Monday, September 24, 2012

Samarian Vineyards and Tourism

Excerpts from this story:-

Living without solutions in Samaria

SAMARIA - I am in Samaria, the northern half of the West Bank, inside a cement shed in a drab industrial park loaded with high-tech equipment, hearing a harangue by a fiftyish fellow wearing a knit skullcap , a torn t-shirt, shorts and sandals. His name is Amichai Lourie...His specialty is Merlot.

"It's an unforgiving grape. With Cabernet, you can make a mistake or two and still get a decent wine, but Merlot requires perfection from harvest to fermenting to aging." Anything easier wouldn't interest the Pennsylvania-born vintner, who won't be deprived of the chance to be part of a miracle.

Wine might seem a distraction as the Oslo accords disintegrate...Wine has geopolitical significance on the West Bank. Samaria's wine boutiques help explain why the Jewish presence in ancient Judea and Samaria has become a permanent fact of life in the region. Like Mr Lourie, the winemakers of Samaria are on a mission from God. The region is in ferment, but not the way you might think.

When the first settlers reclaimed the wasteland in what now is known as the West Bank late in the 19th century, they wondered whether grapes had ever grown in the region...

Lourie's Shiloh winery took the top prizes at Israel's main wine competition, but he's one of several settler-vintners who set out to turn what the international media call the Occupied West Bank into Israel's Napa Valley. Next door to his winery, ancient Israel kept the Ark of the Covenant for the 400 years preceding King David's conquest of Jerusalem in BCE 1000...Ten minutes from Shiloh is the Psagot Winery...

There are lots of ways to expel armies, but no-one has yet discovered a way to keep away tourists. Samaria attracted a trickle of 40,000 tourists last year, and except for the Psagot facility, there were few places for them to spend money. The mix of biblical history and high-end winemaking, though, might prove irresistible. Shiloh, ancient Israel's capital during the four centuries before David's conquest of Jerusalem, will have its first multimedia visitor's center next year. In a year or two, some of the wineries will have Napa-style restaurants. One can almost hear the distant thunder of tour buses roaring up Route 60...

...The national-religious contingent has a love affair with the land and a deep sense of its sanctity. They put the same passion into cultivation, with striking results. The best Samaria wines have more in common with great European wines than with the consistent, pleasant products of California: they have a unique terroir, or earthiness, the idiosyncratic complexity that comes from a special combination of soil and climate. The vintners want the biblical earth to bear witness to its special blessing. That's what keeps Shiloh's Lourie up all night in the vineyards during harvest.

From the back yard of her hilltop home in Eli, Sara Klein points to green vineyards below the hill of Shiloh. "That's where the girls danced in the vineyards at harvest time," she says, citing Judges 21. The Bible reports winemaking two and a half millennia ago...

...Few Israelis still think that conceding territory to the Palestinians will bring peace. Even those who favor land for peace are inclined to argue that less peace merits less land...

..."We have to focus on economics," Ms Klein states, and the greatest potential is in tourism. This is the biblical heartland, just half an hour by bus from Jerusalem. It is arresting hill country, with historic associations at every turn in the road. The Christian pilgrims who pack Jerusalem to walk the Via Dolorosa well might take an afternoon on the Road of the Patriarchs, with a wine-tasting from biblical vineyards. For someone who takes Hebrew Scripture in earnest, like this writer, the mixture of taste, sight and memory is heady stuff.

...What about all the people who are looking to the settlements for a solution to the world's problems?, I asked Ms Klein. "Sometimes you have to live without a solution," she replies. In a way, the settlers are a last redoubt of realism. The local situation is hopeless, but not serious, and the region's future belongs to those who dig in and get on with life.



Pesxa said...

Good to good quality. Wine drinks that offer you good quality, many good taste and usually excellent typicity sauvignon blanc at this site

iffatali said...

All roads indeed lead to Rome, but theirs also is a more mystical destination, some bourne of which no traveller knows the name, some city, they all seem to hint, even more eternal.
Flights to islamabad
Cheap Flights to islamabad
Cheap Air Tickets to islamabad