18th Annual Judean Hills Wine Festival and Fair: Oct 27 – Nov 19
Fall has arrived, the 2016 grape harvest is behind us, and the holidays season will soon be a memory. Fortunately the festivities will continue with the Judean Hills Wine Festival.
Now in its 18th consecutive year, the festival includes tours and activities at many of the regions wineries, with opportunities to visit the wineries, meet the wine makers and hear their stories, see how the wines are made, and of course, taste the wines.
Israel now boasts over 350 wineries (have a look at my map to see where most of them are) and many of the best are in the Judean Hills. Vineyards abound in the Judean Hills region, some at elevations of 800 meters or more, producing outstanding grapes of over a dozen varieties.
The festival will run from October 27th through November 19th, and will kick off on the evening of Thursday October 27th with the traditional wine fair, beginning at 19:30. This year the fair has moved to the Yad Hashmona Country Hotel. Most of the Judean Hills wineries will be participating in the fair, where they will be pouring their newest wines for your tasting pleasure. The NIS 60 admission fee gets you a glass (to keep) and unlimited tastings. With some 35 wineries participating, there will be in excess of 100 wines, so it will be impossible to taste them all. I recommend tasting varietals with which you are less familiar or enamored; you might be surprised (Judean Hills Merlot, for example, is entirely different from Merlots grown in other regions of the country). There are also several new wineries participating in the fair this year, so it’s worth sampling their wines. For further details and a list of the participating wineries, have a look at the event’s posting on my calendar of wine events.
Special winery tours, tastings, and other events will take place at a number of Judean Hills wineries throughout the festival, mostly over the weekends. Some of these events are shown below, and they are also listed with descriptions in English in a calendar of events I have prepared for the festival. I will add events as time allows and as details become available.
This year’s festival also features a conference for wine professionals to be held on Nov 18th in the Yad Hashmona Country Hotel, beginning at 08:30. Admission is free but registration is required – call (02) 995-8650 to reserve a spot. Attendance is limited. I will add details regarding the focus of the conference as soon as I receive that information.
A number of guided wine and history tours will also be held throughout the region during the three weeks/four weekends of the festival. Look here for details (in Hebrew). I will also add as many of these tours to the calendar as time allows.
The tour-yehuda website has a map of the Judean Hills Wineries, along with listings of other attractions in the area. 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.