Grapevine: On the wine map

Golan Heights Winery wins gold medal for best wine in the world.

Golan Heights winery 521 (photo credit: Bloomberg)
Golan Heights winery 521
(photo credit: Bloomberg)
■ BELIEVE IT or not, the best wine in the world comes from Israel, with a gold medal won by Golan Heights Winery this week at the prestigious Vinitaly Wine Contest held in Verona, Italy. Politics goes out the window at wine tasting events, because the tastings are blind – meaning that tasters are not supplied with brand names or the countries of origin from which the wines derive. A Vinitaly press release states: “And the best wine producer in the world... comes from Israel. The 2011 edition of the International Wine Competition rewarded the Golan Heights Winery – a relatively young reality founded in 1983 at Katzrin (Israel).”
It is the first time that the Gran Vinitaly Special Award has been assigned by the jury to an Israeli wine-maker. The award is made to the producer achieving the best result calculated as the sum of the highest scores for two wines taking medals in different categories.
Golan Heights Winery had already taken important Vinitaly awards in previous editions of the International Wine Competition (with Grand Gold Medals in 2004 and 2006).
The Israeli cellar convinced 105 jury members – chosen from among authoritative enologists and sector journalists from all over the world for this prestigious preview of the 45th Vinitaly – ahead of the “competition” comprising 3,720 bottles (3,646 in 2010) presented by more than 1,000 wine-making companies taking part from 30 countries world-wide.
Anat Levy, the CEO of Golan Heights Winery, says that the win brings honor to Israel’s developing wine industry as a whole and to Golan Heights Winery in particular. “It puts Israel right in the center of the world wine map.”
■ IN OTHER wine news, the Galil Mountain Winery located on Kibbutz Yiron and owned in partnership with Golan Heights Winery has won the 2011 Best Value competition, reaping gold medals for its Shiraz Cabernet 2008 and its Rose 2010. This was the third consecutive year that the contest was held among local wineries in advance of Pessah, when more wine is consumed in Israel than at any other time of year. In addition to winning awards in Israel, the company has also won awards in previous years in France, Germany and Italy.
■ IT’S A little strange to find MK Shelley Yacimovich and composer Noam Sherif, who is among the Israel Prize laureates for 2011, sharing the same billing. Both were guests this week of the Tel Aviv University Business/Academic Club. Amos Shapira, who is president of the Friends of Tel Aviv University, said that more than 200 companies had already signed an agreement that he had initiated whereby graduates in the humanities and the sciences would be given equal opportunities to exercise their potential in the labor market. In this context Sherif related that when he had reached the stage of being able to actually compose music, his father had suggested to him that he choose some practical profession, and had urged him to study philosophy… and that was what he did.
Members of the club were riveted by Yacimovich, who spoke about Ideology and Politics. Yacimovich was highly critical of Labor’s participation in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition government instead of taking its place in the Opposition, as Netanyahu had done when his party had only a dozen Knesset seats. It was far preferable for Labor to sit in the opposition and rehabilitate itself in time for the next elections, she said.
Among the people who came to hear her speak was lawyer Dov Weisglass, who had wielded tremendous influence during the period in which he was Ariel Sharon’s bureau chief.
■ A LARGE delegation of Koreans who are honorary consuls of numerous countries with which South Korea enjoys diplomatic ties arrived in Israel to meet Israeli colleagues who also serve the economic interests of other countries. The visitors were feted at a reception at the Dan Hotel, Tel Aviv, hosted by Gad Nashitz, dean of the Corps of Honorary Consuls, and Ami Orkaby, the honorary consul for South Korea.
The guests were greeted by Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya’alon. Also in attendance was Korean Ambassador Young-Sam Ma.