The Jerusalem Vineyard Winery has recently opened a Tasting Room & Visitors’ Center at the historic Montefiore Windmill in the heart of Jerusalem. It must be one of the most unique, innovative wine venues in Israel.
The Montefiore Windmill was founded by Sir Moses Montefiore in 1857. It remains a famous landmark of Jerusalem. It was built on the first land purchased outside the Old City Walls of Jerusalem by Montefiore in 1855 and it was to become the cornerstone of modern Jerusalem. Originally named Kerem Moshe (Moses Vineyard), the area was later renamed Mishkenot Sha’ananim (in 1860) and Yemin Moshe (in 1892).
To commemorate the new Tasting Room, the Jerusalem VW has produced a limited edition, handcrafted range of wines under the label ‘Montefiore Windmill’. The Montefiore Windmill Wines include six varietals and a flagship blend. There is an entry level Sauvignon Blanc and a Malbec. Then there are four reserve wines: a Chardonnay, Shiraz, Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon. Finally there is a prestige Bordeaux style blend called Yemin Moshe. These are produced in tiny quantities, from the finest vineyards in the Judean Hills. Each bottle is numbered and the winemaker, Sam Soroka, has signed the front label. The wines are apparently already in demand by wine collectors, wine lovers and connoisseurs.
Jerusalem Vineyard Winery is Israel’s last surviving winery in Jerusalem. It was originally named Shimshon Winery and was founded in 1951 by Yona Mendelsohn in partnership with the Shor family, which he married in to. His wife was Tzipora Shor. The Shors were founders of their family winery in 1848 in the Old City of Jerusalem. Shimshon Winery moved to Atarot in 1976 and in 2006 it was purchased by entrepreneur and businessman, Ofer Guetta. Its name was changed to Jerusalem Wineries, and it is now known as Jerusalem Vineyard Winery.
Jerusalem Vineyard Winery produces 3 million bottles a year of table wine, kiddush wine and grape juice. In terms of the harvesting wine grapes, it is the seventh largest winery in Israel. Previously known for more simple wines, Guetta has instituted a quality revolution. He brought in the dynamic Erez Winner to be the CEO. Colonel (Ret.) Erez Winner was previously the Assistant to the Chief of Staff of the IDF (Israel Defence Forces.)
Then Canadian born Sam Soroka was employed as winemaker in 2015. Soroka is one of the most experienced winemakers in Israel, having made wine in no less than five countries: France, Australia, California, Canada and Israel. He came to Israel in 2003 and opened the boutique winery at Zichron Yaacov Cellars. He then worked at Rishon Le Zion Cellars and Mony Winery. He also was wine consultant for the Kerem Montefiore project. He is arguably most well-known for Carmel’s Kayoumi Vineyard Shiraz 2006 that won the Decanter Trophy, but wherever he has worked, his wines have won many awards.
Guetta has invested in new equipment and the wines started winning Gold Medals at Eshkol Hzahav and Terravino, and more lately scored 93 and 92 points in the Wine Enthusiast, very good scores for an Israeli wines. The current wine labels feature a particular Jewish year, which is symbolic of an historic era. The regular labels are known as Vintage, Premium, Gerstein, Reserve, Jubilee, up to the prestige Special Reserve label, the flagship of the winery.
The Montefiore Windmill wines are the boutique wines of the Jerusalem Vineyard Winery. They are available at the Windmill in Mishkenot Sha’ananim – Yemin Moshe, will be marketed separately as an exclusivity and small quantities will be reserved for export.