By Anna Harwood
The Golan Heights Winery, which produces, markets, and exports premium wines worldwide, has been selected to be the first Israeli winery to be marketed to Vietnam. As part of a new commercial initiative from Israel’s Ministry of Economy, the winery has begun to introduce Vietnam to Israel’s flourishing wine industry.
In recent years, Asia has seen an expansion of its wine culture. Within Southeast Asia, Vietnam has one of the highest wine consumptions per capita. While the country has witnessed an impressive development of wine culture over the last century, there is very little internal wine production, due to unfavorable climatic conditions for vine growing. Vietnam has now become a prominent wine importer, and wines from as far afield as Chile, France, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand are all readily available.
Einat HaLevi-Levine, director of new export industries from Israel’s Ministry of Economy in Vietnam has spearheaded the campaign to expose Vietnam to Israeli wine. After beginning with a wine tasting in Hanoi in 2012, this year a series of wine marketing events were held around Vietnam. Reciprocal visits from Vietnamese wine import professionals were also received in Israel when they attended the Golan Heights Winery’s 30th year celebrations. Following the visit, the winery signed a distribution agreement with a Vietnamese distributor, heralding the next stage in this exciting endeavor.
As November drew to a close, an agricultural cooperation agreement was signed in Vietnam by Israeli Minister of Agriculture Yair Shamir, and Vietnamese Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Cao Duc Phat. The agreement was signed at a dinner party hosted by the Israeli Ministry, culminating with a l’chaim over a glass of the newly imported Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon.
“The Asian market is one of the most interesting and challenging markets for the wine industry,” explained Anat Levi, CEO of the Golan Heights Winery. “The growth in consumption of quality wines here is among the highest in the world, and Vietnam now joins the other Asian countries that we export to including Japan and China.”
“We are very proud to lead the process and see the entrance of the Golan Heights Winery to Vietnam,” added HaLevi-Levine. “This achievement signifies an Israeli breakthrough to Vietnam, an accomplishment that should not be taken for granted in this country of nearly 100 million people.” HaLevi-Levine sees the entry of the Israeli wine industry to Vietnam as a significant strengthening of bilateral trade and also of Israel’s positive “brand” in Vietnam. v