Israel Wine Region - Food, Wine, Accomodations
I'm planning 1-2 nights in the wine region of Israel during our 10 day trip to Israel in February. We want to stay somewhere that has access to wine tastings as well as good dining. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Also, if you happen to know of the best places to stay up there - boutique hotels/inns/B&B, we are open, we just want to stay at the best place.
Wine Region? As if there is only one? Israel produces wines that receive international acclaim (90 and above in Parkers Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator, top awards by Decanter and more) from wine regions from the Northern borders with Lebanon and Syria to the Central Negev Highlands.
I specialize in guiding wine tours in Israel. If you define what wine region (5 official wine growing regions 9 official wine routes), then I will be happy to make recommendations.
Thanks for the responses @rockycat and @israeladventures. I am open to any of the regions because my priority is good wine, food, and lodgings, not the location. If there are one or two regions that stick out in terms of both a handful of great wineries to visit coupled with quality restaurants and accommodations, I'd love to hear your suggestions.
Hopefully that helps - appreciate the expertise!
We hit the Golan for the first time a few weeks ago. The area is definitely short on fine dining. In fact, we discovered that eating prepared sandwiches bought at gas stations is a much better experience in Israel than in the US. Some of those sandwiches were pretty darn good. :-)
There are some decent beef restaurants up in the Golan since there is cattle ranching there and there are many Druze restaurants, but it is all very high in atmosphere, low in ambiance.
In terms of wineries, though, the selection is abundant - both kosher and non-kosher. There are a number of boutique wineries in the area and the winemakers are very accomodating. We especially liked Pelter.
The scenery in Golan may not be for everyone, but we loved it. It's very different from the rest of the country and the volcanic soil makes for outstanding growing conditions.
The north of Israel is a pretty mixed bag regarding accommodations and restaurants. But it's also small enough that if you choose to stay in Haifa, Tiberias, or Nazareth - and then travel to the wine areas, that would be my recommendation.
Regarding accommodations, there are a few monastaries in the region that also have guest houses. They often can make a more interesting experience than the hotels, and less disappointing (I've never stayed in an AWESOME hotel in either Haifa or Tiberas). If you choose to go that route, the monastary options in the Galilee I recommend more than my personal experiences in Haifa (though there is a guest house in a former Templar's house in Haifa that I've heard good things about).
I've heard about what appears to be a great boutique hotel/B&B in Had Ness on the slopes of the Golan Heights. http://www.blackandwhite-luxury.co.il...
Here you are within an easy drive from must-taste Golan wineries: Golan Heights Wineries, Chateau Golan, Pelter, Odem Mountain, Bazelet and Asaf.
Dinner choices: At Ein Gev-Miranda, Rosh Pina is 1/2 an hour away with a number of good restaurants. For lunch Nidal Druze restaurant at Masade, at Nimrod for lunch or dinner "The Witch's Cauldron and the Milkman", Bazelet micro-brewery at Katzrin and more.
Upscale boutique hotel in the Upper Galilee-Bayit Bagalil (http://www.bayit-bagalil.co.il/en/) I've stayed there a few times, large rooms, beautiful out-of-the-way location. Wineries: Dalton, Galil Mountain, Adir, Ramot Naftali, Naaman, Saslov by appointment only, Kadita by apointment only.
Western Galilee-Efendi Boutique Hotel in Acco (a Middle Eastern Fantasy Destination), Uri Buri Restaurant, Adelina restaurant in Cabri. Wineries: Stern, about 1 hour drive to Dalton, Kadita, Adir, Saslov and Galil Mt.
Tel Aviv-Mecca for Israeli cusine. Within an hour's drive too many wineries to list here, but 2 days towards Jerusalem Mts for wineries there and 2 days driving North for wineries there.
Jerusalem- one day driving North to Psagot, Gevaot and Shilo. 2 days in the Jerusalem Moutnains: Castel, Sea Horse, Flam, Tzora, Ella Valley, Agur, Harel-Clos de Gat, Bravdo and more.
Could anyone recommend a great wine shop in either Tel Aviv, Haifa, Akko, or Tiberias where we might sample some of the best producers of each region?
I believe we'll be visiting at least one local winery while int he Golan Heights, but as we'll be traveling throughout the country for a full month, I would like to purchase several bottles of truly excellent local wines to bring back to our hotels in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, where we're spending the majority of our time (1 wk Tel Aviv, 1wk Galillee/Golan, 1 wk Jerusalem, 1 wk Jordan).
If anyone could offer some advice on local wine shops in the major cities, as well as the names and vintages of some of your personal favorite regional wine producers, it'd be greatly appreciated! I'm not into dessert wines or anything overly sweet btw; everything else goes. We'd like to sample the best of the best!
OliverB - I highly recommend a visit to Bin 281 on 281 Dizingoff Street in Tel Aviv. It is a wine shop and also a wine bar with a lovely selection of Israeli wines. If you are a wine person, you should consider visiting one winery in each of the regions you will be visiting, as each can provide a very unique experience.
If you are interested in a culinary tour in any of your locations (except for Jordan :), please be in touch as my company - Delicious Israel - specializes in culinary/lifestyle experiences in Israel! firstname.lastname@example.org
In Haifa you should try Special Reserve in the Panorama Center, one of the best wine shops in the country. The owner Andre Suidan conducts guided wine tastings (for a moderate fee) every Thursday evening. He has a great selection of Israeli boutique winery wines and extensive knowledge of Israeli and world wines. You can see him on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Specia....