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'If Europe Doesn't Want Our Wine It's Their Loss'

Prestigious Samaria winery is successful worldwide, shrugs off European boycott as inconsequential.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 2/28/2014, 1:56 PM

Tura's prestigious wine
Tura's prestigious wine
Hillel Meir

The Tura Winery, located in the Samaria village of Rehelim near Ariel, is not concerned by the European boycotts targeting Israel and its region in specific. In response to the European discrimination, the winery has decided to ignore Europe in return.

The winery has won many prestigious awards, including the “Oscar Award of Wine” in Israel's annual Golden Grapes competition in 2012, and gold medals in the Terravino Mediterranean International Wine and Spirits Challenge in Jerusalem the same year. It markets thousands of wines to America, Russia and China.

Next Sunday, Vered Ben-Saadon, who founded the winery in 2003 with her husband Erez, will fly for another sales trip in the US. Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Ben-Saadon noted that "for Purim and Passover our sales are at peak, 40% of our sales are in the United States and Canada."

"We go around the stores and restaurants and 'connect' them to our product," remarked Ben-Saadon. "Our visitors' center in Rehelim is very active, with people and tourists arriving all the time...over the years I've kept addresses and made contact. We have many families that invited us to meetings with communities and explanations on wine."

Ever since the "boycott trend" has started making waves, Ben-Saadon notes her winery made a strategic decision. Their coping method: to ignore Europe.

"I don't deal with it, I invest with those who want us. I produce annually 26,000 bottles and I don't have enough for the whole world," Ben-Saadon noted. "If Europe isn't interested there are enough Americans, Chinese and Russians crying out for good wines from Israel."

Israeli public - buying more from Judea and Samaria or initiators of the boycott?

Speaking about the local Israeli market, the wine maker noted an increase in taste for quality, leading to an increase in sales for her label.

"You'll be shocked to hear that the Israeli public is learning to appreciate and understand what is quality wine, they buy less 'four for a hundred (shekel wines),' for the quality and for health, we're seeing a growth in sales," said Ben-Saadon.

In light of the international boycotts, Ben-Saadon noted the importance of Israeli unity, saying it's important that "we all come together and buy specifically products from Judea and Samaria."

Unfortunately, that unity has been lacking. Yaakov Berg, CEO of Samaria-based Psagot Winery, revealed that the international boycott began in Tel Aviv.

"70% of our wines are sold in countries worldwide, and are in prestigious restaurants in Manhattan, but not here in Tel Aviv," noted Berg, warning the Tel Aviv boycotters that their discrimination against their brothers will turn on them as the world increasingly follows the trend against all of Israel.