Award-winning Golan Heights Winery vintages to be marketed by a Dubai-based importer.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
Wine connoisseurs in the Gulf will soon be able to enjoy a bottle of Israeli wine after a major importer in Dubai signed an agreement with the Golan Heights Winery, the UAE-Israel Business Council tweeted this week.
Dubai-based African & Eastern inked the deal, adding to its list of brands that are sold in the United Arab Emirates and Oman, the Jewish Press reported.
The winery is located in the town of Katzrin in the Golan Heights, the area captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War. Earlier this year, the United States formally recognized Israeli sovereignty over this strategic plateau.
“It is noteworthy that Golan Heights winery (which by the way, makes fantastic red wine) is located in territory Israel re-claimed from Syria, and which much of int’l community deems occupied and is target of BDS’ers. So, is major coup to be sold in UAE,” tweeted human rights lawyer and activist Arsen Ostrovsky.
African & Eastern will market several of the different leading labels produced by the winery including Yarden, Gamla, and Mount Hermon.
The Golan Heights Winery has won numerous awards over the years at prestigious festivals and wine shows including in France, Italy and the Czech Republic.
Before the signing of the historic Abraham Accords that normalized relations between Israel and the UAE, Israeli wines had been banned.
“The distribution agreement with A&E is a particularly exciting historical moment for the Israeli wine industry and us in particular,” said Golan CEO Yair Shapira in a press release. “We will represent the wine industry to the residents of Dubai and its guests. This is a breakthrough and entry into a new market with unique potential.”
African and Eastern CEO Jason Dixon, a British ex-pat who relocated to Dubai, said his company recognized the Golan winery as “one of the leading and most decorated wineries in Israel.”
“We are excited to bring for the first time to our customers in the UAE the unique wines of this winery. This is a historic launch, and we look forward to a successful and long-lasting collaboration,” Dixon.
African and Eastern says it imports over 4,000 different beers, wines, spirits and champagnes from more than 40 countries. The importer has 17 retail stores in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman, where sales of alcoholic beverages are permitted, as opposed to neighboring Saudi Arabia, which maintains a total ban.