Israel is know for a lot of things- rich history, beautiful nature, and lots of chutzpah…. but what many people don’t know is that Israel also has a growing wine scene! The tiny country is home to over 300 wineries which have won countless awards worldwide. In the last 20 years the wine culture in Israel has really taken off and some truly awesome wines have emerged from the movement!
For under 100 shekels (or about 25 USD) there are tons of great wines to be found. I am constantly discovering new favorites through winery visits and chats with my local wine guru at Kos Shel Bracha in Katamon.
Great Israel Wines For Those On A Budget:
Malbec, Ramat Negev
This Malbec is my top wine under 100 shekels. For just about 60 shekels, the Ramat Negev Malbec has bold flavor and pairs perfectly with cheese. It even impressed my mom who is one of the pickiest wine drinkers I know.
About the winery: This family winery has gone through many changes since it opened in 2000. The couple that opened the winery spent 3 years learning the skills of wine making in Florence, thus their wines are influenced greatly by Italian wine.
Cabernet Franc, Tishbi
With a hint of pepper this wine is sure to take you by surprise. Tishbi has a line of wines which are sold 3 for 100 shekels and of those, this is my favorite.
About the winery: Just outside of Binyamina, Tishbi is one of the most well known wineries in Israel. They are also known for their wine and chocolate tasting. If you go to the winery, be sure to bring some empty wine bottles to fill up. That’s right, in their cafe you can refill your empty bottles (from anywhere) for just 15 shekels.
Loan Oak Gewurtztraminer, Gush Etzion Winery
One of my favorite wineries for a visit, Gush Etzion Winery has a special rich history! Their Gewurtztraminer has a strong flavor and you can tell it is a Gewurtz by smell alone. The wine has notes of green apple and pear in it with a hint of sweetness.
About the winery: Just a short bus ride outside of Jerusalem, Gush Etzion Winery is a fun day trip for wine lovers. What started as some wine barrels in a living room has become a boutique winery loved by locals and tourists alike. On site there is a full dairy restaurant with great gluten free options. It is also a great event venue!
Grenache Rosé 2019, Binyamina
A light and refreshing semi sweet wine, this rosé makes a great summer drink! It reminds me a lot of a crisp pink lady apple with hints of berries. It is easily priced at around 35 shekels making it a great wine for those on a budget!
About the winery: Binyamina Winery as founded in 1952 by a Hungarian immigrant to Israel, Joseph Zeltzer. Zeltzer had been a wine maker prior to his immigration and founded the winery in an old perfume factory. The winery sits in the hub of Israel’s wine region- just minutes from other great wineries like Tishbi, Somek, and Carmel.
Merlot Cabernet, Ella Valley
I’m not typically a huge merlot fan but this blend has bold flavor while still being quite easy to drink. I first tried it during a wine tasting held by Kos Shel Bracha (a great wine store in Katamon) and have loved it since. This blend is also in the 3 for 100 price range and is really a steal!
About the winery: Ella Valley winery, founded in 1998, is great winery for a visit! With a beautiful visitors center, fun staff, and delicious wine this small boutique winery has it all. You can get there by bus from Jerusalem needing just a short cab ride once in Beit Shemesh. The winery is located in the valley where David and Goliath were said to have dueled.
White Franc, Tulip Winery
This light wine has a delicate sweetness that is perfect for a summer day or an afternoon sack paired with fruit and cheese. It is sold for just under 80 shekels and helps support a winery with an incredible story!
About the winery: Founded in 2003, Tulip Winery is one of my absolute favorite wineries. Located on Kfar Tikvah, a village for people with special needs, the winery employs members of the community. Their dedication to out of the box wine while providing and safe and welcoming environment to employs with differing needs is remarkable.
Fanny 2018 Rosé , La Citadelle De Diamant
This is one of the pricer wines on this list at around 70 shekels a bottle depending on where you are shopping. It is a light rosé with a complex citrus and apple like flavor. It also comes in a really simple, clear bottle with cursive writing which makes it feel much fancier and more expensive than it is.
About the winery: I had a hard time finding information about this winery as their website is down…. but it is apparently located in the Galilee.
While this list could go on and on, I think I will stop at seven! For more amazing Israeli wines check out JLM Wines!