Spring is in the air and Passover is upon us. As we gather around the Seder table and remember the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt, a rebirth from slavery into freedom of the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - why not do that with Israeli wines?
Israel has a thriving wine industries. It dates back to an influx of funding in the late 1800s from Baron Edmond de Rothschild of France’s famed Lafite-Rothschild, one of Bordeaux’s most esteemed wines.
The unique combination of Israel's mostly-cooperative climate, new high quality grape varieties and the innovative high technology methods of wineries create first class wines appreciated across the world.
Not all wines produced in Israel are kosher. In order to be classified as kosher in Israel the wine must be made in accordance with biblical agricultural laws in addition to traditional kosher standards. These laws require that the vine must be in its fourth year, the land must be left fallow every seven years, only vines may be grown on the land, and 1 percent of the wine must be poured away as a symbol of tithing.
Over the last 10 years the industry has evolved and recognition for Israeli wines is on the rise - here is a short video covering the Israeli wine revolution:
Binyamina is one of many Israeli wineries that have undergone a quality revival. Founded in 1952 by a Hungarian named Joseph Zeltzer, it was purchased several years ago by an ambitious group of private investors. It's currently the fourth-largest winery in Israel, with four different labels and vineyards in key regions like the Golan Heights, the Judean Hills and Upper and Lower Galilee. Other quality-minded Israeli producers include Psagot (founded only 10 years ago) and Domaine du Castel, a winery focused on producing Bordeaux-style reds founded by Eli Ben Zaken, who emigrated to Israel from abroad.
So as you sit around the Seder table - raise your glass LeHaim with a high quality Israeli wine - Happy Passover to all friends of Israel.