Wine Dine and Play: Jordan River Wines

Jordan River Wines

Wine of Jordan since 1953
Alcohol in Islam
Madaba, Jordan
Wine Style: Shiraz
Average Price: $
Overall Rating:  89 points
By Sean Overpeck (CFE)
**A full article and index glossary of restaurants, wines, recipes and travel for 
Wine Dine and Play are in the pages section above, or by following these links:

Château or Vineyard Owner:
Mudieb Mousa Haddad
Haddad Family

It may not be a common fact, but like the title of this article implies, alcohol is readily available in the Islamic lands of the Middle East. Do you see it like you do in Europe or the United States — no, but it is there and though the religion prohibits its consumption, it still does not stop them from drinking it. One of the main producers and distributors of this wine is Haddad Eagle Distilleries, for Jordan River Wines. They import it from other countries, and in the cases of Jordan as a whole and Lebanon, they even produce it, in and outside of the Christian areas. Amman has a lot of bars, and not all of them are inside the hotels like Dubai and other Islamic cities. Places such as Aqaba and Petra that serve tourists (or Madaba, with a prominent Christian population) also have some bars. Elsewhere though, expect to find little or no alcohol at all outside of private homes or tourist hotels.
Jordan has a long history and is not only written up in historical texts but biblical as well.  The wine was produced in this land in ancient times, as far back as the Nabateans who ruled from Petra. Several sources suggest that the wine served to Jesus during the Last Supper came from Umm Qais in Northern Jordan. Although Israeli and Lebanese wines dominate the wine industry in the region, some Jordanian wineries are producing newer organic wines, which have made them more popular with the West as sustainable farming gains more traction. The Wine Institute (USA) estimates Jordan's wine production at approximately 500,000 liters per year. Nominal per-capita consumption is 0.1 liters, but the figure is potentially misleading as little of the wine is drunk by Jordanian citizens. Quality has improved from unremarkable in the 1980s to very acceptable by 2009. When I visited in 2012, the hotel and restaurants offered these wines, and they were very nice indeed. Later I would tour the Jordan River Valley where some of these wines are grown.

Jesus Baptism Sight
Vineyards of Jordan River Wines
Lower basin of River Valley
Based on the historical evidence in Jordan, winemaking was popular back in 30 BC. This legacy was revived in 1953 when Mudieb M. Haddad founded Eagle Distilleries Company. In 1975 Italian experts collaborated with the Haddad Family to build the first “state of the art” winery in Jordan. In the year 2000, the winery was transformed to modern wine-making and in 2004 over 40 grape varieties were planted at the Haddad Estates. The vineyards are located in the Mafraq plateau area nearby the dormant volcanic mountain of Jabal Al-Arab. The water from rain and melting snow flows from the mountain under the Basalt Desert and accumulates in aquifers below the surface which is used in Dry Farming the thriving vines in the rich virgin mineral volcanic soil.


Eagle Distilleries Company was founded by the late Mudieb Mousa Haddad who was one of the early pioneer industrialists of this country. As is true of most Islamic countries, particularly those in the Middle East, Jordan produces some arak, the strong anise spirit whose name is Arabic for 'condensation'. Traditionally arak is consumed in the same way as the French anise drink of pastis: one part arak to two parts water. It is not to be confused with arrack, the distillate made from various fruits and flowers in Southeast Asia, and its taste is very similar to Uzo and Raki. Although the two share an etymology and a great deal of history, their varied ingredients make them quite different drinks.

Red wines are made using Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, and Pinot Noir. White wines are made using Chardonnay, Muscat, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Chenin Blanc. The reds are medium bodied with a deep ruby color. Releasing an intriguing aroma of violets, herbs and spice, red berry, ground pepper and currant flavors. On the palate, it is well balanced with a long sweet finish.

Greek poet Alcman drinking wine. Late 2nd-3rd century AD

The Israeli Side of the border - minefield - don't enter!!

Levantine and Jordanian Restaurants from the tour:
Bilad al-Sham and Mashriq cuisine:

Bourj Al Hamam Restaurant Levant, Jordanian, and Lebanese cuisines with a buffet in Amman, Jordan 
Café Arabesque Contemporary Middle Eastern and Levant buffet in the Hyatt Park, Dubai, UAE
Enigma Restaurant Turkish culinary journey with an eclectic European twist In Dubai, UAE
Sufra Restaurant Traditional & Authentic Jordanian Cuisine in Amman, Jordan

See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary

I refer to myself as an oenophile though, oenophilia is defined as “a disciplined devotion to wine, accompanying strict traditions of consumption and appreciation.” In a general sense, oenophilia also refers to the enjoyment of wine, often by a layman - which I am, and not qualified as a professional. I just enjoy drinking it, so my rating is based on enjoyment and the overall experience, not the science of an expert.

Overall Star Rating:
89 points
4 of 5 Stars: 
An Outstanding Tasting Experience
Wines Produced
Red: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Tempranillo 

White: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Viognier 

Other Old World wines andChâteau articles on Wine Dine and Play:

Quatrieme Cru Tasting, Margaux AOC
Cantenac, France
Wine tours and restaurants 

A Cru Bourgeois Supérieur
Cussac-Fort-Médoc, Bordeaux

A Few other New World Favorites:

Exceptional shiraz and eagle sanctuary Constantia
Heritage wines & ties to Château Lafite-Rothschild
Coldstream, Yarra Valley Australia
world-class Biodynamic Oregon wines 
Newburg, Willamette, Oregon

See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary by country

Bottle Prices 
(excluding taxes)
$£€¥ -                Under 50.00 (inexpensive)
$£€¥ x 2 -          51.00- 99.00 (moderate)
$£€¥ x 3 -          Over 100.00 (pricy)
$£€¥ x 4 -          Over 200.00 (expensive)
$£€¥ x 5 -          Over 400.00 (very expensive)
**Currencies reflect the world’s major wine countries and connoisseur’s** 

Wine Selection:
Currency rates in the top wine producing & wine purchasing countries:
Price Chart :
2010 (750 ml) Shiraz

Jordanian dinar (JOD)
United States Dollar (USD)
Australian Dollar (AUS)
Great Britain Pound Sterling (GBP)
Canadian Dollar (CAN)
Chinese Yuan (CNY)  
European Union (EUR)
New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
R 495.00
South African Rand (ZAR) 

Currency rates as of July 2017 

Business Information:

Wasfi Al-Tal Street
P.O.Box 4
Zarka 13110 Jordan

Website Contact:
+962 6 565 8500
Tasting Room hours:
Jordan Standard Time
(GMT, Zulu, or UTC - BST Offset + 2:00)
Monday - Sunday: 

3:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Social Media:

Haddad Estate Vineyards               

The worlds best restaurants is a subjective list of who is writing it and changes on a regular basis. The Wine Dine and Play best experiences are based on my highest rated stared restaurants, meaning that the visit was an outstanding or extraordinary experience. From cafés, chains, mom + pops, hole in the walls, to fine dining including a few Michelin spots. Visit the Top 100 page to see the entire list.

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Impeccably prepared French fine dining 
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Other Pictures:

“I like cooking with wine; sometimes I even add it to the food.”


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