New York…by Zechariah Mehler…Quality wines are so much a part of the culture and history of France that it is automatically given the edge when it comes to winemaking. Yet, of late Israeli wineries have fared extremely well in international competitions even against the best French wines, and yes Israel with its rich tradition in general has a long history in winemaking. A good example is the Psagot Winery, which is located in the Judean Hills just north of Jerusalem overlooking the Edom Mountains to the east. This area was once the home of hundreds of ancient wineries whose remnant can still be seen today. Psagot’s wine cellar is an ancient cave used for winemaking that dates back to the time of the second temple. In this wine cellar Psagot ages enough wine to produce about 80,000 bottles a year. Their signature wine is called Edom and it is made from a collection of the various grapes at the wineries. Smooth and rewarding Edom is rich with the flavor of berries, vanilla and oriental spices. “The flavor comes from the mountains surrounding Jerusalem”, says Yaakov Berg, one of Psagot’s owners. “The soil is very rocky and in order to plant we need to drill into the rocks. Because of this the grapes receive a lot of minerals from the soil that add to the overall taste of the wine”. With eight different wines, Psagot Winery is primed to become one of the premier labels in Kosher wine.