Lonely Man of Cake

June 12, 2007

The Future of the Golan Heights Wineries

Filed under: Israel,Politics,Wine — lonelymanofcake @ 6:12 pm

With mounting speculation that an impending peace deal with Syria would most probably require Israel’s withdrawal from the Golan Heights, one of the more interesting, but less publicly debated, ramifications of such a deal would involve the fate of the numerous wineries in the area.  On my recent winery tour in the north, we visited two of (at least) seven wineries in the area: Bazelet ha-Golan (amazing Cabernet) and the bio-organic Bashan Winery (amazing Port).  The Golan Heights winery–which we were not able to visit–is the institution that put Israeli wines on the map and that put the myth of all-kosher-wine-taste-like Manischewitz to rest.

This article in Decanter Magazine discusses the issue, and while the article does not introduce much new material to the discussion, it is interesting to note Daniel Rogov’s casual feelings about a possible withdrawal, and the misplaced (and naive) projection of the CEO of the Carmel Winery that such a move would encourage wine tourism in Israel.

What are your feelings on the issue?



  1. On a purely selfish level, it would be sad to see the wineries closed, if only because of the paucity of good, kosher wine options. Also, I wonder if the Israeli government would compensate the business owners, or if they would treat them like the other Israelis whose homes were “disengaged.”

    Comment by Annie — June 13, 2007 @ 8:04 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks for your comment, Annie. On the “bright” side, there are up-and-coming wineries sprouting up throughout the country, particularly around the Jerusalem Hills region. Many of them have produced superb products. The Golan Heights Winery produces some of Israel’s finest wines (Katzrin, Elrom, Ortal), but in very limited quantities. I just got word of a new release (Elrom 2003 Cabernet) which is expected to sell all of its 12,500 bottles within 7-10 days. Most of the GHW wines are mass market, loaded with sulfites, and have no serious aging potential.
    Your latter point is certainly worthy of consideration. I would hope (naively) that the government has learned a thing or two since the disengagement. Sadly, were Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights, I feel like the government would be under more pressure to compensate winemakers than simpler, lettuce growing farmers from the Gush.

    Comment by lonelymanofcake — June 13, 2007 @ 9:44 pm | Reply

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