Galilee Glowing: Ancient Land-Contemporary Industry

by Zehorit Heilicher, Tastemaker in Residence

Tuscany? Provence? The rolling hills of grapevines, the gnarly olive trees and the fragrant lavender could have been of those familiar tourist destinations, but no, this was Israel, actually – the Galilee. This region is well known as a historical treasure: scripture refers to it numerous times and archeological sites from a wide range of eras are strewn all over its terrain. On this year’s trip to Israel, I was looking for a different kind of treasure to feed the body, not just the soul. Throughout the centuries, this region was a prosperous agricultural paradise; home to sheepherders and farmers who grew olives and grapes and produced cheese, wine and olive oil.  On a mission to discover local authentic Galilean food, I traveled north with my parents in tow.

Following the wine and cheese trail we found ourselves in Adir; a vinyard-winery and goat milk dairy. The grapevines and dairy, were literally across the road from the winery – can’t get much more local then that! Mordechai, our host, entertained us with stories of his adjustment to Israeli life after leaving Britain, while pairing Adir’s chardonnay (among other wines) with pungent, aged goat cheese. A similar warm welcome awaited us in Dalton, an adjacent winery with a strong presence in the Israeli market. Amit, who left the Tel Aviv – big city scene for the pastoral vinayard scenery, educated us about wine production, oak aging and aromas. We sampled varietal blends of reds and whites, talked of politics and linguistics and even shared jokes. (Those detriorated in direct relation to the quantity of wine consumed). Rimon, which means pomegranate in Hebrew, resides in the same industrial complex, so driving was not an issue. This winery produces wine and oil from pomegranates. Zohar, a knowlegable young man, welcomed us into a spacious, well designed visitor’s center and proceeded to inform us of the pomegranate health benefits. Again, we sampled a few tastes of dry wine and dessert wine and left educated, yet sober.

The richness, variety and quality of the wine we tasted was surprising and encouraging. Like a great appetizer, the warm welcome we received, paired with the professional skill and knowledge we encountered, peeked our appetite and guaranteed we will be back for more.

For more info on these wineries:
Adir - see more>>

Dalton - see more>>
Rimon - see more>>