In outright defiance of boycott threats, an Israeli winery is proudly displaying its flag on the wine it exports to Europe.
Amid European threats to boycott Israeli products made beyond the so-called “green line,” including those made on the Golan Heights, the Bazelet HaGolan Winery has decided to have the blue and white Israeli flag printed on caps of bottles of Chardonnay to be exported to the European Union (EU).
The season began with the Bazelet HaGolan Winery harvesting choice Cabernet Sauvignon grapes by hand at one of its vineyards in Kidmat Zvi, the village in the Golan Heights where the winery is located.
Yoav Levy, Bazelet HaGolan’s founder, owner and winemaker, anticipates this year’s harvest to yield some 100 tons of the country’s finest grapes from various vineyards in the Golan Heights ranging in elevation from over 500 to 1000m above sea level. Some 80,000 bottles are expected to be produced from this year’s harvest, with roughly one quarter designated for export.
“We are proud of our national flag and hope that other wineries will follow our example and bare the Israeli flag on wine bottles destined for export to Europe,” said Levy.
Europeans would be the only ones to lose out by boycotting the product, he said, calling on Jews and supporters of the Jewish state both in Israel and abroad to purchase only “blue & white” Israeli products and show preference to agricultural produce from the Land of Israel.
According to this year’s data compiled by the Israeli Council of Grapevines, no new vineyards were planted during the past Hebrew calendar year – 5775 – because it was a Shmita (sabbatical) year, according to Jewish law. Moreover, some 12,500 dunams have been left completely fallow.
However, as permitted by Jewish law, some 55,000 dunams of vineyards were cultivated and harvested.
For years now, Israel has recorded a steady increase in its annual wine production, with the United States being the single biggest importer of Israeli wines. This year, total wine production is estimated to reach about 42 million bottles of wine and grape juice, with 77 percent of the wines being red and 23% white. The volume of wine exports in 2014 stood at 20 percent of Israel’s total wine production, with the value of such exports amounting to approximately $33 million. This year, the total revenues from Israeli wine production are expected to reach a billion shekels.
Recently, Bazelet HaGolan Winery won Gold and Double Gold medals from some of its wines entered in Argentina’s Vinus 2015, one of the world’s most prestigious international wine competitions and certainly the most important one in Latin America.
By: United with Israel Staff
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Source: United with Israel