Israel’s reputation as a producer of fine wines is growing, and took a leap forward in the Southeast with the announcement that United Distributors, one of Atlanta’s largest privately held companies and Georgia’s largest beverage alcohol distributor, is distributingTeperberg wines from the Judean hills near Jerusalem. Founded commercially in 1870, Teperberg is a six-generation family operation producing 7 million bottles a year with exports to the UK, Canada, France, Australia, and the US. The wines are currently available at the Wine Shop at Parkaire, and are expected to be available soon at Tower, Green’s, Pop’s, Pearson’s, and Toco Giant in the metro Atlanta area. United already distributes several varieties from the Golan Heights Winery in Alabama.
The relationship between the two companies was forged a year ago when Michael Venezia, United’s corporate director of education, participated in a wine tour of Israel as a guest of the Government of Israel Economic Mission in Houston and through the invitation of theAmerican-Israel Chamber of Commerce, SE Region. A 30-year veteran of the beverage alcohol industry specializing in the fine wine segment, he is nationally known for his expertise to industry professionals, interested consumers, and media outlets featuring editorial comments in the culinary field, and is called upon frequently to host wine dinners in Atlanta’s finest restaurant, private clubs, resorts and other venues specializing in food and wine related activities.
During the weeklong trip in February 2010, Venezia and other top wine experts from the Far East, Europe, and United States toured and met with about 40 Israeli wineries throughout the country and at the IsraelWineExpo event in Tel Aviv where the visiting oenophiles were based. They were impressed with the diversity of the country where “New world wines from an old world place are making a name through the passion and commitment of an impressive group of 30 to 40 year olds. It was an amazing experience, and you certainly don’t need to be Jewish to enjoy these fine wines!” Venezia said.