(photo credit: )
To celebrate the end of the harvest season, the wineries of the Judean Hill region are teaming up for month-long festivities in which they will offer an array of tourist attractions throughout the area.
Stretching from the coastal plain to the foothills of the Jerusalem Mountains, the Judea region is home to a cluster of 25 boutique wineries, some of them the nation's best. This is the most organized wine region in the country, with its own wine route and where the establishments are marketed as a group. However, most of the wineries are medium-to-small operations without established visitor centers, so the festival events are a great opportunity for both wine connoisseurs and would-be wine lovers to explore some of the area's most spectacular gems.
The charming setting and unique wine-growing conditions have earned the Judea region a reputation as one of the country's fine wine-producing regions.
The Judean wine route takes you on an adventure along hillsides and deep valleys with picturesque landscapes and panoramic vistas. This is one of the most scenic routes in the country where visitors can not only travel through forests and vineyards, but sip award-winning wines and enjoy country dining experiences.
During the next three weekends, the different establishments in the area will present a variety of interesting events for the whole family: from horseback riding through the vineyards and bicycle and jeep trails across the hills, to lectures, movies and wine tastings at the different establishments. Festival guests will be able to learn about traditional and modern winemaking and meet the devoted winemakers and vintners of the region.
One of the festival highlights is the terroir (soil and climate) workshop conducted by Eran Pik, a winemaker at Tzora winery. The workshop will begin at the winery's Shoresh vineyard where participants will walk between the different plots and learn about the topography of the vineyard, the soil and the climate, and how it affects the vine. From there the tour will continue to the winery at Kibbutz Tzora where participants will sample some of the estate's produce accompanied by hors d'oeuvres.
Other attractions include a morning tour of the Kibbutz Tzova vineyards and a visit to Tzova - the region's youngest winery, followed by a grand brunch at the Tzova Hotel overlooking the Judean hills.
Avi Yehuda, the vintner of Yehuda winery, will host a wine tasting at his small establishment at Moshav Shoresh. Yehuda will talk about the history of winemaking in the area, which dates back to biblical times, and about wines of the new world.
At his winery in Moshav Messilat Zion, Yossi Katz invites the crowds to dance to the sounds of the Sixties and South American music.
Area hotels, including Neveh Ilan, Yad Hashmona, Tzova, Shoresh, Ma'aleh Hahamisha and Neveh Shalom, are offering attractive deals for festival guests.
For more information and a full itinerary, call: (08) 850-2240, or visit www.touryoav.org.il.