Israel's celebrated wine industry is set to get even bigger in the near future. An additional 2,000 dunams of vineyards dedicated to wine-making grapes will be planted this coming season, with the support of the Agricultural Ministry. The vineyards will be planted in all parts of Israel, the Ministry said.
Meanwhile, the harvest of this year's grape crop is underway. A total of 62,000 tons of grapes for wine production is expected by the end of grape season in October. According to Tzachi Dotan, director of the Israel Wine and Grape Council, 2013 is expected to turn into a very good vintage.
Wine production and consumption has been steadily climbing in Israel for the past several years, and wine sales last year topped NIS 900 million. Today, said Dotan, there are 40 commercial wine producers, as well as hundreds of artisan producers, in all parts of the country. Grapes grow on approximately 57,000 dunams of land from the Negev in the south to the Golan Heights in the north.
Israel's wine exports are also on the rise. Exports of wine and other grape-based alcoholic beverages were up 8% in 2012 over a year before, for a total of $30 million. In 2013, a total of 42 million bottles are expected to be produced, 77% of them red wines, and 23% white.
According to Dotan, wine production is one agricultural industry that is not being negatively affected by global warming. A shorter winter means a longer growing season, and grapes require relatively little water to grow successfully, compared to many other fruits.