Israel's Fine Wines

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending the annual wine and jazz festival in the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens. The setting on the water was lovely, the summer air was sultry, and the jazz quintet playing was music to my ears.

However, my excitement was somewhat dampened by the fact that only about half the wines were kosher. It’s always a bit jarring to face this problem in Jerusalem, the Holy City – and to know that other wine festivals, held in Tel Aviv and other traditionally less religious locations, often feature many more kosher wines. Was the city giving all area wineries a fair shake, or was it trying to attract more secular people?

I wondered how the many other religious attendees felt. Don’t get me wrong, I am all in favor of having a diverse mix of residents and contrary to some popular opinions, think it’s great that the new Tachana complex in the Old Train Station is open on Shabbat, so that people have options. However, I couldn’t help but feel annoyed that the kosher wine stations were particularly crowded and that the price of the admission ticket didn’t include equal wine options for all.

Never mind: there’s another wine event to look forward to – the social event of the summer! I always wait with baited breath for the Israel Museum Wine Tasting Festival, which is in a stunning location in the museum’s sculpture garden overlooking the city. In between savoring delicious wines, running into everyone you ever met in your life and admiring the twinkling lights of the capital, you can peek into a museum exhibit or two. The festival takes place this year on August 5-8. Like in previous years, I plan to go for at least two nights. Don’t miss out!

In the interim, sip a relaxing glass of wine at home. Might I recommend Tulip’s (kosher) Sauvignon Blanc? I enjoyed it just a few nights ago at Casino de Paris in the Mahaneh Yehuda market.

For more information on the Israel Museum Wine Tasting Festival: