Yossi’s Wine Page

A Perfect Friday

Last Friday was definitely a fun day.

I woke up shortly past dawn and went out for a 10 km run. Ok, that wasn’t so much fun, but I feel good knowing I’m doing something good for my body. At least I hope it is. And I listen to terrific music while running (Traffic, Joe Bonamassa, Albert Cummings, Queen, The Who, The Doors … you get the idea), and that makes it a good bit more enjoyable. Also, I run in the fields of Binyamina, among the fruit orchards and the many many vineyards. The smell of the peaches is delightful, and the vines are developing quite nicely, thank you very much.

Dina had just gotten up by the time I returned and we had breakfast (omlettes with onions and cheese, and Swedish filter coffee) in the garden.

Then it was off to the Tulip Winery for the latest in their series of international wine tastings. This time it was wines from Greece. I must say that while I was quite intrigued I didn’t expect to be very impressed by the wines. I’m very happy to stay that I was completely wrong about that. Read more…


Salute 2015 Ra’anana – June 24-25

Now that the spate of pre and post Shavuot wine events, and the month long Bshvil Hayain (Wineland) festival in the north, are behind us, it’s time again for the annual wine festival in Park Ra’anana, which will take place this year on Wednesday and Thursday, June 24 & 25 at 18:30 – 23:00.Salute Ra'anana 2015 (24-25 Jun 15) - crop

As in the past, the festival will be held by the lake in the park, making for a very relaxed and laid back atmosphere. Read more…

Wineland (B’Shvil Hayain) Festival 2015 – May 12th – Jun 12th

The 2015 Wineland Festival of wineries in the Galilee, Golan, and Northern Valleys will run for a full month from May 12th – June 12th.

Buoyed by the success of last year’s Wineland Festival, the organizers have become yet more ambitious, and have planned even more activities this year. There are musical events, vineyard tours, winery visits, car trips, walks in the woods, guided tours around villages in the north, and of course the Wine Fair in Rosh Pina (more information here and on the English Facebook page).

To see what I mean, just click on the schedule below.Wineland 2015 - Calendar of Events - English

Read more…

Pre-Passover and Election Day Wine Events

You can always tell when the Passover holiday is approaching in Israel because there are loads of wine events, all at the same time, and this year is no exception. To see what’s going on, have a look at my calendar of wine events. Don’t even think about trying to attend all of these events – it’s just not possible. I will make a valiant attempt, at least for the events nearby, but I’ll still fall short.

And with election day (Tuesday March 18th) falling right during the run-up to Passover this year, many of the smaller wineries, Read more…

2nd Annual Festival of Wine & Plenty – March 25th & 26th, 2015

Last year’s regional Festival of Wine & Plenty at Ramat Hanadiv was such a roaring success, that even before the dust settled, it became a foregone conclusion that we’d be holding it again this year.

So it gives me great pleasure to announce that the 2nd annual regional Festival of Wine & Plenty will be held at the Ramat Hanadiv park during the week before Pesach on March 25th & 26th 2015.

Banner with logo

For those who missed it, 23 (mostly) local wineries participated in the festival last year, along with local producers of cheese, olive oil, jams, and baked confections. There were also cooking demonstrations and wine workshops (for the hard core enthusiasts), and light dairy fare was provided by Ramat Hanadiv’s Mataim restaurant.  Live instrumental jazz enhanced the relaxed atmosphere.


Well, this year there will be more of everything.

More wineries, more food, more workshops, and the cooking demos will be held in a more central, more accessible, location. There will also be more places to buy tickets in advance; online ticket sales should work more smoothly and there will be no fees.


After last year’s festival the feedback was more than encouraging, with the overwhelming majority telling us what a wonderful time they had. We promised them all that this year would be even better, and we fully intend to keep that promise.


Check the event page regularly as I will be posting more information as it becomes available.

Negev “First Harvest” Olive Oil Festival – Dec 4-6, 2014

In the wake of the 20th annual Olive Days festival in the North, comes the First (annual?) First Harvest Olive Oil Festival in the Negev.

Here’s a reasonably accurate translation of the official Festival announcement:

For the first time this year, the Olive Board of the Plants Production and Marketing Board, in cooperation with the Shikma – Bsor Tourism Association, will hold an Israeli Olive Oil Festival in the Negev, as part of the First Harvest celebrations. The festival will include musical performances, and selected restaurants will be serving special dishes using olive oils of the region. In addition, there will be agricultural tours to farms in the area.

The First Harvest Festival was inspired by the fact that then Negev has become a significant source of quality Israeli olive oil. The pioneering work of Professor Shimon Lavie and his team has resulted in the ability to grow olive trees in arid regions using drip irrigation, leading to a viable olive oil industry in the Negev. The festival also salutes the efforts of the olive farmers in the Negev, particularly in light of the difficult security situation they had to endure this past summer.

