Pairing fine art and fine wine

Wine and art enthusiasts can enjoy the products of some 30 wineries as well as a taste of the Israel Museum's exhibits at the Israeli Wine Festival.

One reason many people shy away from wine is their perception that tasting it is loaded with mysterious rituals. Swirling the glass, sniffing, spitting and talking about aromas or tannins. It's true that wine professionals evaluate wine in a critical way and use a variety of metaphors to describe it. Why would someone want to become a wine snob? Well, it has some sure advantages, and learning how to appreciate wine, assess its quality and talk about it with confidence is actually much simpler than one might think. After tasting some Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Chardonnay, you may not know as much as some wine aficionados, but you might have a better sense of your preferences and some types of wine to order the next time you're at a restaurant. The Israel Museum will celebrate the Israeli Wine Festival for the fourth consecutive year next week. This is a great opportunity to sample a vast variety of wines from the local produce. Each year the festival attracts wine enthusiasts from across the country as they make their way to Jerusalem to enjoy the latest crafts of the local wineries, and visit the museum's exhibits. The event, initiated by Jerusalemite wine vendors Avi Ben and Shahar's Liquors, will present some 30 of the leading wineries in Israel with more than 25,000 liters of wine, refrigerators, glasses and wine accessories. Jazz music will be played in the background and guests will be able to sip their way through the wine stands while chatting with the country's most prestigious vintners and winemakers who will introduce their best harvests. Kosher food stands and many other surprises will also await guests. This year, the wine festival will take place in the Billy Rose Art Garden, which has always been one of the Israel Museum's most popular attractions. Extending over six acres, the garden was designed by renowned Japanese-American artist and landscape designer Isamu Noguchi. Wine festival visitors will be able to stroll through the illuminated gardens and enjoy the magnificent works on display - among them, Picasso's Profile, Claes Oldenburg's Apple Core, Henry Moore's Vertebrae, James Turrell's installation that allows one to gaze at the sky through an opening in the ceiling, and Robert Indiana's huge sculpture Ahava, which dominates the garden. Guests can also tour the museum's exhibitions until 9 p.m. for no additional charge. For NIS 55, each guest will be given a crystal wineglass that can be filled as often as desired from the wide wine selection. Throughout the festival, wine will be sold at attractive prices. If you don't become an expert after all the wines tasted, you will probably learn enough about wine to select an excellent bottle for Rosh Hashana without paying a fortune for it. The Israeli Wine Festival will take place from Tuesday, July 31 to Thursday, August 2, from 7 p.m. to midnight.