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Psagot Wine: A Testament to Israel's Winemaking Renaissance
Psagot is an Israeli vineyard leading the charge in Israel's winemaking renaissance. But how is this Israeli winemaker standing out in the crowded world of Cabernets and Merlots? Here, we uncover how an ancient coin helped set the stage for the secrets of this Middle Eastern gem and increase optics for Israeli kosher wines.
The History of Psagot Wine
Psagot Winery’s vineyards grow in the rocky, ancient soil of Benjamin in Israel’s northern region of the Jerusalem mountains. Here, they craft some of the most renowned kosher wines in the industry. Although the area is known for its biblical-era vineyards and wineries, it is Psagot’s story that makes them unique. When under construction, the winery discovered an ancient cave from the Hasmonean Dynasty period and a coin dating back to the First Jewish-Roman War, the Great Revolt of 66–73 CE.
The distinct coin markings include a vine leaf, amphora (ancient wine storage container), and the words “For Freedom of Zion” on one side and “Year Two” on the other. The coin became the foundation of their mission, creating a connection to the ancient Land of Israel and their biblical roots. Its distinct image appears on every bottle of wine produced, representing a commitment to quality.
The construction also revealed an ancient winepress, connecting their vineyard to wines harkening back to biblical times, whether shared in the temples of Jerusalem or with the emperors of Rome. Dating back over 2,500 years, the message still resonates with Yaakov Berg, the entrepreneur who established the winery in 1998 and co-winemaker Yaacov Oryah. They are helping reestablish Israeli wine as part of Judaism and educate wine lovers that it all began here.
They now produce 11 types of kosher wines exported worldwide and boast prestigious awards and medals of distinction from the international community.
Psagot Wine: A Symbol of Israel's Winemaking Renaissance
Despite Israel’s prime location on the Mediterranean coast and the country’s ancient connection to wine, the wine industry has faced ongoing issues for centuries. Between the Ottoman Empire’s control of the region and Islamic communities forbidding wine, Israeli wine fell out of favor for over 400 years. However, in the late 1800s, famed wine producer Edmond de Rothschild’s interest in the regional grape variety Vitis vinifera helped prompt the first wave of modern Israeli winemaking.
The re-emergence of Israeli wine was slow and steady, experiencing advancement in the late 1980s when Golan Heights wines gained international recognition from renowned winemakers. This recognition was followed by a much-needed boost from wine critic Jancis Robinson, who wrote about Judean Hills wines in the 1990s. Backed by a Wines of Israel marketing campaign, Israeli wines earned global attention on their own merit.
The focus on the quality of the wines they produce has helped Israeli wineries achieve well-deserved recognition, including acceptance for award-winning wine and an emerging Israeli wine tourism boom. Wineries in the Judean Hills, such as Psagot, exemplify the return of winemaking, leading the charge of Israel’s winemaking renaissance.
The Unique Characteristics of Psagot Wine
Psagot cultivates the same grape variety on the same land as Abraham 3,000 years ago. This distinct history ties the region’s modern and ancient wines together, creating a unique wine experience recognized as some of the best in the world. The Israeli terroir presents a challenge due to its hot, arid climate. However, when combined with clay-rich terra rossa of the Judean Hills, they can grow grapes with unique flavor profiles. The desert-like climate also gives way to snow-covered hills, contributing to the complex flavors that develop when the vines are dormant. This diversity of weather contributes to Psagot’s broad range of wines.
However, you also can’t overlook the cutting-edge winemaking technology, advanced growing techniques, and talent that continues to create truly distinctive wines. Psagot innovations such as drip irrigation and vineyard monitoring systems are now considered among the most effective technology-based innovations and are embraced by wine producers globally.
Psagot Wine on the Global Stage
As wine connoisseurs seek new experiences, they are drawn to Israel as the next viticultural region. They eagerly treat their discerning palates to the award-winning flavors recognized by Rothschild over 200 years ago. European wine drinkers have a broad and diverse selection of wines produced in their backyards but are still interested in experiencing something new.
Israeli wineries like Psagot can introduce wine lovers to different wine varieties like Edom, expanding horizons and taste buds alike. This flagship red wine features a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Cabernet Franc (19%), Merlot (6%), and Petite Verdot (5%), providing an excellent alternative to typical reds like Bordeaux.
Why Psagot Wine Should Be Your Next Wine Discovery
Psagot offers award-winning wines made from exceptional grapes grown in an ideal terroir. They also leverage innovative winemaking technology and informed growing techniques, providing opportunities for their talented winemakers to produce wines worthy of worldwide acclaim.
A New Chapter in a Storied Legacy: Embrace Psagot Wines
Psagot Winery isn't just producing wines; it's crafting a narrative steeped in tradition, innovation, and undeniable quality. The vineyard connects wine enthusiasts to Israel's ancient viticultural roots while introducing them to the vanguard of modern winemaking. Psagot’s meticulous attention to each bottle—right down to the ancient coin that graces its label—sets it apart as an exemplar in Israel's winemaking resurgence.
From its historically rich soil to a future built on cutting-edge technology, Psagot is more than a wine—it’s a testament to the enduring legacy and the bright future of Israeli winemaking. If you're searching for a wine experience that transcends the ordinary and captures the essence of an ancient tradition made new, then it's time to discover Psagot.
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- Steinberg, J. (2014, September 14). Settlement winery touts vino with a biblical vintage. The Times of Israel
- Psagot Winery website
- Arik. (2021, April 26). Psagot Winery, Wineries in Israel, APT Private Tours