(photo credit: Courtesy)
With the death last year of Daniel Rogov, once the food and wine writer for The
Jerusalem Post, I am constantly asked where it is possible to find information
about Israeli wine. There are a number of young Turks who, while not yet able to
fill the shoes of Rogov, are each providing a valuable service to the English
speaker. There are three musketeers. One hails from New York, another from
California, and a third from Israel. Putting myself in the shoes of critic, let
me, for once, critique the critics!
Yossie Horwitz is a Manhattan lawyer who
grew up in Israel, living here for 20 years. He is fluent in Hebrew and is able
to keep up to date with what is happening here. He is dedicated. He invests in
his time to give the most informed viewpoint he can, even to the extent of
flying over for one day only for Israwinexpo. He also came over for the
Sommelier Exhibition. He has great understanding, works hard to have all
the facts in his grasp and is basically always positive. He does not cover wines
he does not like. He writes in a very knowledgeable, informed but concise
style. He knows how to pick out what the reader is looking for. Those
with any interest in Israeli wine should sign up to his newsletter. I
read it religiously each week. His website is www.yossiescorkboard.com
Raccah is the representative from California. He is a passionate food and wine
lover, who just loves to communicate exactly what he is thinking. His tasting
notes are very long and very adjectival, but he writes as he sees it. If you
want passion and enthusiasm through the written word, this may be the one for
you. About a year ago, I pleaded with him to write more about Israeli wine.
Fortunately for us all, he seems to have decided to write more on Israel and has
written some penetrating, colorful essays on some Israeli wineries. His website
Both Horwitz and Raccah write only about
kosher wines. David Rhodes, based in Ra’anana, writes only about Israeli wines,
whether kosher or not. He is extremely wine knowledgeable.
wine in San Diego, worked as a sommelier and was also VP of a boutique winery.
He then organized and managed a wine club there. Since making aliya, he has
written articles for ESRA magazine, various wine websites and magazines, and is
at home as a broadcaster in front of microphone or camera. He is also involved
in the wine trade as a small-scale trader, going back to his roots advising
restaurants and wine retailers. I see him more as a wine educator than a critic.
He provides a great service to English- speaking Israelis. For expert advice,
courses, lectures, wine dinners, wine tours, all in English, he may be contacted
Another writer I look out for is Gamliel
Kronemer, who writes a column called “Fruit of the Vine” in New York’s Jewish
Week. The column appears once a month, and I wish it was more frequent. He
writes in a pithy, scholarly manner, with an understated dry humor. He is modest
but extremely knowledgeable. His articles on kosher and Israeli wine may be
found at www.thejewishweek.com/features/fruit_vine.
As for websites
focusing on Israeli wine, there are two worth adding to your favorites. The more
established one was created by Israel Preker, who is an electronic engineer by
day. By night, he finds time to work on his websites, which he first created in
1999. They are devoted to providing information on Israel’s wine people, wines,
wineries and vineyards. His English website is at
It contains many details about the Israeli wine
scene, some good articles and regular news items to keep the reader up to date.
His website in Hebrew, www.wines-israel.co.il,
is even more comprehensive. Preker has been one of the main
communicators of the Israel wine story for the last 13 years, and he
continues to do so with undiluted passion. Long may he continue. Israeli
wine lovers are all in his debt.
Another patriot who makes an effort to showcase the best in Israeli wine is Avi Hein. His website, www.israeli-wine.org,
is his personal effort to advance the Israel wine brand, which he does
with great dedication. This also features interesting articles on
There are books about Israeli wine. The Ultimate Rogov Guide by
Daniel Rogov remains the best guide on Israeli wines. It will remain
relevant because many of Rogov’s scores were based on advanced barrel
tastings. It was published by Toby Press and costs NIS 129. A book on
wineries and the Israeli wine story is The Wine Route of Israel.
It is available at Steimatzky, winery shops and visitors centers and in
the duty-free bookshop at Ben-Gurion Airport. It costs NIS 149 and is
published by Cordinata, Tel Aviv. firstname.lastname@example.org
A new book is The Kosher Grapevine by Irving Langer published by Gefen Publishing House, www.gefenpublishing.com.
This is a light-hearted, unpretentious explanation of the world of
kosher wine. It fills a gap in the kosher wine lover’s bookshelf and
costs NIS 130.
The three books barely overlap. Students of wine,
connoisseurs and anyone wanting to know more about kosher wine or
Israeli wine will want to have all three.
Adam Montefiore works for Carmel Winery and regularly writes about wine for Israeli and international publications.