It's time to raise a glass

Make sure to check out the award-winning Judean Hills wineries during a month of festivities

By OFER ZEMACH
October 18, 2007 12:39
2 minute read.
Eran Pik  88 224

Eran Pik 88 224. (photo credit: Ofer Zemach)

Celebrating 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 including some of the best in the country. 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 events of this festival 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 experience.

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, to bicycle and jeep trails across the hills, and from lectures to movies and wine tasting. Festival-goers will be able to learn about traditional and modern winemaking and meet the devoted winemakers and vintners of the region.

Highlights:

* One of the festival highlights is the terroir workshop conducted by Eran Pik, a winemaker at the Tzora winery. The workshop will start at the winery's Shoresh vineyard where participants will walk between the plots and learn about the topography of the vineyard, the soil, the climate, and how they affect the vines. From there the tour will continue to the winery at Kibbutz Tzora near Beit Shemesh, where participants in the workshop will taste some of the estate's produce accompanied by hors d'oeuvres.

* Other attractions include a morning tour to the vineyards of Kibbutz Tzova, and a visit to Tzoba - the region's youngest winery, followed by a grand brunch at the Tzova hotel overlooking the Judean hills.

* Avi Yehuda, the winemaker and vintner of the Yehuda winery, will host 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.

* Yossi Katz invites the crowds to dance to the sounds of the sixties and South American music at his winery at Moshav Messilat Zion

* The hotels in the area including Neve Ilan, Yad Hashmona, Tzova, Shoresh, Ma'aleh Hahamisha and Neveh Shalom are offering attractive deals for guests at the wine events.

For more information, and the full timetable for the events, call: (08) 850-2240, or see http://www.touryoav.org.il


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