January 17, 2011

Israeli Wines Score Big but May Lag Due to Marketing

 Tel Aviv…Israel’s wine industry continues to score big with wine reviewers and in international competition, but its sales do not reflect its new status, several Israeli wine experts told Kosher Today. The experts say that the quality of Israeli wines “is still very much a secret, although it is slowly gaining traction.” In the first 10 months of 2010, Israel exported $18 million worth of wines, according to an extensive report released by Israel’s Foreign Ministry. But given its new prominence, say the experts, the figures should have been at least double. The latest confirmation of the quality of the Israeli wines came from noted wine critic Mark Squires who tasted 76 wines from 17 wineries, including such well-known wineries as Yarden and Golan Heights Wineries. As reported in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, 12 of the wines scored 90 and above. The top scorers were Castel Grand Van, Domaine du Castel 2008 and Sycra Muscat, Clos de Gat 2006, with 93 points each. Carmel Limited Edition, Carmel Winery 2007 and Yatir Forest, Yatir Winery 2007 were each ranked a 91. Avidan Winery's Fringe Full Wine, 2008, and Tagkaton Blend des Noirs, 2008, each scored 90 points, as did Petit Castel, Domaine du Castel 2008 and Yarden Heights Wine, Golan Heights Winery 2008. Experts believe that the Israeli wines could better compete with other European wines, for example, if “there was a budget for marketing.” Others thought that the answer would come from better sales and distribution. There was a sense amongst the experts that the Israeli wines would “pick up steam” in the coming years but that “it will be a slow process.”