Last night (Thursday, 21 August), in what I understand was a most pleasant setting in the antiquities park of Gamla, the Golan Heights Winery (for those not in the know their labels are Katzrin, Yarden, Gamla and Golan) officially celebrated the 25th Anniversary of their founding. Demonstrating their customary good taste, the celebration honored not only the winery but the people behind it - the various CEO's who have led it, the winemaking staff, the vintners, and those who work behind the scenes at the winery.
Several people have asked in private communications why I did not attend the event. I had been invited of course but chose not to attend for several reasons, not the least of which is that affairs that host 2,000+ people are simply not my "shtick". I have nothing at all against such events but they are simply not my cup of tea. It should go without saying that I thanked the winery for the invitation and explained why I would not attend. My non-attendance shows no disrespect at all for the winery. As a critic, however, I leave my public shows of respect for my wine columns and for this forum and, as can be seen by the opening of my most recent column, I consider the Golan Heights Winery the most positive and moving force in the local wine insutry. As I wrote in that column which appeared just several days ago:Since it released its first wine from the 1983 vintage, the Golan Heights Winery has been at the forefront of both the Israeli wine revolution and of local wine leadership. That seems truer than ever as it celebrates its 25th anniversary, showing no signs of tiredness. Its best wines compete with many of the best of France, Italy, California and Australia.
As to my respect for outgoing CEO Shalom Blayer, I said all that I had to say just a few weeks ago at a formal tasting held in Tel Aviv and what I had to say and what I felt was most positive indeed.
As to my respect for the wines of the Golan Heights Winery, and wines after all, ar4e the most important factor in evaluating any winery, those intersted can see my reviews of several newly released wines and several yet-to-be released wines in the above mentioned column by clicking on http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1013407.html