Israel is a country with limited agricultural land but nonetheless continues to produce top-quality Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines. Since biblical times Israel was known as a region that produced quality wine. Archeological excavations have unearthed over 20 ancient wine presses more than 2100
years old in the Jerusalem Hills. Historians have uncovered evidence that Israel exported wine throughout the Mediterranean and Asian trading routes.
Despite ups and downs within the Israeli wine industry Israeli wine production has been blooming since 2011. Something surprising are wines produced in the Negev! Amid the harsh desert scenery, which dominates the landscape of southern Israel, vineyards has been developed over the last decade by pioneering, dedicated and idealistic people. With help of drip irrigation technology vines have been developed in places where just a few years ago it was unimaginable.
In 2007 Israel Today took the decision to establish a vineyard in the desert dunes of Nitzana and to turn this area into a fertile garden. This region was once inhabited by the Jewish tribe of Simeon. Later on the Nabataeans and the Byzantines tended vineyards here.
The vines grew for four years under difficult conditions until they could finally be harvested in the summer of 2012. They survived sand storms, heat waves, irrigation with brackish groundwater and even a plague of locusts in the spring of 2012. The wine matured for 18 months in exquisite oak barrels. Our friends can now enjoy what started in 2008 with little cuttings and big hopes.
Here at Israel Today we can be proud to have been able to make our own contribution to reviving the Israeli desert.
By Ora Shapiro