Do you fancy drinking delicious wine at sunset, in a beautiful park overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, while cool live jazz sets a mellow mood? If that strikes you as the right way to spend a balmy evening, mark April 9 and 10 on your calendar, and get ready to travel in the direction of Zichron Ya’acov.The Ramat Hanadiv Wines and Plenty Festival will be offering all that and more. All this in honor of the 60th anniversary of the reinterment of Baron Edmond de Rothschild, the father of modern Israel’s wine industry, in the scenic Ramat Hanadiv Memorial Gardens.Ordinarily, people aren’t allowed to walk on the lawns at the Ramat Hanadiv gardens, but these will all be open on the festival nights. Visitors can wander over the grass at will, as 22 wineries present their top wines for tasting and buying.“This is your chance to develop your wine education,” says wine writer David Rhodes.He suggests arriving early to beat the crowds, and find winery staff with time to talk about the wines. While wellknown Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Riesling-based wines will be wellrepresented, some wines based on less-famous grapes such as Viognier, Colombard, Rousanne, Marsanne and Marselan will be available for tasting, too. Besides wine, local food producers will be offering cheeses, chocolates, olive oil, artisan breads and other culinary surprises to take home. “It’s a great opportunity to stock up on wine for Passover,” says Rhodes.Festival date and hours: Wednesday- Thursday, April 9-10, 6-11 p.m.Entrance fee: NIS 90 at the gate, or NIS 80 online (www.tixwise.co.il/he/ cramim2014). Group tickets: Ruti Ben-Israel, 052- 465-9246. The festival is expected to sell out of its 1,500 tickets each night, so call to reserve your spot.Getting there: The gardens are south of Zichron Ya’acov, on Route 652 from Binyamina – about an hour’s drive north of Tel Aviv, 37 km. south of Haifa and 7 km. from the Binyamina railway station. Transportation for non-drivers will be made easy with a free shuttle bus between the Binyamina railway station and the Ramat Hanadiv grounds.Springtime’s the right time The Ramat Hanadiv Wines and Plenty Festival is just around the corner The wines (K for kosher): Abaya, Aligote, Alona, Arens, Argov, Asambia, Bat Shlomo (K), Binyamina (K), Carmel (K), Dahdah (K), Mivtsar Atlit, Recanati (K), Reuven, Sadot, Sagi, Saloman, Shfeya, Shirom, Shoshana, Somek, Tishbi (K) and Vortman.Samplings available (also for purchase): • Jacob’s Dairy and Hashomron cheeses • Olive oil from the Masik and Yovel olive oil producers • Fresh fruit from the Ruach Shtut hothouses • Preserves, fruit spreads and salad dressings from local produce • Passionfruit liqueur from The Passionfruit Man - a prize-winning liqueur • Local, organic, fresh strawberries, strawberries and cream, and strawberry jam from the Ruach Shtut hothouses Special events: • The Margalit winery, in a rare public appearance, will host an exclusive VIP wine tasting each evening at both 7 and 9. There are only 14 spots open for each of the four tastings, so reserve your place online, at the link in the above “Entrance fee” section. There is an additional NIS 50 for the Margalit VIP tastings.• There will be free cooking demonstrations every hour on the hour on both nights. MasterChef winner Tom Franz and former contestants of the show will show how to prepare four savory and two sweet dishes. Watch out for fabulous arancini, which are fried risotto rice balls stuffed with mushrooms, vermouth and mozzarella cheese; as well as the delicious Arab cheese dessert knafe.Visitors may buy samples of the hot dishes for NIS 20. The food is kosher, from the kosher Mata’im restaurant on the premises.“The Carmel winery will match wines with the hot food,” wine writer David Rhodes notes.“Staff will explain which wines complement each dish, and why the flavors go together well.” The gardens and sites will be open to visitors during festival hours.For information about myriad Passover activities in the region, visit www.carmelim.org.il/info.