Israeli wine – we have a winner!

World Cup glory last week for Israeli wine, as the Golan Heights Winery was voted best wine producer in the world in the annual Vinitaly International Wine Competition in Verona! Wine World Cup winners, wow (Israeli football, never further away from World Cup glory, drools on the sidelines…)!

The 2011 competition rewarded an Israeli winemaker with the top honor for the very first time. Very inspiring, especially for a relatively young, at least in winery terms, Golan Heights Winery, who were founded in 1983 at Katzrin (yes, on the Golan Heights).

The award is given to the wine producer getting the top score, which is calculated as the sum of the highest scores for two wines taking medals in different categories. The two winning wines from the Golan Heights Winery were the 2009 Yarden Chardonnay Odem Organic Vineyard (pictured above) and the 2008 Yarden Heights Wine (dessert Gewurtztraminer).

The Golan Heights Winery had previously featured well in the competition, with Grand Gold Medals in 2004 and 2006. Definitely a case of third time lucky!

And if you thought that this was a small, hobby-like wine competition, take into consideration that the Israeli wines had to convince 105 leading wine-industry jurists that their wine was the world’s best, over the competing 3,720 bottles (3,646 in 2010) presented by more than 1,000 wine-making companies taking part from 30 countries worldwide.

We say “Well done!”

If you’re looking for more info about the competition, here’s the official press release from Vinitaly.

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