Wineries in the Judean Hills

For years, good Israeli wine was an oxymoron, but the days of producing only sweet sacramental wines are long gone. In the past few decades, a viniculture revolution has yielded an abundance of wines that easily compete against those from older vineyards. The Judean Hills area is now home to more than two dozen vineyards, the majority of them close to Route 38, north and south of Beit Shemesh. Since most vineyards are "boutique"—producing fewer than 100,000 bottles per year—few have visitor centers that encourage drop-in visits or have regularly scheduled tours, so call ahead. The wineries are convenient to Tel Aviv (40 minutes away) as well as Jerusalem (about 20 minutes). Every October, the area's more than 20 wineries sponsor a wine festival; the venue changes.

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