It was standing room only at the Royal Automobile Club on Pall Mall in its stunning Committee Room as the Anglo-Israel Association (AIA) hosted an Israeli wine tasting reception last Wednesday with AIA supporters, featuring four prestigious Israeli wineries, and 15 premium wines. Israeli Ambassador H.E. Tzipi Hotovely praised the AIA’s activities to the packed crowd, including His Majesty’s Ambassador-Designate to Israel Simon Walters, Lord Ian Austin, Lord and Lady Palmer of Childs Hill, Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, and MPs Andrew Gwynne, Tim Loughton, Damien Moore, Mark Pritchard, Nicola Richards, and Sharon Hodgson.
Bruce Streather from the AIA welcomed the guests and introduced the speakers. “The Anglo-Israel Association has done remarkably well rebuilding activities after COVID,” noted Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely. “The scope of what you do is truly impressive and incredibly impactful,” and declared that “the State of Israel is grateful for your tireless efforts in deepening the ties between the UK and Israel and for improving people’s understanding of our nation.”
Ambassador Hotovely tweeted after the event that she “was thrilled to raise a glass to the @AngloIsraelAssn at their Israeli wine tasting reception” and “thanked them for the great work they’ve done building bridges between the UK & Israel since our nation’s founding 75 years ago.”
The AIA CEO Josh London said, “We decided that celebrating Israel 75 with Israeli wine would make for a fun change of pace, as the story of Israeli wine, in many ways, parallels the history of Israel itself, and it is an amazing success story.”
Attendees tasted a selection of wine from grapes grown across Israel and had the opportunity to meet and mingle with representatives from Carmel, Matar, Razi’el, and Yatir, wineries, with the support of Kedem Europe, the largest kosher and Israeli wine importer and distributor in the UK.
Eli Ben-Zaken, founder and winemaker of the family-run Razi’el and Domaine du Castel wineries, was on hand to lead guests through two of his Razi’el wines, the superb red and the beautiful rosé, both blends of hand-picked Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Carignan grapes grown in the Judean Hills around Jerusalem.
Representing both Carmel and Yatir, the indefatigable Etti Edri highlighted the diversity of wine growing terroir in Israel, showcasing nine different wines, including the Carmel Mediterranean—a delicious red blend of Carignan, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah and Malbec—which was awarded a Gold Medal and 95 points in the 2023 Decanter World Wine Awards.
From the Golan Heights based Matar and Pelter wineries, CEO Gal Yaniv guided tasters through four of his wines, including his invigorating yet elegant Stratus made entirely from Shiraz grapes cultivated and hand-picked in the Galilee. As an added treat, in the final hour of the reception Gal poured his gin and a single malt whisky from the boutique distillery he founded at his Pelter winery.
Josh London remarked, “Israel’s flourishing wine scene and its renaissance in some ways mirrors British wine producers, making a great splash internationally. The UK and Israeli wine growing conditions are worlds apart, of course, but the determination, resilience, love of the land, and exceptional craftsmanship translates very well across both cultures. Introducing Israel’s most distinctive Eastern Mediterranean wines to a refined, appreciative audience and providing a platform for the Israeli wineries and their wines to speak for themselves, is a terrific gateway for learning more about Israel. Extolling Israeli wine is a very fitting way to toast Israel 75.”
The Anglo-Israel Association is a registered UK charity, No. 313523, that promotes education and information about Israel with active support from people of different faiths, and none, across the political spectrum.