We are winemakers and storytellers who love this land and the pioneering spirit which spurred its founders. Our identity is rooted in the rows of vines that will continue to bear fruit for the generations to come. Everything we do, from the creation of exceptional wine to the cultivation of extraordinary experiences, is with the ultimate intent of reconnecting society to this land, its people, and it’s history.
Bat Shlomo Vineyards serves as a bridge between the past and present, honoring those who established the tradition of winemaking in the land of Israel while celebrating the innovative approach that has come to represent the industry today. At The Farmhouse, we have created an intimate yet immersive experience which encapsulates this journey and the values it represents.
Where History Comes Alive
In 1887, the great Jewish benefactor and Zionist visionary, Baron Edmond de Rothschild, first visited the land of Israel intent on establishing a path to economic prosperity through agriculture. In founding two nearby villages, the Baron set into motion a reawakening of an Israeli wine industry which had been dormant for 2,000 years. The first village, Zichron Yaakov, was named in memory of the Baron’s father Jacob. The second, Bat Shlomo, meaning daughter of Soloman, was dedicated to his mother the Baroness Betty de Rothschild.
Betty was a prominent woman in French society who championed a number of philanthropic causes. Among her many entrepreneurial endeavors, she founded organizations committed to advancing the education of women as well hospitals in both Jerusalem and Paris. She did not struggle with her Jewish identity, unlike many Jews of her status in her day, but rather considered it a source of pride. She showed time and again her deep devotion to the Jewish People. Her strength of identity and passion exhibited as a social entrepreneur are reflected in the fabric of Bat Shlomo.
The village was born from the Baron’s dedication to creating strong and resilient Jewish farmers, and a means to economic prosperity in the land of Israel.
The Baroness Betty de Rothschild
The village was born from the Baron’s dedication to creating strong and resilient Jewish farmers, and a means to economic prosperity in the land of Israel. Two years after founding Arbeiter Shulla, a training school for farm workers, its graduates settled Bat Shlomo building 13 homes made of stone and one synagogue. The Farmhouse, originally constructed in 1889, is one of these lasting treasures. Today, visitors to the original Moshava can walk down the single road where the original homes still stand, a testament to an era of Israeli history that forever shaped the country’s identity.
The estate Vineyards
Bat Shlomo Vineyards has been an innovative leader in the Israeli wine industry as the only winery to use egg shaped concrete tanks to ferment its wine. The porosity of the concrete allows micro-oxygenation, while offering excellent insulation that keeps the wine at a cool and steady temperature, changing the kinetics of the fermentation. The curved walls circulate the leez inside the tank, breathing life into the wine.
All of our wines have been honored by Robert Parker’s, Wine Advocate, consistently scoring among the best wines in the Middle East. Acclaimed wine critic Mark Squires has most recently heaped praise on our Chardonnay and Betty’s Cuvee. In 2019, Bat Shlomo Vineyards was honored as one of only two Israeli wineries invited to showcase at the Matter of Taste event, in Switzerland.
Planting the Vineyards
We use a sustainable method of growing to create a bio-diversified environment which heavily minimizes the use of spraying. We grow a cover crop, letting the weeds between the grapes grow to promote a full ecosystem in our vineyard. The predators eating the pests, along with erosion control, means we have to spray considerably less. The cover crop adds nitrogen and nutrients to the soil. Through the years the cover crop returns back into the earth to create a natural compost that organically fertilizes the soil.
The Estate Vineyards and their Varietals
Growing alongside the Dalia River, in our River Vineyard, are the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon varieties. Varied weather conditions and mixtures of soil have allowed us to produce a number of distinct clones with unique flavor and aroma profiles. The river, though mostly a limestone basin, has varying mixtures of sediment resulting from times that it has changed course or overflowed, imprinting its past and present onto the wine.
Our Hurshan Vineyard, which also grows Sauvignon Blanc, sits isolated along the steep side of the hill beneath the forest, facing North. Hurshan greets the morning sun, feeling the warmth of sunlight throughout the day. The heavy rock limestone with little top soil makes it a challenging environment for the vines, creating natural stress which enhances flavor.
At the bottom of our Givah Vineyard, we grow our Chardonnay. In the Givah, the limestone base sees a slightly thicker layer of topsoil. The original planting of the Cabernet Sauvignon sits above the Chardonnay in the rocky limestone of the Givah with more Southern exposure.
The Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot join the Cabernet Sauvignon, sitting in such shallow soil that the roots are almost entirely within the limestone bedrock.
Bat Shlomo Estate Vineyards unique approach yields a greater number of vines per dunam, with higher density, greatly exceeding the average across Israel. This density leads to competition among the vines, creating stress as they battle for the opportunity to flourish. The stress in turn leads to fewer grapes per vine and a more concentrated, deeper set of flavors.
Harmonious Balance with Nature
We work with renowned viticulturist, Dan Fischl, to ensure that our vineyards boast a diverse and balanced ecosystem, rich in natural predators. Rather than spray insecticide, flowers that naturally grow between the vines bring in wasps and beetles that keep the mealybug and other pests at bay. These flowers, between the vines, act as a cover crop that add nutrients to the soil and prevent erosion.
Under the guise of our esteemed vintner Ari Erle, previously of Colgin Cellars and O’Shaughnessy Winery in Napa Valley, we are producing wine at the highest quality and with the utmost attention to detail. We employ cutting edge techniques in agricultural science to grow grapes that will result in a specific concentration, style, and alcohol content. Changes are made in the vineyard according to the taste of the wine. It should not be taken for granted that expert winemaking begins in the field.
From the vineyard, our vintner Ari carefully monitors each step of the winemaking process. The selection of the grapes, harvest date and fermentation are optimized for a concentrated textured wine. Extended maceration leaves the skin on through the fermentation process yielding a richer more supple wine, with a smoother mouthfeel and an ability to age even more beautifully. After fermentation, the press is kept separate to produce our finest wine.
Visit Bat Shlomo Vineyards website