Within walking distance of each other or a 1 minute drive, are three very different wineries; Dalton, Adir and Rimon. Dalton was the first commercial winery in the Galilee coming up on 20 years. They make a wide range of wines with typically good values at each price point. They also make some rare varietals and blends for Israel including oak aged Sauvignon Blanc, Rhone & Bordeaux style red blends in their Alma series, Pinot Grigio, Viognier, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Moscato. They also have more standard varietals that are great. (Editors’ note: Part One ran on this website last week, 5/16/16)
Adir is much smaller than Dalton, featuring boutique red & dessert wines. Their visitor center features a wide assortment of cheeses and yogurts as the two families that own the winery also own a dairy. This is a good place to also catch a dairy lunch while on a day of tasting. Upper tier red wines are the focus of the winemaker here.
Rimon (Hebrew for pomegranate) is one of the fruit wineries that opts not to use grapes but only pomegranates. It’s probably the most established of that lot and their line-up includes a dry fruit wine. Their sparkling and dessert wines are the best bets and are located in orchards just across the street from the industrial park that Adir and Dalton occupy. They also sell pomegranate juice if you want some non-alcoholic refreshment on your wine infused wanderlust.
Ramot Naftaly, 04-696-0371, Avidan, Trio & Moshav Ramot Naftaly
These three quality boutique wineries aren’t just located in the same village but share the same visitor center. All three wineries have a range of quality wines, unique varietals and blends. Being under one roof makes this a good choice if you only want to stop at one location. Ramot Naftaly has been a pioneer for several varietals such as Barbera, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Avidan has been a leader in unique blends while Trio is making interesting value for money wines. With three wineries, you could spend a full day wine tasting and not have to worry about driving – always important to keep in mind when drinking alcoholic beverages.
Kishor Vineyard, Kishorit Village, 04-908-5198
This is possibly the nicest landscaped visitor center in a village with a social agenda to match the beauty of its scenery. Kishorit in Kibbutz Kishor helps supports adults with special needs. Winemaker Richard Davis from South Africa produces wines which get better and better each year so it’s fun to return each year and taste what’s next. Their recent semi-sweet Riesling was a pleasant surprise and one of the best examples of that noble white grape in Israel.
The Tulip and Maia wineries , Kiryat Tivon, Kfar Tikvah, 04-983-0573
Kfar Tikvah, “village of hope,” is a village with several industries that support residents who are challenged adults that might not find work otherwise. Half the employees at Tulip and its sister brand Maia are residents of the village and their cheerful dispositions add to the charm and soul of well-crafted wines that could easily sell for more than the winery is asking. Winemaker David Bar-Ilan oversees both brands and his Tulip Syrah Reserve is one of the best Syrahs in Israel – at a very competitive price. Their Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cab Franc, White Franc and a range of other reds and whites are all good if not great value for money wines.
This guide focuses on the kosher wineries of the north. As such, all these wineries are closed on Saturdays and most religious holidays. Kosher wineries typically close early on Friday (typically by 3PM at the latest) so workers and guests can get home in time to prepare for the Sabbath.
If you are planning a wine tour, we suggest you call ahead as many wineries feature special events or have scheduled times if you want a tour instead of just a tasting. Prices for tastings often change so it’s good to also confirm pricing on the phone when you call. Some wineries give rebates on the tasting charges if you buy wine.