September 27, 2016

Wine Spectator in Cover Story Gives High Marks to Israel’s Wine Industry

New York - The cover of the October 2016 issue of the highly regarded Wine Spectator magazine screams: “The Wines of Israel: Surprising Quality from an Emerging Region.” It is a confirmation of what many in the food and wine industry already knew: Israel is producing world-class wines that compete favorably with some of the best wines from around the world. The publication gave high marks (at least an 88) to 40 Israeli wines, 30 over 90 with only two being non-kosher. Topping the scoring with a 93 was Tzora with its Misty Hills Judean Hills 2013. Despite its growth and development, says the Wine Spectator, “its place on the world stage will remain small for the foreseeable future.” Israel has 13,500 acres of vineyard, one fourth of California’s Sonoma Valley, and produces 10 million cases annually, most of it kosher. The Israeli wines have made significant inroads into the non-kosher market. Per capita consumption in Israel is half of that in the US so that the Israeli market alone will not drive the growth of the wines. In 2014, Israel exported $40 million of wine, about 40% of its total production. Nathan Herzog of Royal Wines, which imports most of the Israeli wines to the US, told the Wine Spectator: “We’ve been successful in migrating Israeli wines out of the kosher section…There has been a significant growth in Israeli wine sales in the US.” With the US kosher market continuing to grow at 10%-12% a year, there is every indication that the Israeli wines will continue to achieve at least similar growth.