Wine Talk: Read all about it

Israeli wines have never been better, and never before have we had so much written information about them.

December 4, 2012 17:11

Wine Talk: Simha panic. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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There are four books on Israeli wine currently available. They are all very different and each provides a different view of the Israeli wine scene.

One is more focused on wines, another two focus on wineries and a fourth on the Israeli wine scene. Wine lovers and connoisseurs will want each one of them in their library.


Wines of Israel is the newest addition to the range of Israeli wine books. It was recently published by Eliezer Sacks of Cordinata Publishing.

Sacks is a modest former commando who was involved with Ehud Barak, Binyamin Netanyahu, Danny Yatom and Uzi Dayan in the daring rescue of the hijacked Sabena airplane in 1972. In a drastic change of life intensity, he now publishes leisure and tourism books. His greatest success has been with wine books, but he has also published books on honey, olive oil and the Seven Species. His wine books include Shvil Hayayin and Yayin Israeli in Hebrew and The Wine Route of Israel in English. Wines of Israel is the newest book in the portfolio.

It is a condensed version of The Wine Route of Israel but presented in a different way.

Wines of Israel is a compact, concise, practical guide to 100 wineries, both large and small, established and new.

There is a page on each winery, which includes the winery story, details of the vineyards, winemaker and wines. The write-up on each winery is accompanied by a full-page color photograph of a wine chosen to represent the winery.

The book represents great value.

Wines of Israel was published in 2012 by Cordinata, Tel Aviv. Price: NIS 99


Daniel Rogov was the legendary wine and food critic, who died in 2011. He was the food and wine writer for The Jerusalem Post in the 1990s and was famous for his series of Israeli wine guides.

Rogov’s Ultimate Guide to Israeli Wines is the last in the series. It is still relevant because many of his tastings were futures or from the barrel. The book has a thumbnail sketch of more than 150 wineries, which are rated from one to five stars. There are thousands of wines listed, each with Rogov’s exhaustive tasting notes and a database of scores going back quite a few years. So it remains an excellent guide to Israeli wines.

Rogov’s Ultimate Guide to Israeli Wines was published in 2011 by Toby Press, Jerusalem. Price: NIS 129


This is the third edition of The Wine Route of Israel in English, which was revised and updated in 2012. It is published by ex-commando Eliezer Sacks. The new edition provides the most comprehensive overview of the Israeli wine industry to date. This is a coffee- table book which makes a perfect gift.

It contains more than 250 pages in full color, with photographs of wineries, winemakers, vineyards and wines. There are 100 wineries listed, which range from A to Z, or Adir to Zion, covering Israel’s largest wineries to small garagistes. It also covers the map of Israel from Odem Mountain in the northern Golan to the deepest Negev.

There are maps, and the wineries are listed geographically to make it useful for the wine tourist. The comprehensive introduction provides substantial information on every aspect of Israeli wine, including history, industry statistics and explanations.

The Wine Route of Israel was published in 2012 by Cordinata, Tel Aviv. Price: NIS 149


Michael Ben-Joseph wrote the first comprehensive, well-presented Hebrew books on wine in 1990, bringing many Israelis to wine.

Countless wine professionals and experts today attribute their learning about wine to these two books.

Mimi Ben-Yosef, as he is known to Israelis, was a pilot in the Israel Air Force.

He participated in the legendary Entebbe rescue mission. He later became an airline captain with the Israel national airline, El Al. During that time he learned about wine on his travels, and in the 1990s he was arguably Israel’s most distinguished wine writer. Today, he is the wine writer for Cigar Magazine.

In 2002 he wrote the first modern book on Israeli wine in English, The Bible of Israeli Wine. It paints the colors of the Israeli wine scene well and has some good stories and anecdotes. It has excellent chapters providing the background to Israeli wine, touching on viticulture, geography, archeology, history and religion.

The section on wineries is more out of date, but it is interesting to read about the main wineries a mere 10 years ago and to see how they have developed. The foreword to the book is written by the highly respected Prof. Amos Hadas.

The Bible of Israeli Wines was published in 2002 by Modan, Ben-Shemen. Price: NIS 160


There are a few books on kosher wines that touch on Israel. These include Fruit of the Vine by Maurie Rosenberg and The Kosher Grapevine by Irving Langer, published by Gefen Publishing. Rosenberg and Langer are very enthusiastic amateurs. Of the two, the Langer book is presented in a far more professional manner if you are thinking of it as a gift. The Rosenberg book arguably has more information. In addition, Daniel Rogov wrote Rogov’s Guide to Kosher Wines, published by Toby Press. The 2010 edition also listed Israeli wines. Like his Israeli guide, Rogov’s book gives kosher wines scores and rates kosher wineries.

These three books, of course, list only Israeli wineries that produce kosher wines.


If it is Israeli wines you want and you don’t like to read books, there are two websites that provide an excellent service. The most prominent is

This was founded by wine website pioneer Israel Preker. It is the most comprehensive English-language website covering Israeli wine. It provides regular articles, news items and masses of information. Preker founded the israelwines website, and then followed this by creating the website. It is the leading website in Hebrew and English covering the world of Israeli wine.

Preker is an engineer who works in the electronics field by day. At night and at weekends he updates and maintains the website with all the latest news and articles.

The result of his effort has been an enormous contribution to Israeli wine.

The main wine blog on Israeli wines is This is created and maintained by Avi Hein, a canny marketer using social media. Here, you will find regular articles of interest.

I am certain that Israeli wines are better now than they have been at any time in the last 2,000 years. Also there is arguably more written information about Israeli wine today, from these recommended books, than at any other time… or at least since the Bible was written. 

Adam Montefiore works for Carmel Winery and regularly writes about wine in both Israeli and international publications.

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