August 29th 2012
Ella Valley Wineries began in 1998 when one man, Danny Velero, drove all across Israel looking for the ideal place to reinstitute the wine culture of Israel. He settled on the historic Ella Valley and the Aderet Vineyard was planted, employing 21st century wine-making knowledge that Velero imported from his years in Napa Valley, California. While planting the vineyard, an ancient wine press dating from the Second Temple Period was discovered, sealing the historical connection between Ella Valley and the art of winemaking.
The drive to the winery on Route 38 takes you from the heights of Jerusalem down 12 miles into the valley. Along the way, which occasionally narrows to serpentine, you’ll pass lots of rocky hills and steep descents. Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted by beauty. The head vintner has a collection of rare and colorful birds that announce the arrival of visitors.
The wine-tasting room has been designed to evoke an oak cabin, thanks to muted colors, brick walls and a sense of old-fashioned style. Guests at the wine-tasting are graciously served cheese and olive spread, along with the chance to sample all the clean, fruity wines for which Ella Valley Wineries are best known. Ella Valley Wineries produced its first batch of kosher wines in 2002 and currently produce 200,000 bottles of premium wine each year.
In the area where David slew Goliath, some of Israel’s best wines are produced. As famous for the contemporary wine scene as it is for the Biblical battle that took place here, the four-mile-long region known as Ella Valley is an ancient site for vineyards. Located in the Judean Hills near the city of Beit Shemesh, approximately 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem, the Ella Valley is named for the terebinth trees that grow here and are mentioned in several books of the Bible, including three mentions in the book of Genesis.
In the Ella Valley, the Ella River flows during the winter months, wine production reached a fever pitch during the time of the Second Temple. Today, it is home to approximately 20% of Israel’s vineyards. Among the most celebrated of the 25 wineries in the Ella Valley are the Ella Valley Wineries.