Water Shortage Boosts Israeli Wine Production

tzuba-wine grapes israel photoNestled into the Jerusalem Hills, Kibbutz Tzuba has decided to scrap its apple orchards and grow more grapes to save on water during the current crisis.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Tzuba once grew kiwis that guzzled an outrageous 1,000 cubic meters of water per dunam (dunam=1/4 acre). Then the farm switched to apples, which take 750, and has finally settled on grapes, which sip a modest 200 cubic meters. The new vineyards will spread over 145 dunams and will expand Tzuba’s already strong wine lineup with eight new varieties.

For some background, read Green Prophet stories on the dire regional water shortage and efforts to cope in Israel, Syria, and the Palestinian Authority.

Tzuba’s story is a gradual reality check that speaks for the larger picture of Israeli farms. The kiwi growing era is an emblem for when the country’s water managers built massive projects to irrigate fields in the Negev, growing fruit that was more suited to Ecuador than to the arid Middle East. Over time, Israel has realized there are limits to human intervention. Tzuba’s newest crop has been grown in the Middle East for thousands of years and unsurprisingly makes the fewest demands. If necessary, grapes can also be grown without water. Tzuba’s wine is a deeper level of locally grown.

Image credit: Jerusalem Post

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6 thoughts on “Water Shortage Boosts Israeli Wine Production”

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  2. Dan says:

    I visited Tzuba winery in august of 2008 and was really impressed with their wines. Its great that they can make the same or more money from grapes as they do with apples. Its especially awsome that their wines are fantastic. There is a tremendous amount of info about tzuba on mykerem.com if you are interested.

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