June 20th 2014
There’s wine, and then then there’s pomegranate wine. The Rimonim Winery in the Upper Galilee specializes in making wine from pomegranates instead of grapes. Rimon is the Hebrew name for the pomegranate, and this winery works with 100% pomegranate ingredients and zero added sugar. The Rimonim Winery also produces pomegranate oil that is believed to lower blood pressure and help balance insulin levels.
Pomegranates are among the seven species for which Israel is particularly known. And near Moshav Kerem Ben Zimra in the Upper Galilee are 37 acres of pomegranate orchards, where specially bred, extra sweet pomegranates grow to twice the size of everyday pomegranates. Making wine from this fruit takes significantly longer than making wine from grapes. Fermenting the juice slowly and at a relatively low temperature helps preserve the therapeutic and medicinal properties of the pomegranates, which then transfer to the wine.
The Rimonim Winery is housed in a stone building that was designed to blend into the scenic surroundings. The building houses state-of-the-art winemaking equipment, including special machines that separate the juice-bearing seeds from the bitter rinds. Visitors will see that the huge stainless steel tanks used for fermenting are here too, as well as a barrel room where barrels made from French oak are used to age the wine.
Thousands of visitors from Israel and from abroad come to the Rimonim Winery each year to see and sample their distinctive pomegranate wines with healing properties. The entrance to the winery is situated on a dirt road that cuts through the pomegranate orchard, so even before you arrive, you’ll be transported in the world of pomegranates.
Visitors learn how and why the Nachmias family, the operators of Rimonim, came to breed pomegranates and turn them into wines. You’ll taste pomegranate wines that are sweet, dry and semi-dry. In addition, you’ll learn about the healing, anti-oxidant power of pomegranates and also discover the process of pressing the rinds and peels of the pomegranate that the winery uses to create pure pomegranate oil. It’s easy to combine a visit to Rimonim Winery with other wineries in the area for a full day of wine making and wine tasting.
Private tours and tastings can be arranged in advance. After the tour, you’ll visit the wine shop, which is stocked with Rimonim wines, along with all things pomegranate, including pomegranate jam and locally made pomegranate-based cosmetics.