First Harvest olive oil is the virgin oil from the first fruits. Having just been pressed, the oil is extremely fresh. Unfiltered and unrefined, this oil retains its fresh aroma and intense flavors of the young olive fruit.

Olive Board director, Dr. Adi Na’ali says: “We decided to celebrate, for the first time this year, an olive oil festival in the Negev so as to recognize the efforts and accomplishments of the olive farmers in the Negev, who have accomplished wonders despite challenging climatic conditions, and also to identify with them in the wake of the difficult security situation they had to deal with during the summer. We invite the masses of Israel come and taste fresh, healthy oil, and join in our celebrations.”

The First Harvest Festival, which will be part of the Warm Winter events sponsored by the Ministry of Negev and Galilee Development, the Ministry of Tourism, and the Ministry of Culture and Sports, will run from Thursday December 4th through Saturday December 6th.

Festival schedule:

Thursday, December 4th at 21:00

  • Jazz performance at the Artichoke restaurant in Mosha Gea
  • Spanish-Latin performance at the Sines restaurant in the Sha’ar Hanegev industrial zone

The restaurants will serve special dishes based on olive oil from the area.

Friday, December 5th at 09:00- 15:00

First Harvest celebrations at the olive press in Moshav Yoshivia. The event will include:

  • Olive oil tastings
  • Lectures about olive oil and olive oil quality
  • Musical performance
  • Farmer’s market
  • Olive press tours and demonstrations
  • Sale of olive oil and olive oil products (cosmetics, etc.)
  • Fair of local products

Saturday, December 6th

  • Tze’ela Dairy Farm – Greek performance and tastings of cheese and olive oil
  • Mavoch Miriam in Moshav Nir Moshe – Guided tours and “chef-actor” performance
  • 20:00 – Musical by the singer Fernando at the Mides restaurant in Moshav Beror Hayil. The restaurant will be serving special dishes based on olive oils of the region.

Details of all events can be found at: http://www.habsor.co.il/olive and at the Olive Board website.

For further information, call or email:

Moshe Inbar
(054) 525-2180

Li-Or Avnon
(050) 211-1008

Grape Man’s Boutique Wineries Open House

On Friday Nov 14, The Grape Man is holding an open house featuring wines from boutique wineries that produce up to 25,000 bottles annually.

בית פתוח יקבי בוטיק

Here’s is a free translation of The Grape Man’s event announcement.

Does size really matter, or is that just a myth? Read more…

20th Annual Olive Days Festival, 28 Oct – 18 Nov 2014

Did you know that it takes 5 – 10 kg of olives to produce 1 liter of olive oil?


Or that the average per capita consumption of olive oil in Israel is 2.5 liters per year, while Italians and Greeks consume 5 and ten times as much respectively? Read more…

16th Annual Judean Hills Wine Festival and Fair

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.

Judean Hills Wine Festival (23 Oct - 20 Nov 14)

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.

Judean Hills Wine Fair (23 Oct 14)

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.


A Wine to Watch

Last Friday I went to the annual pre Rosh Hashana tasting at the Poizner Winery in Zikhron Ya’akov.

Yoav Poizner, the winemaker, produces some 2,500 bottles a year, all from the family’s own vineyards where they grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Carignan, and Malbec. (Yoav claims that Poizner’s Malbec is the oldest in the region.)

Poizner’s philosophy is to produce wines that suit the Mediterranean climate, so none are terribly heavy or overpowering. All the wines I tasted are quite nice for the warm weather, despite their high alcohol content (~14 – 14.5%), and probably wouldn’t mind being served slightly chilled.

The wines presented at the event were:

  • Merlot 2009 (with 5% Malbec)
  • Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (with a bit of Petit Verdot and Malbec)
  • Syrah 2010 (with a bit of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 2010 Milack Valley (Wadi Milek) blend (45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Petit Verdot, and 5 % Malbec)

All of the wines were rather pleasant, and to my surprised I actually preferred the Cabernet Sauvignon over the others, as it exhibited greater complexity.

The Merlot was unusual in that it was not at all overly fruity, and the Syrah surprised me by being rather one dimensional. The Maleck Valley blend was nicely balanced and remarkably light.

After trying the “official” wines of the event, Yoav let me sample the 2011 blend, which is in a stainless tank just waiting to be bottled. This unusual blend of Carignan, Petit Verdot, Syrah, and Malbec is altogether different from the 2010, and is by far the most enjoyable Poizner wine I have had to date. The flavors are intricate and nicely balanced, the tannins are smooth and well integrated. And with light to medium body I believe it will go well with a wide range or foods, while standing quite nicely on its own as well.

Release of the 2011 blend is scheduled for Pesach 2015, and I intend to be at the front of the line to get some.

Wishing everyone a year of peace, health, fun, happiness, and of course, lots of good wine.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: