Wine has been made in the land of Israel since biblical times, but only recently has the has the modern wine industry shown tremendous growth. In 2000 there were 70 wineries and that numbered doubled by 2005. Today, there are 35 large scale wineries and approximately 250 boutique wineries, many of which are making world wide names for themselves. In fact there are a remarkable number of award winning wines and winemakers who call Israel home.
Amichai is the winemaker behind Shiloh winery, located in the Judean desert. Shifra and Shlomo Klein, the team behind our illustrious JOY of KOSHER with Jamie Geller magazine, and I met Amichai in his home near the winery to taste his food paired with his delicious wines.
Shifra traveled all around Israel finding the best places to share with all of you in the Israel Issue of the magazine (order yours now). Her stop at Shiloh was a highlight that I was fortunate to be able to enjoy, find more and get a few recipes in the magazine. See more pictures from our day together on Facebook.
I stayed back for a barrel tasting and a few more words with Amichai.
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Amichai made Aliyah with his family when he was 4 and this had a profound effect on the man he is today.
Amichai started making wine as part of the Shiloh label in 2005. Today he has two labels, Legend 1 and 2 that have received a 92 and 93 rating from wine enthusiast and tagged as the best blend in Israel. For about $35 a bottle they are real find.
1. At what age did you become interested in wine making and what sparked your interest most?
I've been drinking wine for as long as I can remember. My passion is to be connected to ERETZ ISRAEL ארץ ישראל and the MITZVOT מצוות attached to the land. I make my own olive oil, grow my own vegetables and get to do all the MITZVOT around this.
Growing grapes and making wine is an obvious choice given my passion. It started as a hobby that I took to the extreme.
2. What are the greatest challenges, from a production perspective, in making wine in the Judean desert?
It's the other way around!!! Because I'm in ERETZ ISRAEL and in Shiloh where everything started I have the upper hand.
I feel that I have GO'DS help .
We have a lot of difficulties because of BDS but 'when the going gets tough the tough get going'
A better way to say this is : עם הנצח לא מפחד מדרך ארוכה!!!!
4. What do you look for when you make wine?
Excellency, consistency and QPR (Quality Price Ratio) is my goal and then to surprise with unique wines like the LEGEND series.
5. How do you know when you’ve got a good vintage? What do you do if you don’t find enough barrels for one of your more premium wines?
Every vintage in Israel is good!!! The question is how good.
I don't compromise when I make wine. So even if there is a big demand for a wine I'll make as much as I can and no more.
6. What do you like best about your job?
Wow , difficult question….
Many things' but I can tell you one that just happened yesterday and has happened a few times, when someone that doesn't know me talks to me about a great wine and tries to convince me to try or buy Shiloh wine….
7. What should someone do if they want to visit your winery and have a wine tasting with you?
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