Israel seeks to become wine tourism destination

Among the initiatives is a 150-acre Wine Park in Zichron Yaacov.

It works in Tuscany, Burgundy, Bordeaux, and the Rhone Valley, which draw tens of thousands of tourists, while the vintners of Napa and Sonoma Valley host guests as much as they produce wine. Israel, too, wants to become a wine tourist destination.

Zichron Yaacov and Binyamina are formulating a plan to create agricultural tourism with the aim of developing and marketing the area's wine culture. The Israel Land Administration (ILA) and the Zichron Yaacov Local Council have begun construction of a 150-acre Wine Park among the vineyards and wineries on the southeastern slopes of the town. The project combines tourism and recreation with the vintners and residences that are steeped in the wine tradition of the area from its beginning.

Carmel Winery, Binyamina Wines, Tishbi Estate Winery, and a number of boutique wineries are located in the area. Nevertheless, a perusal of international tourism websites found that they mention the area in connection with many topics, of which wine is only one. The Wine Park is intended to change this.

Each business unit at the Wine Park will have a number of complementary functions of a winery with a restaurant, cafe, and bed and breakfast. The parks' green heart will be surrounded by model vineyards. The Wine Park is not an isolated venture. The local council is also planning a site for agricultural tourism in Binyamina.

Tishbi is building a new visitors center at a cost of $1 million. The center will include a professional wine tasting center, restaurant, bakery, and genuine brandy distillery purchased in Cognac, France. The Tishbi family predicts that the new center will double the number of visitors from the current 20,000 a year.

However, until Israel becomes an unmissable destination for wine lovers, it is just providing a taste of the idea.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 17, 2008

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2008

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