Obligatory Israel Visit Winery question

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Obligatory Israel Visit Winery question

Postby Adam Peters » Fri May 31, 2013 11:15 am

Hi Everybody,

I'll be going with my family to Israel right after Tisha B'av, for a month. Naturally, I'll want to check out some wineries. We'll be staying in Efrat, and we've already been to Gush Etzion (although we might go again). Can I please get recommendations for wineries to visit? Preferably ones with other local attractions that may be nice for the kids. The area is irrelevant, as we plan to be fairly mobile. Does Teperberg do tours? They make some of our favourites.

Thanks and have a good shabbos!

Adam
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Re: Obligatory Israel Visit Winery question

Postby Isaac Chavel » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:14 pm

Last I heard, Teprberg does not do tours nor public tasting, yet. Maybe, if you are Gabe or Yossi or David or others in the "trade" you can get a tasting. But then, my info might be out-of-date.

Obvious possibilities are:
Ella Valley,
Tzora,
Flam,
Tzuba,
Castel.
This is a small clockwise circuit from Efrat to Beit Shemesh through Emek HaEllah and back to Jerusalem through route 395 north of Beit Shemesh.
If you want to swing wider you can include Barkan in Hulda, and Karmei Yosef in Karmei Yosef.

Tzuba has a popular water park.

You should call in advance. My guess, from the times I have shown up at these places unannounced, that they open for the public only on Fridays. Although I remember Tzora tasting room open for people walking in during the week.

Broader and more expert advice is available here, but I thought I would get the ball rolling.

Isaac
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Re: Obligatory Israel Visit Winery question

Postby Gabriel Geller » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:31 am

Adam, welcome and safe travels!

What Isaac said. Right on the money.

Best,

GG
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Re: Obligatory Israel Visit Winery question

Postby Yossie Horwitz » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:16 pm

For what it's worth, I put together a Google Map of the kosher wineries that can be helpful in putting together a mini wine route that works for you:

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=216077309031719733434.0004b75c578cf2f58580e&msa=0
Sign up for my weekly newsletter on wines, wineries & other oenophilic goodies at http://www.yossiescorkboard.com
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Re: Obligatory Israel Visit Winery question

Postby YossiD » Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:58 am

IMHO, the most enjoyable element of wine is Israel is the people, so I'm recommending wineries with people who are friendly and interesting to talk to.

In the Jerusalem area I would recommend the Katlav, Katamon, Agur, and Yaffo wineries.(Links to websites at the end.)

Katlav is located in Moshav Nes Harim, and the scenery is beautiful. Owner/winemaker Yossi Yitach is very friendly and his wines are marvelous.

The Katamon Winery is a very small operation run by Avital Goldner, who spends half his time as a Sofer Stam and the other half as a winemaker. Definitely worth visiting.

The Agur winery is in Moshav Agur and run by winemaker Shuki Yashuv. Shuk speaks excellent English and he makes some wonderful wine. If you visit Agur make sure you have plenty of time - Shuki likes to talk.

Yaffo Winery used to be located in Yaffo but now they are in the Judean Hills area. I particularly like their Carignan and Chardonnay.

Heading north, I would try to visit Saslove, Eyal, Tishbi, Bat Shlomo (if possible), and Tulip (website links at the end).

Saslove turned Kosher a few years ago and released their first Kosher wines this year; I hear they're quite good. Winemaker Roni Saslove is knowlegable, passionate, enthusiastic, and a native English speaker.

Eyal, located in Moshav Givat Nili, is a new winery for me, and I visited them during Pesach. The setting, the winemaker, and the wines were all very enjoyable. Eyal is one of a very few Kosher boutique wineries in the area.

The Tishbi Winery in Binyamina is Israel's 5th largest (I think), but they still maintain a friendly atmosphere. Tishbi also has a really pleasant dairy restaurant, which is a great place for breakfast. They have recently added a Valrhona chocolate center to add a little variety to the visit.

The Bat Shlomo winery is new on the scene and I don't know if they're open for regular visits. I've been in touch with them and plan to visit as soon as I have a chance, so you might see a posting about them on my blog in the next month or so. At the moment Bat Shlomo has only a Sauvignon Blanc, but I understand they will be bottling some new wines soon (a Chardonnay and a Rosé I think), so those might be available by the time you get here.

Tulip is a rather unique winery, located in the special needs community of Kfar Tikva. The winery employs some of the residents of the community making the purchase of their wine something of a Mitzva (more about this on their website). Tulip makes quite a range of wines (I particularly like their Cabernet Franc) and they have a nice visitor's center.

It's a good idea to check the websites of the wineries to see when they're open for visits. For most of the small wineries it's always best to call first.

Here are links to the wineries' websites:
Katlav: http://www.katlavwinery.com/
Agur: http://www.agurwines.com/home.aspx
Yaffo: http://yaffowinery.co.il/
Saslove: http://www.saslove.com/en/index.php
Tisbi: http://www.tishbi.com/site/index.php
Bat Shlomo: http://www.batshlomo.com/
Tulip: http://tulip-winery.co.il/english.html
Katamon has no website, but they do have a Facebook page in Hebrew: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Katamon-Winery/135796016461804
Same for Eyal: https://www.facebook.com/eyal.winery

You can find all of these wineries on my Google map of wineries in Israel ([url]yossiswinemap.notlong.com[/url]) or Yossie's Google map of Kosher wineries in Israel (https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=216077309031719733434.0004b75c578cf2f58580e&msa=0).

I have also written about some of these wineries on my blog (http://yossiswinepage.wordpress.com/).

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions: ydwine1[at]gmail[dot]com

Have a great visit.
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Re: Obligatory Israel Visit Winery question

Postby Bill Coleman » Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:11 am

To Isaac's list of wineries near Efrat, I would add Agur. Shuki is a riot!
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Re: Obligatory Israel Visit Winery question

Postby Isaac Chavel » Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:45 am

Bill and YossiD,

Thanks for the tip on Agur.

My parents are buried in Eretz Hachayim near Beit Shemesh. So after our annual visit, we like to drink a l'chayim at some local winery. :)

Always on the lookout for new opportunities.
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Re: Obligatory Israel Visit Winery question

Postby Adam Peters » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:55 pm

Thanks everybody, this is really helpful. I have a month, so hopefully I can get in a couple of visits. Perhaps my sister-in-law can watch my kids one day and my wife and I can do a short tour.

I'll try to do a summary of what I see (and taste)!

Adam
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