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You missed the wine festival

by michael August 16 2007
FoodThings to do
And really, that's a shame.

Just as the State of Israel changed the identity and perception of Jewish people in the world at large, it changed the identity and perception of Jewish wine. In most of the Western world, particulary America, people hear "Jewish wine" and they imagine that viscous purple stuff with the difficult name in square bottles more likely to be found empty under the overpass than in a respectable wine section. A lot of people seem to even have a strange affection for the stuff; it's served up for Communion in churches and just about every American Jewish kid remembers first getting hammered on it during the Passover seder. But it's high time the world knew that there was something better out there. Something more refined. Something that tastes like grapes and not grenadine.

That something is Israel.

Israeli wine, to use the preferred oenophilic nomenclature, freaking rocks. The country is home to several major wineries, the most prominent of which is the Golan Heights Winery, and dozens of boutiques, including the internationally acclaimed Domaine du Castel in the Judean Hills, a region perfectly suited to grape cultivation.

And the celebration of all that fermentation is the yearly Wine Festival, held in the Israel Museum's sculpture garden in late July to early August. So yes, unfortunately you missed it - but don't worry, it'll roll around next year. Every major and minor winemaker in the country descends on the festival, setting up booths that offer you a limitless supply of the sauce for as long as you can handle it. Food is served, saxophone notes drift over the increasingly wine-limbered conversation, and everyone has a damn fine time. So do yourself a favor and come in time for next year's festival. Jerusalemite will be there, probably under a table sleeping off that sixth glass of red wine. Be sure to give a kick hello.
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