For the first time in its history, the prestigious publication Wine Spectator has dedicated its latest issue to the topic of Israeli wines. Titled “The Wines of Israel: ‘Surprising quality from an emerging region,” the issue features profiles on some 110 Israeli wines and rates them, with many of the ratings very high.
Considered by many the benchmark measure of wine quality, a high rating by Wine Spectator is considered a boon for a wine and a winery, giving it “bragging rights” in international markets and helping to boost sales. All 110 of the Israeli wines rated for the issue scored between 80 and 93 on Wine Spectator’s charts. An 85 score marks a wine that is “very good, of especial quality,” while wines with a 90 are “exceptional and of surprisingly high quality.”
Wines of 31 wineries were included in the ratings, including large commercial wineries and small boutique ones. Most notable is that the ratings did not stop at the 1948 armistice lines; there was a heavy sprinkling of highly rated wines from Yehudah and Shomron.
Israel in 2014 exported about $40 million in wines, with the U.S. in first place, with Fance, the U.K. and Canada following.