One of my favorite wine writers, Andrew Jefford (who also wrote a brilliant if slightly overlong book on the whiskies of Islay), once posed an interesting philosophic question that keeps coming to mind as I read through other recent discussion threads.
Citing the [Nazi-Philosopher] Martin Heideggar's view that philosophy begins with one fundamental question: “Why is there something rather than nothing?”. Jefford posits that, "the wine world has an equivalent. It may, indeed, have occurred to you when visiting wine regions. Namely: why is there a vineyard here and not there?"
In parts of Europe, the answer is obvious - as Jeffords puts it: "because it would be a waste of time and money to plant anything else. You could graze sheep in Chambertin, but fourteen centuries of growing vines there has proved – in the glass, and in the account book -- that this particular piece of earth insists on being a vineyard. Move just a little way away into the Hautes Côtes de Nuits, though, and it’s a moot point whether or not some of the existing vineyards would be better off filled with blackcurrant bushes or wheat. To the innocent eye, that difference is puzzling: the two places are so close and look so similar, yet the differences are so stark....They [many Southern Hemisphere vineyards] are there because someone wanted to have a go, and happened to own a particular piece of land. Most vineyards are, in a word, experiments. When the experiment works, via the litmus of glass and account book, the vineyard stays. When it doesn’t, the vineyard goes...It would be comforting to think that the purest considerations of terroir were the major factor in deciding vineyard vocation, but of course they aren’t: the account book matters more....Nowadays, the eddies of fashion and skilful marketing are probably as important as fundamental vineyard aptitude...Remember, though, that every wine atlas is provisional." See the rest of his brief but thoughtful 2009 article here: http://www.andrewjefford.com/node/596
It could be an exceedingly long time before such questions can be definitively answered regarding Israel's vineyards, but it makes for interesting contemplation.
[If there are still any Israeli winemakers or Viticulturalists active on the forum, it’d be interesting to hear their views too.]