Message in a Bottle

Extracts from Menny Peer's speech to the wine industry in Rogov's honor.

"Although we keep trying, it is impossible to imitate you. No one can follow in your footsteps. But we are here this evening to tell you thank you for leading the way. I remember I once asked you what the best thing was that you had drunk in your life. You said it wasn't a wine but rather an Armagnac. You even revealed what it was called and where you drank it. In Monte Carlo. You also named the place that sold it. When I asked you what year it was, you said, "Oh, not that." Why? Because it was an Armagnac from the year you were born. So I looked into it and I found out. They've had that Armagnac in Monte Carlo since 1895. So now we know he was born after 1895.

"'The day my doctor tells me to stop drinking, I will change my doctor,' you've said. I asked you, 'You taste 7,000 wines a year, when will you stop working?' You replied: 'I will stop working a week after my death. I wish to be buried with a laptop computer, a few sandwiches, cigarettes and seven bottles of wine.'

"Listen, Daniel Rogov, we owe you a lot. All the wine columns, they were born in this country after you came only to create a fruitful and inspiring dialectic. What is wine worth if it is impossible to debate about it? And it is more than symbolic that you arrived in Israel on Christmas Eve, 1976. That was the year Freddie Stiller fermented the first good red wine made in Israel - Carmel's 1976 Special Reserve. That was also the year they started planting vineyards on the Golan Heights and, as you always said, 'The rest is history.'

"And we, in the name of the modern history of Israeli wine, say thank you very much, Daniel Rogov."