My first introduction to Wine Basics and Beyond

I believe in fate and it’s true that we always meet the right people at the right time. I moved to Israel three months ago with only the intent to know more about this fabulous country and what prospects there were for living here. And one of the best ways to experience a new place is the insight you can receive through tasting the national food and drinks. My experience attests for that, for sure. Here I’m working with David Rhodes, who is a sommelier and wine writer best known as the “Israeli wine guy”, and he opened for me a really engaging world of Israeli beverages, especially wines. So it was my good fortune, when David decided to start his private wine classes and I could become a part of them.

My first introduction to David’s classes was his Wine Basics and Beyond. Not only did I enjoy it , I found that it was a rewarding event and full of surprises like the opening of a 20 year old Merlot or a delicious dinner afterwards at the Claro restaurant nearby. I appreciated the atmosphere where there were only wine lovers from all over the world, all well -traveled with various levels of education on the subject but all with a heightened level of curiosity. It’s so exciting when you can join a group of people who’re absolutely intrigued by the same common topic and they can discuss their particular experiences for long hours. It’s very inspiring after such meetings to want to polish your skills, and work your fingers to the bone to come out on top one day. Furthering my education in wine lends itself to my career goals of organizing events and working in the hospitality industry.

But let’s talk more about the wine class experience. David chose one of the best wine bars in Tel Aviv that’s called The Tasting Room.  It’s a nice place to learn more about Israeli wines because they offer 40 different wines that you can taste from special machines that keep open bottles fresh for weeks instead of just for days. We had two flights of wine that were picked especially for this event. The first flight started with a  2008 Yarden Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine from the Golan Heights. It was followed by a 2013 Midbar Unoaked Chardonnay from the Negev finishing with a 2013 Binyamina Semi-Dry Gewurztraminer from the Galilee. These white wines were served with an amazing variety of local Israeli gourmet cheeses and freshly baked artisanal bread.  The second flight consisted of 2013 Lueria Rose from the Galilee, 2011 Ella Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from the Judean Foothills and as a dessert bottle of 2011 Binyamina Gewurztraminer from the Galilee we tried with different kinds of salami and sausages with mustard, which was quite a treat for me. The class was tailored for internationals living and visiting Israel featuring wines from different regions of Israel and different styles instead of imported wines which Israelis might find more enticing.

David told us a lot of exciting facts about wine tasting including what was important to focus on and what was more for showing off to impress friends. Also we listened to a short talk by Roni Saslove, who manages the Tasting Room, about what contributes to making wine good from what happens in the vineyard and what happens at the winery. She shared with us her experience of working in her family’s boutique winery where she participated in 17 vintages before coming over the Tasting Room in Tel Aviv’s historic Sarona complex.

I really enjoyed the dialog that David had with me and the other students. He didn’t just talk at us for three hours he talked with us so instead of just learning what David wanted to teach us, we also learned the answers to specific questions we wanted to ask. His interaction with the students allowed them to share their experiences which can remind you that in some of the best classes you can learn as much intriguing information from unexpected questions or student participation as from the instructor’s lesson plan. Now I can’t wait until our next class, because I believe that self-development is the main investment in building a successful future.

David Rhodes can be reached at or 053-432-9463


About the Author
Valeria is a young and persistent Ukrainian girl who believes that happy communities can't exist without tasty food.
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