The first recorded winery of modern times was Shior, set up in Jerusalem in 1848, but more significant was the Carmel winery established by Lafite Rothschild in 1882.
At the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948 there were 14 wineries with 1720 ha under vine, mainly producing for the local market. The 1980s saw a quality uplift with more appropriate (Mediterranean rather than Bordeaux or Burgundian) grape varieties and the exploitation of the cooler Golan Heights region.
This accelerated with the boutique winery boom of the 1990s, by the end of the decade although there were 30+ large scale wineries, there were a further 200 producing less than 100,000 bottles per year. Total vineyard area was then 5,500 ha. Israel has a range of varied vineyard areas, offering different soils and climatic conditions. The most important in terms of area is Galilee, followed by the Coastal Plain, Mount Carmel, the Judean Hills and finally the Negev. Modern Israeli wines are a perfect foil for Mediterranean cusine.