Tel Aviv: Side Trip
Israel's modern-day wine industry is a fledgling one, but winemaking has been a regional ritual since biblical times. Today, there are more than 200 wineries across the country, with some of the best lying within striking distance of Tel Aviv.
At Tishbi, tel: (972-4) 638 0434, near the historic town of Zichron Ya'akov, the visitors' center includes wine tastings, the sale of handmade cheeses and olive oils, and a dairy restaurant. Small-scale winery Villa Wilhelma, tel: (972-3) 972 1988, turns out a mere 15,000 bottles each year, but in 12 different varieties. At the Psagot winery, tel: (972-52) 771 0000, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, chardonnay and other grapes are grown on slopes overlooking the Jericho Valley, and wines are aged in the naturally cool conditions of an ancient cavern.
Further afield, in the temperate regions of Upper Galilee (about a two-hour drive from Tel Aviv) is the kosher Dalton winery, tel: (972-4) 698 7683. Established by English immigrants in 1995, it produces around 600,000 bottles annually. Tours are available, followed by an al fresco lunch with snowcapped Mount Hermon towering in the background.