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
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.
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.
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.