Gvaot Wine from Samaria
Gvaot Wine from SamariaPhoto Credit: Josh Hasten

A winemaker from the Shromron (Samaria) region says that Chardonnay, the famous French wine, is actually from Israel.

Eve Harow was one of the tour guides on last week's One Israel Fund solidarity mission. The trip visited ancient and modern areas in Judea and Samaria. One of those places was Gvaot Winery co-founded by Dr. Shivi Drori of Shiloh in the Samaria region. Harow said that Dr. Drori corroborated information about the origins of Chardonnay. Other area winemakers have told the story as well. Harow was interviewed by Josh Hasten on Israel National Radio's Reality Bytes podcast.

For the full coverage of the trip click here.

"The grapes used to make Chardonnay are actually grapes that the French Crusaders brought back from here," Harow stated. She said that Israeli wine experts have been explaining that the word Chardonnay actually comes from two Hebrew words meaning "gate of G-d."

"We tasted the award-winning wines, but there's something much more then the quality," Harow commented. "We saw the ancient wine presses and the some 2,000 little huts that were found in the regions of Ephraim and Menashe. As good as the wine was its so much more," she said. Further evidence that most French wines are named after the region from where the grapes grow, such as Burgundy and Bordeaux, however there is no such region called Chardonnay in France.

According to Israeli tour guide Joel Haber, writing on his popular Fun Joel's Israel blog, "When the Crusaders came to Israel, they wanted to bring a piece of the Holy Land back home with them, and knew of the famed grapes of Israel. So they brought some of them back to France and named them for the land itself."

There is also evidence that the grapes used in Chardonnay grow better in Israel because they are indigenous to the land.

An article on Wikipedia quotes Vines, Grapes & Wines: The Wine Drinker's Guide to Grape Varieties by Jancis Robinson states that there is a belief that grapes were brought from the Middle East by the Crusades.

For the full coverage of the Samaria trip and winery visit click here.

Public relations expert Josh Hasten hosts Reality Bytes live every Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00 am - 12:00 noon Israel time on Arutz Sheva - Israel National Radio. For mp3 archives click here.

For more information on the Samaria regions award winning wines read the following articles:

* Lush Vineyards Produce Tourist Heaven in Gush Etzion
* Gush Etzion Wine Wins Gold Medal