Vin Israel

Israeli Wine Regions

October 11th, 2010 }

Israeli wine is produced in five regions: Galilee (which includes the sub-regions of the Golan Heights, Upper Galilee and Lower Galilee); the Judean Hills, surrounding the city of Jerusalem; the Samson region, located between the Judean Hills and the Coastal Plain; the Negev desert region; and the Shomron  region, which includes the Sharon plain located near the Mediterranean coast and just south of Haifa. More than 80% of the vineyards planted in Israel are located in the Shomron, Samson and Galilee regions.  As of 2005, there were 14,820 acres (6,000 hectares) under vine.

 

The Golan contains some of the highest elevated vineyards in Israeli-controlled territory, with vineyard planted upwards of 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) from the Sea of Galilee towards Mount Hermon.  There are seven Israeli wineries in the Golan Heights that cultivate a total of 1,600 acres (648 hectares). These include four boutiques, and Chateau Golan, Bazelet Hagolan, and the Golan Heights Winery whose Yarden, Gamla, and Golan labels enjoy international renown.

 

The Golan Heights, occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War in 1967, are located northeast of Israel proper, though Israel considers it a sub-region of the Galilee. The political status of the Golan Heights has resulted in controversy on the export market. In one example, following domestic demand for kosher wine, a number of Golan Heights wines were marketed by Systembolaget, Sweden's state-owned monopoly alcohol retailer, as "Made in Israel" on shelves and in the sales catalogue. Following customer complaints and consultation with Sweden's foreign ministry, Systembolaget changed the shelf labelling to read, "Made in Israeli-occupied Syrian territories." However this prompted further complaints, from some customers and a Member of Parliament. Systembolaget's solution was to simply remove all reference to the product's country of origin on shelves and in catalogues, classifying the wine as of "other origins."  The actual bottles remained unchanged throughout the controversy, and carried the producer's English-language labels.



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