The Judean Hills is considered by many to be one of Israel’s top wine regions. And after recently sampling some excellent wines produced by local wineries, I could understand why. Every wine region (of course conditions do vary from vineyard to vineyard within the region) is characterized by a different and unique terroir. To those who aren’t familiar with this French term, the word terroir refers to the combination of the micro-climate, soil type, topography and other factors that influence the vine, grapes and consequently impact the wine as well.
Over the past 15 years many new players joined the local wine industry and today the region is home to some of Israel’s top wineries. A few years back, owners and winemakers partnered to establish a Judean Hills wine club, active in promoting Israeli wine culture.
The Judean Hills Wine Club will be participating in a regional tourism campaign, which includes various events, organized nature hikes, vineyard tours and other activities taking place from the 16th to 30th of October. The two week festival will reach its climax at a wine tasting festival held on the 29th and 30th at the Ein Hemed national park, only a 10 minute drive from Jerusalem.
The event offers wine lovers from all over the country a chance to meet the people behind the wines and sample vinos from over 20 local wineries. Among the participating wineries are: Clos De Gat, Bravdo, Ella Valley Winery, Ben Hanna Winery, Castel, Flam, Katlav, Suson Yam, Yehuda Winery, Agur, Tzora and others.
The wine club has also established and marked a Judean Hills route du vin (wine trial), laying the foundations for wine and culinary tourism in the region. The wine trail will allow visitors to easily plan a day tour (or longer), visiting wineries and sampling their offerings. After over a decade of hard work by local municipalities, tourism authorities, winemakers and various consultants the official wine route has officially been launched.
Next time you are in the Jerusalem area and are looking for an interesting way to spend the day, stop by the closest delicatessen, pick up a couple of hunks of your favorite cheese and a fresh baguette and head on out to the Judean Hills.
Please note that many of the wineries do not have regular visiting hours and making a reservation is advised.