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ISRAEL

Israel boasts a Mediterranean-like climate which proves ideal for cultivating top-quality grapes.  The proximity of the Mediterranean Sea also contributes refreshing winds for ventilation and lower humidity.  Additionally, The Central Mountain region, specifically in areas like Jerusalem and its surrounding regions, offers a climate replete with distinct seasonal variations.

 

Israel's vibrant art scene often goes unnoticed, but for those in the know, there is much to explore, and there are many adventures to be had.

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Tel Aviv, serves as the cultural hub of the country, and is host to numerous contemporary art galleries. The Tel Aviv Museum of Art exhibits both modern pieces and European classics dating back to the 16th century.

In historic Jerusalem, art manifests in various forms. The city showcases remarkable architecture spanning four millennia, influenced by Jewish, Roman, Muslim, and Christian traditions. Iconic landmarks like the Wailing Wall and the Dome of the Rock, situated just a few yards apart, exemplify this rich heritage. For those seeking more contemporary expressions, exploring the street art at Machane Yehuda Market is a must.

Until recently, Israel's wineries remained one of the country's best-kept secrets. Even today, most people consider it an off-the-beaten-path destination for unparalleled wines. Israel is home to six distinct wine regions: Galilee, Central Mountains, Coastal Plains, Golan Heights, Judean Foothills, and the Negev Desert.

Traditionally, Israeli vineyards focused on cultivating red grapes, which comprise over seventy percent of the country's wine production, with Cabernet Sauvignon being the most prevalent. However, it is the white wines that have captured attention and sparked interest in Israeli winemaking.

The Judean Foothills contribute approximately one-third of Israel's wine output. This region is also home to wineries that have played a significant role in garnering attention for Israeli wines. One such winery is Domaine du Castel, renowned among critics. Robert Parker, the world-renowned critic, and his publication, The Wine Advocate, have bestowed some of the highest scores on their white wines.

Sphera Winery is another standout vineyard in the Judean Foothills. Similar to Domaine du Castel, it is a family-run establishment. However, Sphera focuses exclusively on cultivating white grapes. Their Riesling has garnered several awards and can be found in top restaurants across Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

The Galilee region stands as one of Israel's largest wine producers. Known primarily for its red wines, it is divided into upper and lower sectors. The upper sector, located near the Lebanon border, boasts vineyards growing at altitudes exceeding 3,000 feet above sea level. Meanwhile, the lower sector, closer to sea level, features a diverse soil composition ranging from volcanic to limestone.

The Golan Heights is gaining international recognition for its Israeli wines. This northeastern region spans elevations from 1,200 to about 4,000 feet, fostering a wide array of grape varieties. Notably, exceptional reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec thrive at altitudes between 2,000 and 3,000 feet. Additionally, higher elevations accommodate primarily white grape varieties like Riesling, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.

 

Completing Israel's wine regions are the Central Mountains, Coastal Plain, and Negev Desert. The Negev Desert emphasizes the cultivation of ancient vineyards, while the Coastal Plain has experienced diminished significance in recent times due to a shift toward strawberry and citrus fruit farming.

 

Israel's newest wine region, the Central Mountains, is rapidly gaining recognition. Three wines from this area were recently awarded three Decanter Gold Medals.

Israel has long been a source of inspiration for millions of people, spanning from biblical times to the present. While religion has been a prominent motive for travel over the past 2,000 years, many now recognize Israel as an ideal destination for an off-the-beaten-path wine experience and a thriving art scene.

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