The Israeli Wine Regions:

Israel’s wine history is perhaps one of the richest on earth, dating back thousands of years. There are numerous biblical references to local vineyards, grapes being transformed into juice that provided an intoxicating effect.

Israel is a small country with diverse terrain and climate – from the worm and dry south with cold nights and high elevation, through the high and cold Judean hills, to the worm coast Plato and chili Galilee, you can find a lot of vineyards in the land of milk and honey.

Kosher Israeli wine is an integral part of the country’s culture—as historic legacy, as standard consumption and also as an offering in many religious observances.

Golan Heights

The Golan Heights breezes from the snow covered Mount Hermon.

The area may be divided into three: The southern Golan overlooking the Sea of Galilee is 1148 ft above sea level. The soils are basaltic clay. The middle Golan is 1312 – 1640ft altitude.

Then there is the Upper Golan which rises from 2460 to 3937 ft. Soil is more volcanic tuff and basalt. The Golan was first planted in 1976, but in the 1990’s became a major wine growing region in volume, not just quality.

Gilad Vineyard - Kfar Yuval

The northern vineyard in Israel, produces Syrah and Mourvedre grapes and is characterized by descending cold air from Mount Hermon and Lebanon. together with the extreme differences in temperature between day and night, good and full grape maturity is enabled.

Upper Galilee

The Galilee, Galil in Hebrew, is the best appellation, situated in the north of Israel. It comprises Israel’s two finest quality wine growing regions, the Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights. These are high altitude, cooler climate vineyards planted comparatively recently. The Golan Heights is a really different geographical region from the Galilee – but in wine law, it is registered as a sub region of the Galilee.

The Upper Galilee is a mountainous area of forests, plunging peaks and stony ridges. It is Israel’s most beautiful vineyard region. The soils are heavy, but well drained. They tend to be a mixture of volcanic, gravel and terra rossa soils. The Kedesh Valley, Naftali and Dishon vineyard areas are 1148 to 1476ft above sea level. They are close to the northern border with Lebanon, not so far from the Bekaa Valley, the heart of the Lebanese wine industry. Most of the vineyards in the Upper Galilee were planted only since the mid to late 1990’s. The annual precipitation in the Upper Galilee (and Golan) is from 311⁄2in to 393⁄8in.

Winter temperatures can be from 32 ℉ to 59 ℉ whilst in the summer the range is from 53.6 ℉to 86 ℉. The area of vineyards in the Lower Galilee is situated at Kfar Tabor, near Mount Tabor. Here elevations are 656 to 1312ft. Soils vary between volcanic and limestone. Precipitation ranges from 153⁄4in to 1911⁄16in a year. However, only just over 10% of the Galilee’s vineyards lie in the Lower Galilee.

Kerem Ben Zimra Vineyard

Altitude 2788 above sea level

Grape Variety: Sauvignon Blanc

Soil: Basalt

Characteristics: High location with cool temperatures. A very mature vineyard able to yield grapes with rich flavors and body. Optimal for cultivating grapes for white wines of the finest quality.

Alma Vineyard

Altitude: 2460ft above sea level

Grape Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon

Soil: Basalt and limestone

Characteristics: Extremely cool climate with cool temperatures even on the hottest summer days. This particular vineyard is uniquely isolated from other plots so the need for pest and disease control is minimal.

Tzivon Vineyard

Height: 2296ft above sea level

Grape Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah

Soil: Clay with limestone river pebbles

Characteristics: Organic biodynamic vineyard on the slopes of Mount Meron, yielding grapes very rich in flavor and with long, optimal maturity.

Judean Hills

The Judean Hills is a quality but underdeveloped wine region ranging from the mountains north of Jerusalem, through Gush Etzion to Yatir Forest, south of Hebron. Warm days and cool nighttime temperature characterize the region which in places is 1640 to 3280ft above sea level. The soils are thin, limestone and stony. The higher mountains receive snow in the winter. Annual precipitation is 1911⁄16in. Average winter temperatures are 32 ℉ to 64.4 ℉, whilst summer temperatures can rise from 59 ℉ to 86.℉

