The toast of Israel

By Mike Peters | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-05 06:42

The toast of Israel

Winemakers at Teperberg taste from barrels of a recent vintage.[Photo provided to China Daily]

"Wine is an important part of Jewish tradition, and we are very happy to see people in China now drinking more wine," says Israel's new ambassador to China, Zvi Heifetz.

There's a growing interest in traveling to Israel and exploring its cuisine, as well. Falafel and other foods can be found at restaurants like Moxi Moxi in Beijing's hutong, and recently a Tel Aviv pop-up drew capacity crowds at the Hatchery.

The embassy recently hosted two master classes and wine tastings presented by Gal-Cohen and China's Ma Huiqin, a professor at China Agricultural University who has studied at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and makes annual visits to Israel and its wineries.

Until recently, the Israeli wine scene has been dominated by a small number of sweet reds - sacramental wines made to kosher standards that had become part of Jewish religious practice. Today, almost 400 operations cover five regions, making diverse wines that have excited international critics like Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson, Gal-Cohen says. Prizes in international competitions have come with the new attention; the wines are just starting to find their way to China.

"In some countries, big wineries make lots of medium-quality wines while small boutique wineries make the really good stuff," he notes. "In Israel, it's interesting that some of the biggest winemakers produce some of the best wines."

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