According to the book of Genesis the first thing Noah did, after disembarking from the ark was to plant a vineyard. Gen:20-21, “And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.” As part of the Mediterranean region, Israel lies in one of the oldest wine producing areas of the world.
Viticulture is at its best between 30 and 48 degrees north. In Israel, this means between 31-33 degrees north, from the Dead Sea to Dan. In The Fruit of the Vine: Viticulture in Ancient Israel Carey Ellen Walsh writes, “Viticulture was practiced throughout Israelite history quite simply because it both thrived in the environment and offered worthwhile social and economic benefits to the society.”
3500-3000 BCE- Evidence of viticulture found in Jericho, Lachish and Arad
2000-1550 BCE - The Egyptian pharaohs in the Middle Bronze Age import Canaanite wine.
1516-1917 - During Ottoman rule, Muslim law prevented Jews and Christians from manufacturing wine. During this time, it was only permitted to make ‘house wine’ – which enabled non-Muslims to continue using wine during religious ceremonies etc.
1848 - First recorded winery opens in Old City of Jerusalem, by Rabbi Schorr
1870 - Efrat Winery founded by Tepersers Family
1870 - Mikveh Israel Agricultural School established. They planted vines, taught viticulture, and built a winery and one of the largest wine cellars of the day. The first to European varietals were used here.
1882 - Baron Edmond de Rothschild targeted Rishon LeZion and Zichron Ya’acov for the first viticulture settlements by.
1890 - First harvest in Rishon Le Zion
1892 - Building of the Zichron Ya’acov winery commenced.
1906 - At the behest of Rothschild, a growers’ cooperative is established, the Societe Co-operative Vigneronnes de Grandes Caves Richon le Zion & Zichron Yaacov Ltd., (Agudat Ha’Kormim). The wineries are deeded to the growers at a nominal price.
1952 - Eliaz Binyamina founded.
1957 - Israel Wine Institute established in Rehovot
1957 - Rothschild family sold the wineries at Rishon Le Zion & Zichron Ya’acov to Carmel Wine Growers Co-Op
1972 - Prof. Cornelius Ough (U.C.Davis) recommends the Golan Heights as a top growing region.
1976 - First planting of vines on Golan Heights
1983 - Golan Heights Winery founded. Launch of Yarden & Gamla – they are considered Israel's first world class wines
1985 - Baron Cellars founded
1987 - Yarden (Golan Winery) wins Gold medal and special trophy at IWSC in London
1988 - Dumaine du Castel’s first vineyards planted
1989 - Margalit Winery introduces its first Cabernet Sauvignon
1991 - Yarden wins three Golds at Vinexpo Bordeaux
1992 - New owners purchase Binyamina Wine Cellars
1993 - Tzora Vineyards established
1993 - Yarden wins Grand Prix d'Honneur at Vinexpo
1993 - Barkan Cellars Ltd. wins Gold at Vinexpo Bordeaux
1995 - Dalton winery established in the Upper Galilee
1998 - Saslove Winery established
2000 - First wines released from a new winery in the Upper Galilee, a partnership between Golan Heights and Kibbutz Yi'ron,
2001 - Release of first wines from the new Recanti Winery (Cabarnet, Merlot and Chardonnay 2000)