“Wine tasting in Jordan?”
Perhaps this would be one’s initial response given that Jordan is a predominantly Muslim country. However, if you think about it a little further, remember that a certain someone was reported to have turned water into wine not so far from here. In fact, Jordan has an entirely decent wine growing climate, if one knows how to work with the low water conditions. Most of the vineyards are located in the fertile growing area around Madaba, a city flush with deep history.
Wine tasting is available in many venues in Jordan, from the vineyards themselves to tasting rooms in Amman to restaurants in Madaba. If you’d like to go it alone; Haret Jdoudna Restaurant (http://www.haretjdoudna.com/) may be the location for you. Haret Jdoudna is a highly regarded restaurant – #1 by Trip Advisor – in the heart of Madaba. You can enjoy wine tasting and dinner service in a beautiful enclosed courtyard in this historic building, which was once the home to the mayor of Madaba. Many other restaurants in Madaba also serve the local wines. It’s an easy city to meander by foot until you find the place most suitable for you.
In Amman, the place to go is The Winemaker, a boutique wine tasting venue in Wadi Saqra that carries the international award-winning St. George wines. They have a variety of scheduled events, including vineyard tours and interactive courses on wine appreciation and tasting through the Zumot Wine Academy. You can keep tabs on these events by joining their Wine Club (http://www.zumot-wines.com/wineClub.php). The pinnacle of events, at 75JD per ticket, are high-end affairs that involve a gourmet dinner prepared by an expert chef with the appropriate wine pairings.
The winemaker himself is Oscar Zumot, who pioneered the modern era of winemaking in Jordan. He has created vineyards in three locations in Jordan – all certified organic – by using grape vines imported from Europe. His vineyard in Sama, toward the northern Jordanian border near Syria, provides grapes with a unique flavor influenced by the clay, limestone and basalt soil of the area. Mr. Zumot’s pursuit is his passion. Currently the wine he produces is on a small scale and is mostly consumed within Jordan so it is not a large business venture. His goal is to put Jordan on the map of international wine regions and he is definitely well on his way!
Other options in Amman include many of the upscale hotels. Also, the restaurants, Romero and Fakhr el-Din, have notable wine lists.
For a get-away wine pairing experience – at a relaxing hot springs resort - head out of Amman to Six Senses’ Evason Ma’in Resort above the Dead Sea. Their wine bar, aptly named The Cellar, offers wine and cheese tastings and a wine pairings menu. Their selection is international, but not to worry; the Cellar’s own sommelier is there to guide you.
If you’re going:
Haret Jdouna is well-known and is in the center of Madaba. All the hotels in the city will be able to give you directions to the restaurant.
The Winemaker – Call or email ahead to find out about events. If you’d just like to stop by to pick up a bottle of wine, The Winemaker is just down the road from Zara Center in Wadi Saqra.