This region may have a section at your local retailer, but perhaps you haven’t noticed it yet. Then again, the wines may appear in the catchall “Wines of the World” section, where they are hidden gems in a sea of choice. They’ve been enjoyed by wine drinkers for eons, but remained largely under the radar – until now. Finally, the wines of Israel are beginning to receive the recognition they deserve.Wine has been produced in Israel since Biblical times, perhaps longer than anywhere in the world. According to the authors of the Old Testament, Noah planted the first vines once the great flood subsided. From that point, there are several references to wines consumed by Moses, Micah, King David, and most notably Jesus. Ancient equipment has been found in archaeological sites as well as beneath parts of modern day facilities in the Golan Heights and as far as the Negev Desert. Israel made contributions to this growing industry, which spread throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean. A document dating to around 1800 BC was discovered stating Israel was “...blessed with figs and vineyards producing wine in greater quantity than water.”

This rich history continues to bear fruit in the twenty-first century. You may be familiar with Yarden, a premier Israeli label who cinched the Citadelles d’Or at this year’s VinExpo. The global gathering for major players in the wine and spirits industry has ratified the future of wines from Israel. The Citadelles du Vin competition is one of the most prestigious, accepting just 1,200 submissions from thirty countries. The Yarden Malbec (SRP: $33) took the title, and consumers are beginning to add Israel to their repertoire of regions they love.

Have you had a wine from Israel? It’s time to take a taste.