Judging by the number of trendy pubs and wine bars lining the streets of Tel Aviv, it’s easy to get the impression that wine has always been a big part of Israeli culture.
This, however, is not quite the case. As the younger generations enjoy the boom in the Israeli wine industry, there is a desire to learn more and appreciate the quality wines available. To that end, the Golan Heights Winery has created a wine club exclusively for young people who are interested in learning more about the world of wine in an informal and fun environment.
Hacapsula (The Capsule) wine club is aimed at the professional crowd in their 20s to 40s who want to understand more about enjoying wine. Arnon Harel, marketing manager at Golan Heights Winery, explains that “We want to give them a better understanding of good wine.”
Instead of putting on regular wine tastings and workshops, the club makes a point of offering unique and entertaining events. “We are looking to add extra value through events that aren’t simply held at regular restaurants,” says Harel.
An example of these events is the Wine Tasting in the Dark event held recently at the Blackout restaurant of the Nalaga’at center in Jaffa. While blind tastings are commonplace in the world of wine, this event took the concept to a whole new level. The restaurant is unique in that diners go through the entire dining experience in a pitch-black room and are served by blind waiters. Hacapsula organizers thought it would be a great idea to combine the experience of eating in the dark with a wine tasting. Members were treated to an evening of good food at the kosher restaurant, accompanied by a wine tasting session led by an expert from the winery.
Harel explains that wine has a deep and rich culture attached to it, something that other forms of alcohol don’t have. “Vodka, for example, is sold to young people as a means to get drunk. There is no story or culture involved,” he says.
“Wine is different. There are entire shops, bars and restaurants that specialize in wine. We wanted to grab the attention of newcomers to the world of quality wines,” he says.
While there is a strong focus on appealing to young professionals, the club is not exclusive. “We wanted to get people who are younger involved. This means young in age but also people who are young in the world of wine,” he adds.
While introducing newcomers to different wines is a main aim of the club, Harel doesn’t deny that the winery is also out to promote its products and sell wines.
“We want to get people to drink our wines. We want to be the leaders of the pack,” he says. “The wine club is just as important as regular marketing is for us.”
Those who sign up for the club receive a membership card that entitles them to discounts at various wine shops and restaurants around the country. As a successful year comes to an end, Harel is optimistic about the future of the club.
“We have lots of ideas for 2013,” he says. “We are building a yearly program.
We want to offer interactive events that give our members an added value, including added extras that aren’t simply held at restaurants.”
Up to now, the wine club has focused its events in the Tel Aviv area, but they are looking to extend the reach, and there will soon be events in Haifa, Jerusalem and in the North, Harel says.
The club’s next event will take place on December 28 in the form of a brunch, where popular chef Nir Tzuk will present a special menu at his complex in Jaffa, accompanied by a selection of sparkling wines. In keeping with the theme of the club, members will have the opportunity to learn about the different quality wines while enjoying good food in a relaxed environment.
For more information, see www.facebook.com/hacapsula.
The writer was a guest of Hacapsula.