There’s a big push in wine circles for autochthonous grape varieties and this wine, called marawi, is the
first produced in Israel. An oenologist at Ariel University in the occupied West Bank has traced marawi, also called hamdani, and jandali grapes to 220 AD.
Archeological finds in Israel and the West Bank, such as wine presses, date to biblical times. And although wine is forbidden in the Muslim areas, there are Palestinian farmers who sell their grapes clandestinely to Israeli winemakers.
Today there are 350 wineries in Israel producing 65 million bottles yearly. But the industry is trying to distinguish itself with unique grape varieties, much like malbec has done for Argentina or carmenere for Chile or tannat for Uruguay. And they are on to something: researchers have identified 70 distinct varieties based on burned and dried seeds found at the various archeological digs.
If they succeed, add that to the list of ‘new’ and indigenous wines waiting for wine lovers to try.