The growing of grapes and the wine production was the main agricultural industries of Judea area from the time of the 2n -Beginning with The Romans time, the Second Temple and when the Mishna and the Talmud was written. Archaeologist have uncovered hundreds of presses through the hill country of Judea. On the of the main entrance to the Temple was Vine tree appear as decoration. Coins and pottery lamps from Bar Kochba revulation found with vine trees motives. It appeared also curved on stones of Romans burial caves and a lot of mosaic. And there were settlements with names connected to wine, like Beit Hakerem (in Hebrew the house of the vine in the area of Jerusalem. (After the Samson paragraph) Hundreds of open air wine presses were uncovered in the Holy In Hebrew, "Gath." After the grapes have brought to the Gath, they have been presses by human foot, to avoid the breahsge of the pips. In the Roman Era, screw presses began to appear. But pressing by foot was still common. The, the grape juice was spilled into small cistern for few days, and after was collected to wine jars for the yeast prosses.


A 40 years old, dryland farming vineyard that fully express the Mediterranean characteristic in the grapes, the regional terrior and produces exceptional quality Carignan.


Samson is not a geographical place, but this wine region is named after the Biblical figure, that frequented the area. The central coastal Judean Plain and Judean Lowlands, south east of Tel Aviv, is a large part of the Samson Region, where vineyards were planted in Rothschild’s time. The area is from 0 to 328ft above sea level and it is a hot, humid region. Summer temperatures range from 68 ℉ to 89.6 ℉. Annual precipitation is 1325⁄32in to 153⁄4in.

Alluvial soils mix with sandy, clay loams. There is also a fair bit of terra rossa. Many of the vineyards for large volume wines come from here.

The second area is the Judean Foothills, which is the fastest growing region in terms of newly planted vineyards and new startup wineries. These are the rolling hills with limestone soils and clay loams, which may be experienced on the drive to Jerusalem. Elevations are higher, from 164 to 656ft above sea level and average rainfall is up to 1911⁄16in a year. Winter temperatures are from 41 ℉ to 68 ℉, whilst those in the summer range from say 64.4 ℉ to 86 ℉.

Karmei Yosef

This vineyard is located in one of Israel's oldest grape growing regions and its unique character is expressed best in the Durif variety that allows the winemakers to create complex and rich wines.


Samaria is Israel’s most traditional wine growing region first planted by Baron Edmond de Rothschild in the 1880’s. The main concentration of vineyards is in the valleys surrounding the winery towns of Zichron Ya’acov and Binyamina. They benefiting from the southern Carmel Mountain range and cooling breezes off the Mediterranean Sea. Elevations rise from 0 to 492ft above sea level. Soils vary from calcareous clay, terra rossa, limestone and chalk. The climate is typically Mediterranean. Annual precipitation is 153⁄4in to 235⁄8in.

Ein toot, Zichron Yaakov

A 40 years old, dryland farming vineyard that fully express the Mediterranean characteristic in the grapes, the regional terrior and produces exceptional quality Carignan.

Bir Tata, Zichron Yaakov

A 30 years old vineyard, located in the traditional growing region of Carignan grapes. This vineyard has the potential to produce top quality grapes and especially for the unique MAIA's wine style.

Shooni, Binyamina

An old vineyard that its age expressed in the high quality French Colombard variety and contributes to the grape's crisp and freshness that are perfect for the Israeli – Mediterranean climate


This vineyard is located in unique and interesting region that contributes to the potential of growing Mediterranean grapes that excel by their quality.


The Negev is the desert region that makes up half the country. Vineyards have been planted in the higher areas in the northeast at Ramat Arad, a semi arid area, which is 1640ft above sea level, with annual precipitation of 529⁄32in a year.

Here the soils are loess. Also in the central Negev Highlands, in particular Sde Boker and Mitzpe Ramon, where soils are sandy loam. The Negev Highlands range from 2296 to 3280ft elevation.

Rainfall is 131⁄32in to 315⁄16in a year. Temperatures range from very hot during the day (59 ℉ to 104 ℉ in the summer) to cooler evenings and cold nights. The vineyards are sometimes shrouded in mists during the morning hours. The dryness and lack of humidity keep diseases to a minimum. These vineyards really fulfill David Ben Gurion’s dream of making the desert bloom. Yatir Winery is situated at Tel Arad in the north east Negev.


A 40 years old, dryland farming vineyard that fully express the Mediterranean characteristic in the grapes, the regional terrior and produces exceptional quality Carignan.

* The wine regions division is based on Adam Montefiore, The Wine Route of Israel, Cordinata Publishing House,2015.

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