While global wine production has fallen to historic lows, barrels in Israel’s wineries are overflowing with a blessed harvest that fulfills prophecy in the most undeniable way.
Zachary Waller, Executive Director of HaYovel, first noticed this blessing of bounty when his organization brought Christian volunteers this summer to help with the grape harvest in Har Bracha, as it has done every season for the last twelve years. It was time to harvest but the grapes weren’t yet ripe. Waller was concerned there wouldn’t be enough work for his 200 eager volunteers.
“Before the harvest, it’s difficult to tell how many grapes there are and what condition they are in until you are actually out in the vineyards and have your hands on the vines,” Waller told Breaking Israel News. “It seemed like one week later, all the grapes ripened at once, and once we started picking, it quickly became clear there were a lot.”
Waller reported the harvest was so bountiful, the vintners did not have enough barrels to hold the wine. He explained that this was the clear realization of prophecy.
And threshing floors shall be piled with grain, And vats shall overflow with new wine and oil. Joel 2:24
Not only was the prophecy accurate regarding abundance, but, as the Prophet Joel also prophesied, the wine harvest was a source of honor to Israel.
In response to His people Hashem declared: “I will grant you the new grain, The new wine, and the new oil, and you shall have them in abundance. Nevermore will I let you be a mockery among the nations.” Joel 2:19
This season’s amazing harvest in Israel comes in a year when wine-producing countries around the world are experiencing major shortages. The International Organisation of Vine and Wine announced last month that heatwaves across Europe led to small harvests in the main producing countries. Wine production has dropped to levels rarely seen in the past half-century. American wine producers are also struggling as a result of wildfires in California.
Ayal Tzair, production manager of Golan Winery, reported that his winery was similarly blessed. Despite the winery being one of the largest producers of fine wine in Israel, it was a challenge to cope with the unexpectedly blessed harvest, he said.
“We are very careful about planning and we carefully control the quantity of the harvest. We cut back our vines, which reduces the quantity of grapes but improves the quality,” Tzair explained to Breaking Israel News. “We had carefully planned how many barrels we wanted to fill, expecting to leave about one-third empty.”
Most of its wines are processed in large stainless steel vats, but the winery has 9,500 oak barrels imported from France for their finer wines. Each barrel holds approximately 60 gallons, or enough wine to fill 600 bottles.
“By the end of the harvest, there were so many top quality grapes, we had no choice but to fill all our barrels,” Tzair said. “In my 20 years with the winery, I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Amichai Ariel has vineyards and a winery in the hills of Hebron. Though he is over 100 miles south of the Golan, the year’s unusual bounty extended to his vineyards as well.
“I certainly had a fine harvest,” Ariel told Breaking Israel News. “Every year I manage to add a few more vines. But I don’t measure blessings. Everything God sends is good, though some blessings are more pleasant than others. It is all part of a plan, and He has told us what that plan is.”
Tsair has helped the Golan winery become a multi-million dollar project, but his visions of the future of wine production are much more spiritual.
“Every morning, I read the prayers concerning the Temple service,” Tsair said. “I dream that one day I will be producing those wines that are poured out on the altar.”