Golan Wine Tour
It took a whole year to plan this trip. It took us a year to understand what story we want to tell and to build unique and professional content, different from regular visits to wineries.
To tell this story, we started with a visit to Golan Heights Winery, where we met for a tasting led by Tali Sandovsky, the first woman winemaker in Israel, winemaker Dorit Segev who is responsible for the production of some of the winery's favorite wines such as the excellent sparkling wines, and all the women of the winery - Stavit Glickman, Sarit Cohen, Hadas Landsman, Nurit Berkovitz, Mor Green, Ofir Katz and Maya Faran.
We talked about the history of the winery and got a glimpse of how the production process is carried out by looking at the vineyard and by tasting different components from the Alonei Bashan vineyard that are still in the barrel.
Continuing our trip onwards from the winery we visited kibbutz El Rom, where we managed to consume excessive amounts of blueberries from Elrom Fruits, probably the best terroir in the country to grow them (which explains how they really tasted like blueberries!)
Over lunch and a glass of wine we heard a lecture by Yael Gai, Golan Height's International Marketing Manager for nearly two decades. She shared her interesting perspective on the place of Israeli wine in the world, now and in the past. From there viticulturist Galit Booth led us to a beautiful sloped vineyard in El Rom, told us about her role and what it is like to be a woman who manages a team of vintners, an angle you don't hear every day, and left us completely smitten with her.
We continued north to the Ilsar truffle farm in Moshav Sha'al. A tiny village that does a lot as it is also home to Tel Winery of winemaker Lital Ovadia. Although Lital was studying in Australia at the time, she left her last bottles of her chardonnay for us to enjoy that evening, and a few bottles of a limited production new wine unavailable on the market , free run from Riesling grapes that fermented and aged in Sauterne barrels that Lital imported from France. Yes, it did taste as good as it sounds! It was great fun to drink it with the Ilsar staff who hosted us and made us feel very much at home. We heard a lecture by Nimrod Tabenkin, we won't tell how excellent it was as they don't accept visitors. The cultivation and laboratory team took us on a greenhouse tour that left us speechless by the initiative and how close the project is to working with vines.
For dinner we invited Safra to cook for us and enjoyed a wonderful meal served at Ilsar. Safra makes homemade delicious Syrian-Druze food that she serves on gorgeous dishes with the help of her female family members. It is like eating a home cooked meal only so much better and tasty.
We ended the day at a location that has really become a touristic gem, the cabins in kibbutz Ein Zivan.
The next morning we met Diti Tabenkin, an entrepreneur that established a complex in the kibbutz called "Tene" for workshops and yoga classes. A slice of heaven with excellent classes. Early risers were invited to attend a 7:30 class and it was a full house.
From there we headed to our next entrepreneur, Ruth Sade, a wine women and Hashizra member. She has set to strike out independently on a path of research, agriculture and business and founded Sade Aromatic Farm.
Not only did we have perfect weather, we synced up with the short lavender season, the pictures speak for themselves. Ruth distills oils and is exploring and experimenting.
We took our leave of Ein Zivan (knowing that we would return) and continued to the Syrian Headquarters, where viticulturist Noa Maoz was waiting for us. Noa told us about the Golan from an agricultural perspective, the uniqueness of the soil and the work that the growers do to let the vine do its thing in the best and most natural way.
We made our way through the graffiti covered ruins up to the roof for a view of the vineyards. Hagit Lerer was there to summarize the geography and history of our view.
We made our last and exciting stop with the Alfasi family at Har Odem Winery to visit Michael, Ya'ara and Adam. We heard about the meticulous process and the unique terroir that produces tight wines with great maturity potential. We got an up-close look how a family-owned winery grows from making 7,000 bottles a year to 150,000 and we got a premier taste of their 2019 Gamay.
This visit demonstrated how wine is an integral part of the developing tourism of the area.
A big thanks to all the collaborators and partners that took part in this project, especially to Hagit Lerer who dreams with us and makes it come true.
Thanks to Effie Striem, who is joining our team.
Thanks to Mika who made sure that everything went according to schedule.
Thanks to photographer David Silverman, that joined us and captured those special moments.
Thanks to everyone that took two days off in the middle of the week, in the middle of life, to be with us.