Although Israel is a relatively small country, it has three distinct climatic zones: Mediterranean, semi-arid and desert within which one can find a large number of microclimates, from snow in the Golan Heights to the sand of the Negev Desert.
Israel has five officially recognised vine-growing regions: Galilee, Shomron, Samson, the Judean Hills and the Negev. These areas are subdivided in sub-regions with different soils and specific characteristics delivering a unique personality to the wines.
Located in the north of Israel, from the northern border with Lebanon to the Sea of Galilee and the Carmel Mountains, this region includes the sub-regions of Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights.
Most of the vineyards in Upper Galilee are at 700-800 meters above sea level with soil rich in basalt, terra rossa and limestone.
Golan is a volcanic plateau rising up to 1,200 metres above sea level with basalt, tuff and petrified soil.
This whole area benefits from a cool climate due to the altitude and is ideal for complex, long-aging wines.
This is the area where Barone Edmond de Rothschild first planted his vines in 1880’s. On the slopes of Mount Carmel and the Shomrom hills, this typically Mediterranean climate experiences the cooling influence of the sea allowing creating a slow ripening process for the grapes. Ideal for certain varietals.
Located in the Judean plains between the foothills of the Jerusalem Mountains and the sea coast, this region has a hot summers and mild winters producing grapes with a very distinct personality. The soils are loamy, limestone and clay.
This region, that surrounds the city of Jerusalem itself sits at an average altitude of 800 meters above sea level and offers probably the best natural conditions for vineyards.
The altitude here provides a cool climate, with warm days and cold nights and a relatively high moisture level. Top quality vineyards can be found all over the region.
Thanks to drip feed irrigation – originally an Israeli invention but now used worldwide – this arid land is now home of some very high quality vineyards. The impressive temperature ranges between day and night allowing noble varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay to be grown here with excellent results. The extremely dry air keeps disease that plagues most other vineyards to a minimum, enabling vines to grow naturally without the use of pesticides.