Photos provided by Royal Wine Corp
On October 7 this year, many wineries in Israel were in the midst of harvesting when the attacks from Hamas and Israel's counterstrikes unfolded. Numerous wineries were immediately depleted, with the young individuals typically involved in the harvest called up to aid in the defense of the nation. The tragedy has tangibly affected essential aspects of the winemaking process, resulting in sorting, crushing, and fermentation being carried out under the constant threat of attack and bombardment.
In the aftermath of the assault, the entire nation, including the wine industry, is grappling with the far-reaching impact. "Much of the wine produced in Israel is typically consumed domestically," describes Joshua Greenstein, Vice President of the Israeli Wine Producers Association (IWPA). "As most restaurants remain closed and people are in a state of mourning with a reduced inclination for celebratory events with wine, sales within the country have experienced a significant decline of 60-80%."
To support the Israeli wine industry and the country's economy this November, the wine association responsible for nearly 80% of the Israeli wines imported into the US has launched the “Sips For Solidarity” Campaign. "Ten percent of proceeds from every case of wine shipped in November and December will be contributed to Israeli relief efforts," explains the association's vice president. The IWPA represents over 35 Israeli companies, ranging from boutique wineries to the country's largest producers like Barkan and Carmel.
Especially with the holiday season approaching, Greenstein suggests making a meaningful gift by choosing a bottle of wine from the Holy Land: "This year, consider giving an Israeli wine for the holidays. Choosing a gift from Israel not only supports our effort but also introduces recipients to the diverse and exquisite wines that the country has to offer. It's a meaningful way to share the richness of Israeli culture and contribute to the promotion of its exceptional products."
Although wine production in Israel has a rich history spanning over 5000 years, it remains a novelty for many consumers in the United States. Cabernet Sauvignon is the country's most planted grape variety and surely a reliable choice, but for those willing to explore something new and unique, Joshua Greenstein suggests trying Argaman wine. The variety was created in Israel as a cross between Souzão and Carignan and was named after the deep purple color of its grapes (Argaman in Hebrew). Argaman wine is a medium-bodied, dry red with spicy notes, ripe fruit flavors, and soft tannins.
For those seeking new delights this holiday season, savor the flavors of Israeli wines and play a part in supporting the resilience and recovery of the country.