Amazing Wines - Israeli Style
Founded in 1983, the Golan Winery is located in the small town of Katzrin, in a beautiful area of the Golan Heights. The first of their wines were launched in 1984, and they were recognized as Israel's first world-class wines. Since producing its first wines, the Golan Winery has won many awards at the major international wine exhibitions in competitions with other wines from around the world. These gold medals and other accolades are proudly displayed in the hospitality room at their winery.
History of the Golan Heights Winery
In 1976, pioneering moshavs and kibbutzes first started to plant vines, selling their grapes to large coastal cooperatives. In 1982, some of the local winemakers who were experimenting created some great wines which showed them the potential they had in the Golan. The combination of volcanic soil for excellent drainage, a cool climate for a long growing season, and ready access to water for drip irrigation all allowed for great potential.
Today, the Golan Heights Winery markets their wines under three main labels - Yarden, Gamla and Golan. They make proprietary blends, traditional sparkling wines, and premium varietals. They use state-of-the-art technology and combine it with traditional wine making techniques to produce their award-winning wines. Their wines have allowed Israel to place itself respectfully on the international wine map of important places. 20% of the Golan wines are exported to 25 countries, which include the United States, Europe, Africa, Australia and the Far East.
More About the Winery Today
The Golan Heights Winery is owned by four kibbutzes and four moshavs. Their vineyards go from the area near the Sea of Galilee to the bottom of Mount Hermon. The growers are closely tied to the winery and receive strict instructions for their growing from the winery owners. The chief winemaker is Victor Schoenfeld. He is a graduate of the University of California at Davis. He has three people on his team, all of whom are professional winemakers who were educated in California, Burgundy and Bordeaux. They also have a winery consultant, Peter Stern, from California, who is active and helpful whenever needed.
Visiting the Winery
The winery is open to the public and can be visited in the town of Katzrin in the Golan Heights. There, you will be given a guided tour of the high tech crushing, pressing and pumping equipment and the stainless steel tanks that are thermostatically controlled by computers. You'll see the oak barrels that are used for maturation. It is best to be in touch with the winery at 04-6968420 to check on their hours and available tours.
Visiting the Golan Heights Winery is a great experience and a wonderful activity during a visit to northern Israel. They have raised the standard of Israeli wines and have helped Israel to get onto the world map for their winemaking.