It all began with a blackberry bush…

In the Rozenberg’s backyard there was a blackberry bush that bore so much fruit that they could not use it quick enough. After getting tired of berry cakes and berry ice-cream, Shraga took a friend’s suggestion to try his hand at blackberry wine. Always up for a challenge, Shraga took off with the idea. At first, he made berry wine, but the next year he decided to expand his horizons and make wine from grapes. There were late night family grape harvesting expeditions to Tel Arad.

In those years, the yield was small, but slowly, Shraga’s hobby grew and began to take over the Rozenberg home. At first, the family protested – (after all, there were large wooden barrels in the center of the living room…) But Shraga’s dream was unstoppable.  

In 1995, they decided to aim to produce more wine and to devoted more time to it. That year the “winery” produced around 5,000 bottles of wine. Shraga’s dream was now very much a reality.

In the years that followed, Shraga resigned from his job of 20 years as a director of a retirement residence, and Tamar left her position as an engineer. Together they devoted themselves completely to the growing Winery.

Shraga planted vineyards of the slopes of the settlement of Efrat. They drew up the plans for a winery at the Gush Etzion Junction. In 2005, a new boutique winery was inaugurated – The Gush Etzion Winery.

It all began with a blessing…

3500 years ago, on his deathbed, the Patriarch Jacob blessed each of his sons. Upon his son Judah he conferred the blessing that he “…will wash his robe in wine, and his clothing in the blood of grapes. His eyes will be darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.”  A significant part of Judah’s legacy was an abundance of grapes in his tribe’s borders. 

The realization of this blessing is apparent to anyone who strolls through the region of Judea today.  Hundreds of remnants of vineyards, wine presses, and ancient terraces bear witness to a flourishing wine industry at the period of the First Temple until Byzantine times. But, since then, for nearly two thousand years, no grapes were planted in Gush Etzion or even the entire Judea. It could be because there weren’t Jewish communities in the area or because of the Islamic ban on wine, but either way, until our story began in 1995, there were only 5 dunams of grapes in Gush Etzion.

2000 years gone by, the blessing conferred by Jacob on Judah still stands, as if it awaited our returnת  the blessing is fulfilled as it springs forth from the ground,.

 At the beginning of the family winemaking process, the grapes were harvested at Ramat Arad. However, in the 1990s Shraga realized that the terroir of Gush Etzion is ideal for grapes, and that it is absurd to descend 500 meters in altitude to harvest grapes. At first, Shraga planted vineyards in the slopes of the Nahal HaPirim (” Spring River”) near Efrat and in the area of Abu Kalab.

In the end of the 1990s the neighboring kibbutzim came aboard and they too started to plant vineyards in the area together with the Rozenbergs.  Together they renewed the grape growing culture, that was so characteristic of the region in ancient history. Today, there are over 800 dunams of vineyards throughout Gush Etzion, and at its center proudly stands the Gush Etzion Winery under the management of Shraga Rozenberg.

We are proud that the story which started with Jacob’s blessing and that continued with the blackberry bush which turned into the Winery in the heart of Gush Etzion. We are honoured to showcase the fine terroir at the heights of the Judean mountains.

The Gush Etzion Winery embodies the renewed winemaking tradition and glorious Jewish agriculture that was in the area for hundreds of years, and aims to establish Gush Etzion as a leading region in the world of wine production. 

With the establishment of the Winery, Shraga and Tamar o.b.m. decided to build a tourist center beside it. Today, this includes a dairy and fish restaurant, an event garden, a tourist vineyard, and a gift shop with wine and delicacies. The Visitor’s Center has daily wine tours and tastings as well as an archeological garden that teaches about ancient wine making and it shows the great similarity between the traditional wine making process and its parallel of the modern process.

Shraga, along with his son, Assaf, are present at the Winery daily making sure that the experience is as exciting as ever.