As many of you know, I’m into wine. Especially Israeli wine. A little bit over a year ago, I started following a blog put out by a guy in Chicago named Richard Shaffer. (Richard’s blog can be seen here at israeliwineblog.com.)
Like a bunch of other blogs, Richard was writing about Israeli wine, but Richard was different; he had a plan. Instead of just talking about Israeli wine, Richard Shaffer was on a mission to introduce the world to quality Israeli wine via a start-up project called Israeli Wine Direct, an online retailer that would import small-production wine from Israeli boutique wineries and make it available to Americans over the internet.
A year has passed, and I’m thrilled to say that Richard’s project has come to be. He has brought wine from 10 small producers in Israel into America (2 kosher, 7 non-kosher, and one kosher beginning with the 2007 vintage) and has begun selling them through his website. He has also been running events all over the place and introducing the world to quality Israeli wine. Some of the wines are even beginning to make their way onto wine lists.
Yesterday, Gary Vaynerchuk, a wine retailer from Springfield, NJ who has converted his dad’s small liquor shop into a $50 million a year business working out of a 40,000 square foot store, featured four of Richard’s wines on his daily wine vlog, Wine Library TV. Gary couldn’t get over how well-made the Israeli wines were. He loved all four wines to the point that he said that this may be the best show he’s done on Wine Library TV in his 512 episodes. The video is posted below.
It’s great to see Israeli wine getting good press. As Richard says, with all the bad press that Israel gets, when people get excited about the Israeli wine scene, they’ll begin to experience the real Israel. Great work, Richard!