Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Jerusalem Wine Festival - Summer 2016

There have been a lot of ill feelings expressed about this year’s wine festival. Many people have come out (both in print and in public/private conversation) against the cost, the lack of high-quality wines, the lack of across-the-board Kashrut, and the temperature of the wines being served, just to name a few. And yes, I’ll admit that after last year, I too was one of these people.

However, I went last night — both as a professional courtesy to the show’s managers, and to gain general knowledge of what the industry is up to, as well as meeting my friends, customers, and colleagues for a drink. And you know what? I actually had a good time.
The temperature settled at a pleasant 22 degrees in the open Jerusalem air, allowing for the wines to be served at a very pleasant cool state. This was mainly due to the fact that the event was held in September, not August, as in previous years. 

33 wineries — all of them Israeli — with 30 under Kosher certification, were pouring a nice selection.

Gone are the massive productions of Carmel, Ramat HaGolan, Dalton, Binyamina, Tavor and Recanati. In fact, most of the larger “everybody-know-them” wineries were all but gone altogether. Dalton has a modest table, as do Golan and Galil, but the rest of that list is not present at all.

Instead, you have a fine selection of the next-generation, up-and-coming wineries such as Bat Shlomo, Matar, La Citadelle De Diamante, Ramat Negev, Montefiore, Odem Mountain, and some of the classics such as Gush Etzion, Shilo, Ella Valley and Tepperberg.

Most of these actually were pouring some great wines, and the crowd (at least last night) was bearable.

All in all, I believe that with exception of the price tag, the organizers have heard the outcry, and have responded by fixing most of the errors of the past.

Wines to look for:

- Shilo Legend
- Bat Shlomo  - everything
- Matar Cummulous
- Odem Mountain Syrah Reserve
- Har Bracha Reserve Cabernet Franc / Merlot
- La Citadelle Marius

If you happen to attend, make sure to find me and say hello!


  1. I hope there's some good stuff left by Thursday!

  2. Try the Ramat Hanegev petit verdot.

  3. Most pleasant surprises of the night for me were the Capsouto wines (white, Rose and both reds), the Jezreel Carignan and the Cab Franc from Tulip. While I'll continue going year after year as I find it to be one of the nicest events on the Israeli calendar, I find the ever dwindling list of wineries and the extremely limited selection that those in attendance offer tastings of, to be truly disappointing. Noticeable by absence were Gvaot, Netofa, Tura, Psagot, Carmel, Tabor, Yatir, Tzora, Castel and Flam. In short, other than Amphorae (non-kosher), none of the premier boutique wineries were in attendance. I find that inexcusable, especially in light of the 95 shekel price.

    1. In all fairness - Tzora, Castel, and Flam never have Nore will they ever attend wine festivals. The market themselves in a different league.
      Gvaot, Netofa and Tura arusuallynat the Festival in February, and if they ever did attend the summer event, it has been years since they did.
      Reason being the sheer amount of,wine that is poured as well as the costs of the show. See my post from last years event:

  4. I wasn't surprised by their absence, but given the price tag for the event and the fact that it markets itself as the premier wine festival in Israel, I don't think the organizers should get a pass for putting on an event that doesn't include the premier boutique and larger scale wineries.