(photo credit: Courtesy)
My father had a great wine cellar in our basement with stacks of dusty bottles with fancy labels from all over the world. When he started keeping kosher, these bottles were one of the hardest things that he had to let go of. Little by little, he drank his way through his cellar (what a hardship!) and restocked it with only kosher wines. At first, he didn’t have a lot to chose from, but over the years the number of great kosher Israeli wines has exploded.
When I told him that next week I will be going to the wine expo in Tel Aviv he was very jealous. I will be mingling with industry experts and tasting all of the best wines that Israel has to offer. I told him that I would pick up a few of the best bottles for him, and keep him updated on the trends at the show.
This is the third annual wine expo with all of the major Israeli wineries represented and many of the boutique wineries as well. The exhibition is the initiative of the Israel Trade Fairs & Convention Center, Israeli Wine & Gourmet
magazine and is sponsored by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute, the Israel Wine Grapes Board and the Israel Wine Portal.
The expo is an opportunity for Israeli winemakers to showcase their talents both to Israelis and the international community. Israeli wines have started to gain a good reputation and this is due (in my opinion) to a mixture of Israeli wanderlust and high tech ingenuity. Israelis have taken their experiences from traveling all over the world and have brought back exceptional grape vines to create top class wineries that rival those in Europe and California.
The question is – will any of this be enough to balance the general falling sales due to the recent economic downturn and in particular to combat the European efforts to boycott Israeli products? The wine market is hurting everywhere. Israeli wine exports to Europe are down by 39% and down by 18% to North America.
Organizers of the event are optimistic that the expo will build on the
momentum of previous years where significant deals were made and a
rapid increase in exports was seen as a result. They are also looking
to the Far East as a new expanding market. I don’t really see that
happening – but if Tel Aviv can become a Sushi Capital of the world
(behind only Tokyo and New York in the number of Sushi restaurants per
capita) then there is no reason to conclude that Israeli wines can’t
penetrate – or even create a market in the Far East.
There will also be a variety of nifty new gadgets for all things wine –
opening, pouring, storing – and drinking as well seminars for newbies
and experts alike. The wine will be flowing and it will be a great
opportunity to see what the Israeli wine industry has to offer, to
discover some new wines and to have a great time. See you there.
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The Wine Expo runs February 9-11 at
the Trade Center in Tel Aviv. February 9 is open only to those in the
wine industry and will be from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. On February 10-11 the
expo will be open to the public from 4p.m.-10p.m.. Tickets cost NIS 60
and include 10 wine tasting coupons. Special advance sale tickets for
NIS 49 are available from Israwinexpo.fairs.co.il.
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