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Wine Tours's insider take:

Grapes have been grown in Israel since before Biblical times, but only in the past 20 years has the country emerged as a serious player on the international wine circuit. Some vintners cultivate vines in the desert—but it's in Israel's misty, cool north that the wine industry is thriving. European-style Château Golan, in the Golan Heights, was established in 1999 but has already become a premium producer of sauvignon blanc and syrah varietals. It's a scenic 30-minute drive from Tiberias; calling ahead for a tour appointment is recommended (972-4-660-0026; Nearby, the larger Golan Heights Winery exports its wide range of vintages—from sparkling and dessert wines to dry reds and whites—to 25 nations (972-4-696-8409;; book ahead for tours in English). Near the village of Rosh Pina, Dalton Winery is one of Israel's most prestigious kosher wineries and produces some 600,000 bottles each year. English-language tours are available and a kosher (dairy) meal can be arranged if you call ahead (972-4-698-7683, ext. 3; At the base of the Carmel Mountains, near Haifa, you'll find Tishbi Winery, a family enterprise run by the convivial, fourth-generation owner, Jonathan Tishbi. The modern visitors' center contains a kosher dairy restaurant that pairs the wines with local cheeses and fresh bread baked on the premises (972-4-638-0434;—Updated by Lynn Suhrie

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Israel Wine Routes

For four Mondays during the month of May I attended a wine tourism workshop accompanied by over 25 licensed tour guides all interested in promoting wine touring in... more