Amid mounting calls in Europe to label and boycott Israeli goods, one winery isn’t shying away from its identity.
Bazelet Hagolan, a boutique winery in the Golan Heights, recently unveiled new labeling for its bottles for export. All now proudly boast an Israeli flag.
“I’m proud of this flag, and I’m Israeli and I’m not ashamed,” said winery owner Yoav Levy, calling on other Israeli wineries to follow suit.
He said the idea came to him to put the national flag on the bottle after seeing that wines from other countries also sported flags.
While for most wineries this is merely a matter of national pride, for an Israeli winery, the move comes across as quite political.
European officials have called for labeling Israeli products made in the West Bank as well as the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, all of which they consider to be occupied territory.
Earlier this month, the European Parliament called for putting special labels on consumer goods produced in these locations, as well as “differentiating” between the EU’s attitude toward Israel and the settlements. Meanwhile, discussions in the EU’s executive body, the European Commission, on the matter are in their final stage.
Levy’s winery manufactures 80,000 bottles a year, of which 20% is exported to North America and Europe. The wines are sold in stores that appeal to the public at large, not only kosher markets.
Bottles with the new labels can already be found on store shelves.
Levy says that when he initially proposed the new labels, others warned him against it, fearing that it would make his wine a target for boycotts. But that hasn’t happened so far, he said, noting that boycott proponents wouldn’t be buying his products anyway.
“I’ve received tons and tons of responses, all positive,” he said adding that the winery has only seen an upside from the move.
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