While not so common just a few years ago, wine festivals now abound in Israel. And though there are several regional wine festivals that take place annually in various parts of the country, I believe the Judean Hills Wine Festival, now in its 16th year, is senior among them.
Certainly this is my favorite regional wine festival in Israel, partly because of the warm friendships I’ve developed with quite a few of the winemakers, and partly because I particularly enjoy wines made from Judean Hills grapes.
In any event, though details are still sparse, this year’s Judean Hills Wine Festival has been announced, and the published dates are for the weekends between 23 Oct and 20 Nov 2014. Seeing as how 20 Nov is a Thursday, this seems a bit strange and I will try to get clarification. Check back for updates.
The festival will kick off on October 23rd with the traditional wine fair, beginning at 19:30. The fair will be held again at Mini Israel near Latroun, as it was last year. Most, of the Judean Hills wineries will be participating in the fair, where they will be pouring their newest wines for your tasting pleasure. In the past, the admission fee got you a glass (that you get to keep) and unlimited tastings (but don’t get carried away: tastings are for tasting not for putting on a buzz – for that you should buy a few bottles). I imagine this year will be the same.
I have not yet seen a list of participating wineries, nor have I seen any information about ticket prices, advanced ticket sales, etc. I will post updates if and when I have any new information to share.
On the four Fridays of the festival – Oct 24 & 31, Nov 7 & 14 – there will be organized bus trips to wineries in the area. Each trip will visit three different wineries. Space is limited, so if you are interested, call 02-990-0903 or 1-800-800-242 0r *8108 for information and to make reservations.
During the weekends of the festival most of the Judean Hills Wineries are open to the public for visits. It’s always a good idea to call a winery before visiting, especially on Shabbat, since some of the kosher wineries will be closed. Most of the wineries are listed, with contact information (just click on the winery) on this page of the tour-yehuda website.
The tour-yehuda website has a map of the Judean Hills Wineries, but it appears to be a bit out-of-date, and the legend showing the winery names is missing. As an alternative, have a look at my Google map of wineries in Israel; most of the Judean Hills wineries are there, with contact information.
Check back here or at the tour-yehuda.org.il and m-yehuda.org.il websites for more information and updates.