Wine-washing: colonization, normalization, and the geopolitics of terroir in the West Bank's settlements

Ariel Handel, Galit Rand, Marco Allegra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Terroir describes a set of special characteristics of a given place—geography, geology, climate, and human agricultural traditions—that incarnates in the unique taste of its products, usually wine. In contrast to modern perceptions of territory as an abstract legal–political entity, terroir invokes images of organic relations between people and a specific land with a unique ‘character’. The paper will analyze the evolving discourse in the West Bank settlements in recent years, which shifts the emphasis from biblical history, ideology, and security—to tourism, vineries, and terroir. The argument will be that the usage of sophisticated wine language enables normalization of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank in a paradoxical way that is emphasizing their location and blurring it at the same time. While the concept of normalization is usually applied to the ‘quality-oflife’ urban settlements, our paper concentrates on the small and ‘ideological’ settlements, which are located in the densest Palestinian regions. By that, we wish to contribute to the growing research body on the West Bank settlements, as well as to the fields of geopolitics, colonial and postcolonial studies, and cultural geography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1351-1367
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number6
StatePublished - 7 Jun 2015


  • Golan Heights
  • West Bank
  • colonialism
  • geopolitics
  • terroir

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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