25 August 2010 - 15 Elul 5770 - ט"ו אלול ה' אלפים תש"ע
Israel’s Golan Heights Winery attends Vinexpo and wins gold Print E-mail

Citadelles du Vin Prize Competition awarded a gold medal to the Golan Heights Winery for their Galilee Yarden Chardonnay Odem Organic Vineyard 2008. The ceremony was held during Vinexpo Asia- Pacifi c 2010 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Victor Schoenfeld, Chief Winemaker of Golan Heights Winery, received the prize from Bernard Latouche, Chairman of Citadelles de Vin. The winners were chosen from a sample of 788 wines from 28 countries and were strictly tested by over 30 internationally recognised professional tasters.

Consul General of Israel to Hong Kong Amikam Levy was at hand to congratulate Schoenfeld as well as Uri Kadim, Golan Heigths Winery’s VP of International Sales and Marketing and Yael Gai, International Sales and Marketing Manager. Golan Heights Winery is one of the best wineries in Israel.

They market their products under the labels of Yarden, Gamla and Golan. The winery was founded in 1983 and is located in a small town called Katzrin on the Golan Heights, the birthplace of winemaking.Schoenfeld explained that the winery is speeding up their learning process of vinifi cation techniques, as they don’t want to reinvent the wheel. They bring winemakers from around the world, as well as experts in many subjects to aid them in the winemaking process. They have meteorologists that have set up numerous weather stations, so they can get exact climate data on each of their vineyards.

Wine-growing experts are helping them maximize the quality of the vines. The company also scans the soil and mea-sures the refl ected light on the vine leaves. Finally irrigation is a highly important aspect of their process. . “It is much more involved process than most people think. After the harvest we will have 9,000 barrels,” Shoenfeld noted.

They attribute the success of the company to always having a long-term perspective. “We have never invested more in development projects than we are investing right now,” said Shoenfeld.

“We’ve reached a good level of quality but I still think we’re scratching the potential of what’s possible. I think the wines are going to keep getting better and better,” he added.

Schoenfeld’s top three choices from their winery are the new and limited in quantity Yarden Rom, which “David Rogov, the wine critic of Israel, gave the highest ever score for an Israeli wine, a 96.” His second choice was the Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon, which he calls “the most Israeli wine, which is also the only Israeli wine ever included in the Wine Spectator’s top 100 wines of the year.”

And finally he would choose a good sparkling wine because “it is cool climate wine, that is not only enjoyable but it says something about our area. It is very rare to be able to produce great cabernet and also good sparkling wine, because there are not many places in the world where you could do that.”

Yael Gai said Golan Heights Winery started exporting to Asia over 10 years ago. Their most established region being Japan, where their brands are marketed as premium wines. Growing markets include Singapore and Korea. She said exporting wines to Asia “is very hard, it is very expensive as it takes a long time and the quantities are still small.”

However, as Israeli wine grows in popularity in this part of the world and with the help of the Israeli consulates and their partner, Lisa Tang, they areexpanding their distribution in China. Tang was a Chinese tennis champion and has ventured into wine under the guidance of Golan Heights Winery. “People here appreciate history and appreciate roots from the past, knowledge and wisdom,” Gai said. Golan Heights wines bring all these elements to the table.

(Issue June 2010)

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