Joshua Greenstein, vice-president of the Israeli Wine Producers Association, showcases the array of wines produced in Israel. (photo from IWPA)
The world of wine in Israel, perhaps the oldest wine-producing region in the world, has become collateral damage of the atrocities that occurred on Oct. 7. To raise awareness, and in support of Israel and Israeli wineries, the Israeli Wine Producers Association (IWPA) is asking consumers to “Sip for Solidarity.”
The massacre has had an immediate, concrete impact, particularly on picking, sorting and winemaking teams. Harvest had begun shortly before the attacks, which meant that the sorting, crushing and fermentation processes were, in many cases, done under the constant threat of attack and bombardment. For many wineries, production teams have been hollowed out, as the young men and women who normally would be shepherding the crucial winemaking process have been called up to help defend the nation.
“Winemaking has its own schedule, unlike other industries, where you can pause production or run with limited staff. Grapes grow and ripen when they do. The winemaking process is very hands-on. Without staff, many wineries face an impending crisis,” said Joshua Greenstein, vice-president of the IWPA, a trade organization promoting 30-plus Israeli wineries through wine education and events.
“Additionally, wine is usually something enjoyed when you go out to eat or to a party, and people in Israel aren’t feeling particularly celebratory these days,” Greenstein added. “It’s catastrophic not just for this year’s sales, but for the vintages harvesting now that won’t be ready for sale for years to come.”
To help the situation, Greenstein suggested, “Buy a bottle of Israeli wine. Not only will the purchase help the wineries, but we’re donating 10% of every case shipped from Nov. 1, 2023, to Dec. 31, 2023, to Israeli relief efforts. With the wine-consuming public’s support, these challenges are surmountable, and wineries will still craft wines that accurately and deliciously reflect the character of the vintage and of Israel, just as they always have.”
– Courtesy Israeli Wine Producers Association