old sites for wineries and wine presses can be traced back 4,000 years. Wine has a significant meaning for the Jewish religion. Every Sabbath Friday, people begin dinner with kiddush, a benediction and prayer recited over a cup of wine. This gives thanks to God for blessings and for making the Sabbath a holy day. By the way, the wine for kiddush must be certified as kosher (in compliance with traditional Jewish law). It will take time to explain how wines receive kosher―certified status. Various regulations also apply. One example is that those who keep the Sabbath can only produce kosher wines. Others are such as no producing or harvesting for the first four years and observing shmita, or letting the land lie fallow every seventh year.

In today’s Israel, the wine industry has enjoyed a resurgence, and techniques have been improving each year. The size of Japan’s island of Shikoku, Israel has about 360 wineries. In the 1800s, before the nation was founded, wineries such as Teperberg and Carmel contributed to restoring the Israeli wine industry. Carmel launched its operations after winning the support of Edmond de Rothschild, and the story of its beginning was rather dramatic.

The 1980s saw the opening of Golan Heights Winery, which raised the profile of Israeli wines in the world. It’s known in Japan as YARDEN (ירדן in Hebrew). In the 1990s, the first wave of the wine boom reached Israel, and many wineries were built in the area, including around Galilee and the Golan Heights, due to northern Israel’s ideal weather and terroir, which are perfect for winemaking.

Since the 2000s, smaller-scale wineries have opened. The more the economy grew, the more people spent on luxury goods, and expectations and evaluations have expanded regarding domestic wines.

Especially in the last decade, Israeli wines have been well received by wine expert Robert Parker, winning high scores and gold medals in international wine competitions. Now wine producers are hoping to create wines unique to the country. One example is a wine made from ancient Israeli grapes. According to Dr. Sibi of Ariel University, a specialist who researches old, native grapes, there used to be about 150 different grapes in the country.

Recommended Wineries That Are Still Not Known in Japan

This winery is located to the west of the Judean Hills. I have helped it with harvesting for the last four years. The owner’s name is Yoav. He doesn’t talk much, but is very particular about raising grapes, using only good grapes for his wines. They aren’t yet well known in Israel but produce a big-boned, full-bodied red wine.

Feldstein Winery
In discussing Israeli wines, the name of Avi Feldstein must be mentioned. He worked to improve the quality of Israeli wines as a chief winemaker for Segal and Barkan wineries, and is a pioneer who invented unfiltered wine. He has produced excellent and highly regarded wines using native-Israeli Argaman grapes, which at the time were underappreciated. He’s a bit of a rebel, an all-around cool guy who enjoys exploring the question of what makes Israeli wines.

Kerem Barak Winery
This winery is owned by my friend. Our children attended the same schools, from nursery school through middle school, and I’ve helped him with harvesting for the last five years.

The family lost their oldest son a few decades ago, which led my friend to study oenology at Tel-Hai College in northern Israel. The winery is named after their late son, Barak. It’s a small winery with a reputation for producing good wines. In particular, Pet Net, which was released three years ago, has been evaluated highly because of its pop label on the bottle and stylish taste. It’s also popular with young people.

This winery produces only white wines. The weather in Israel is hot, so few people feel like drinking red wine all the time. Sphera strongly believes in the power of white wine and has been producing the best ones.

I hope that you will enjoy discovering Israeli wines.


Eliya Tsuchida

Graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Fine Arts and Design in (Visual Communication). After returning to Japan, he worked for a Japanese game development company before returning to Israel and working for a motion game VR/AR development company, where he was involved in development using the latest technology. He also organizes exchange meetings between Japanese and Israelis living in Israel. He is well known in the Japanese community in Israel due to his long history of living in Israel, and is well versed in history and religion. She is also a contact person for media coverage from Japan to Israel. She is also active as an illustrator.

bottom of page