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Discover The Festival of Wine And Plenty In Israel
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Discover The Festival of Wine And Plenty In Israel

Picture of Yael Tamar
Updated: 30 November 2016
There is no shortage of festivals in Israel, from music and film to food, but there’s nothing quite like a celebration of wine culture. A standout among the Israeli wine festivals is The Festival of Wine and Plenty. Discover what it has to offer here.
Sadot Winery, courtesy of Yael Tamar
Sadot Winery, courtesy of Yael Tamar

45 minutes away from Tel Aviv lies the beautiful Baron de Rothschild’s settlements: Zichron Ya’acov, Binyamina-Givat Ada, Emek Alona and Emek Hefer. The map of this region is tightly embroidered with farms, wineries, olive groves and orchards, not to mention gorgeous hiking, and biking trails and nature reserves.

Ramat HaNadiv Park in Zichron Ya’acov is a natural gem dedicated to the memory of Baron Edmond de Rothschild, whose family was the largest benefactor of Israel since before the State was declared. He founded industries ranging from scent factories and glass works, to wine cellars and bottle manufacturers. As a tribute to Baron Rothschild and a way to demonstrate the outcome of his vision, local producers such as small family businesses and boutiques got together to showcase their creations in Ramat HaNadiv.

Wine barrel furniture, courtesy of Yael Tamar
Wine barrel furniture, courtesy of Yael Tamar

This spring wine festival, curated by Ruti Ben Israel, sommelier and proprietor of ‘Wine and Plenty’, is a complete sensory experience for the guests.

The venue is a beautiful garden featuring a wine-related art exhibit called Full-Bodied, curated by Aya Bernhard-Ravsky. Visitors can feast their eyes on interesting art, and the beautiful aesthetic of the park.

At the End of the Event. Jacques Sterenberg. Courtesy of Yael Tamar
At the End of the Event. Jacques Sterenberg. Courtesy of Yael Tamar

The festival also features live music by Lay Z Gordon Starting Five, which will accompany the wine tasting activities and add to the event’s ambiance.

Lay Z Gordon Starting Five live concert at Ramat HaNadiv WineFest, courtesy of Yael Tamar
Lay Z Gordon Starting Five live concert at Ramat HaNadiv WineFest, courtesy of Yael Tamar

Fresh green grass, the park’s beautiful flowers and teasing smells waft from each booth, be it a winery, a cheese farm or an olive oil maker. The air Is saturated with exotic scenets like passion fruit liqueur or spa-quality creams made with wine, as well as delicious street food and samples of exquisite offerings from the regional kitchens.

Street food at Ramat HaNadiv Festival, courtesy of Yael Tamar
Street food at Ramat HaNadiv Festival, courtesy of Yael Tamar

Sandwiched in between the wine booths are many types of olive oil, spreads, cheeses, chocolates and even strawberries! Each round of wine tasting can be complemented with these delicious food offerings, and wine lovers’ taste buds will be cleansed and ready to experience some more wine. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Sirah are prevalent, but so is Carignan, which although not very common in Israel, is apparently grown mainly in this area.

Eight (!) varieties of olive oils from a local producer, courtesy of Yael Tamar
Eight (!) varieties of olive oils from a local producer, courtesy of Yael Tamar

Three winemakers in particular deserve special mention:

Eyal Winery

Eyal Winery opened in 2008. ‘The wine-making business is actually a side business for my family,’ explains Eyal Ohayon, the owner. ‘My father and his father have been growing grapes for many years for sale to other wineries, but our family always made our own wine as well.’ The winery is now certified kosher, and makes about 7,000 bottles a year.

Eyal Winery – Givat Nili, Israel +972-57-7744135

Asambia winery. Courtesy of Yael Tamar
Asambia winery. Courtesy of Yael Tamar
Eyal Winery, courtesy of Yael Tamar
Eyal Winery, courtesy of Yael Tamar

Argov Winery

Argov Winery produces about 3,000 bottles a year. Its Petite Sirah from the 2013 variety won a prestigious Terravino award earlier this year for the Best Israeli Home Winery.

Argov Winery – Moshav Aviel, Israel +972-(0)4-6380636

Argov Winery, courtesy of Yael Tamar
Argov Winery, courtesy of Yael Tamar

Shfeya Boarding School

Shfeya Boarding School offers winemaking as one of its trades at the school. Made by high school students at the Meir Shfeya local boarding school, their special wines come in two varieties: Merlot and the Merlot Carignan blend. ‘Many of our students are new immigrants, who come to Israel on special programs for teenagers’ said Georgiy, who is a new immigrant from Georgia.

Meir Shfeya Youth Village, Shfeya, +972-(0)4-639952

Wine by the Shefiya Boarding School, courtesy of Yael Tamar
Wine by the Shefiya Boarding School, courtesy of Yael Tamar

The festival of the senses starts from the moment the guests receive their own slick branded festival glass. The touch of cold glass is followed by the texture of finger foods, soft cheeses, breads and olive oil gently dripping on the fingertips, or the brush of a stranger’s shoulder at the booth. The wine festival romance envelops guests with a special kind of buzz. It is an unforgettable evening.

The Festival of Wine and Plenty will return to Ramat HaNadiv next year. Until then, the next unique wine festival will begin in mid-May and continue every weekend from May 12 to June 13 in Ramot Naftali, where four local wineries create an unforgettable experience through their signature parties, including a rock cover band, a salsa dance party, a bluegrass experience and a chill, social, mingling event.

Wine and cheese at the Festival of Wine and Plenty, courtesy of Yael Tamar
Wine and cheese at the Festival of Wine and Plenty, courtesy of Yael Tamar