Wine tourism, enotourism, and vinitourism are all words that describe the same thing – the tasting, consumption or purchase of wine, often at or near the source. However, when we talk about vineyards probably the first image in your mind is a lush green field somewhere in France and not a water-scarce desert like Jordan. But did you know that the Hashemite Kingdom does indeed have their own wineries that produce a couple local wines? Whether you’re coming to Jordan for tourism, or you’re a local, you definitely need to add sampling a glass or two of Jordan’s own red and white wine varieties to your list.
First of all, let’s talk vitis vinifera (that’s Latin for grapes). Due to the local grape varieties of Jordan being lost over time, the seeds planted aren’t exactly Jordanian by origin. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Pinot Noir are used for the Jordanian reds and Chardonnay, Muscat, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Chenin Blanc for the whites.
Now that’s enough background information, let’s get down to the best part – Where can I taste the local wine in Jordan? To summarize, there are two local brands in Jordan: JR Wines and Saint George. Keep reading to find out a bit more about each…
The first distillery and winery in Jordan, Eagle Distilleries Company, was started back in 1953 in a town called Al Zarqa and is the same winery behind today’s local brand “JR Wines“.
JR Wines Winery Tour and Tasting Room
JR Wines tours are launching their winery and vineyard tours this spring. The tours will run from April-November, and will offer guests a full day tour, with over 5 wine tastings. Pre-bookings for the tours can be done here.
In the meantime, if you want to sample JR Wines, you can, of course, buy a bottle. But for a fun experience with friends, I recommend you head over to their special wine tasting room in Amman at Abdali’s The Boulevard (map). It’s called JR The Wine Experience and for around 12 JD ($17) per person, you can sample 3 glasses of your choice of wine alongside a selection of cheeses and local bread baskets.
To book your JR wine tasting experience, visit their website.
Saint George Wines
Saint George is produced by Zumot Wineries, which was started by Omar Zumot in 1996 and is the only 100% organic vineyard in Jordan.
Saint George Wines Tasting & Vineyard Tour
Today you can readily find Zumot Winery’s Saint George brand red and white wines on the market to enjoy at home. But for an enjoyable evening out with food and plenty of wine, you can visit them at their specialty showroom called The Winemaker, located in the Jabal al Weibdeh neighborhood (map).
If you want to visit their vineyards in Mafraq (about 1.5 hours outside of Amman), they also organize tours from late April until September. The tour also includes a traditional Jordanian lunch and relaxation around their pool. Contact them here for more information.
Cheers! or better yet… “Fe Sahtak/sahtik!”