Several recent questions that have been asked of me in emails and other messages.
(1) What do I think of the possible sale of Binyamina wineries to Chetzi Chinam?
I am somewhat amused in that so many people, as can be seen in local newspapers and on various internet sites, have their proverbials in an uproar about this potential sale. From time to time, wineries are sold, not only in Israel but all over the world. What is important to me as both a wine lover and as a critic is not who the owner is but what if any changes will be made in the quality and pricing of the wines due to the takover.
Many seem to be upset by the reality that the negotiations for the purchase of Binyamina, one of the six largest wineries in the country, are being undertaken by a discount-price supermarket chain. Need I remind us of the panic that was felt when control in the Tabor winery was purchased by IDB (the local producer of Coca Cola).... and that the quality of the Tabor wines and their QPR have continued to rise ever since?
Personally, I will wait to see what changes (if any) are made in management and winemakers and, most important, in the quality and QPR of the wines before I make any judgement. Indeed, if the deal goes through at all which at this moment is unknown to me.
(2) What do I think of the appearance within the past three days of four new local (i.e. Israeli) wine bloggers.
Truth is, I do not think much about this at all. Those bloggers who have something of value to say will be worth following. Those who do not, will not. In general, I am reminded of the aphorism of Hillare Beloc: "Just as there is nothing in common between the admirable omelet and the intolerable, so it is with autobiography". As the lives and thus autobiographies of the vast majority of people have little of interest to anyone other than themselves or those who care for them, neither do their blogs. Are there exceptions - of course!
(3) A rumor has it that I am planning a major trip to visit wineries in the occupied territories. True or false?
False. I will continue, with pleasure, to taste and write about wines from the territories and to meet with winemakers who live and work there but those meetings and tastings will continue to take place either in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
(4) is it true that the first kosher Champagne has appeared in Israel?
Not true. The first kosher Champagnes, from Piper and Charles Heidseick as well as from Pommery appeared in Israel as long as a decade ago. What is true is that the kosher edition of the Champagne of Louis de Sacy, long available in the USA and Europe is now going to be available locally. I have a bottle on hand and will be tasting it alongside several other kosher and non-kosher Champagnes, including the non-kosher version of Louis de Sacy, within the next few days.
Thus, as might be said, spake Zarathustra