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 reduces the likelihood of the wine becoming reduced, while offering excellent insulation that keeps the wine at a cool and steady temperature. The curved walls circulate air inside the tank, breathing life into the wine.
All of our wines have been honored by the Robert Parker organization, consistently scoring among the best wines in the Middle East. Acclaimed wine critic Mark Squires from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate 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.
Planting the Vineyards
We use a sustainable method of growing. We are not certified organic, but we heavily minimize 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. We also let clovers and wheat grow, and they add nitrogen to the soil. Every other year we’ll work them back into the earth to create a natural compost that organically fertilizes the soil.
The Vineyards and their Varietals
Growing alongside the Dalia River, in our Dalia Valley Vineyard, are the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon varietals. 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 Hushan Vineyard, which also grows Sauvignon Blanc, sits isolated along the steep side of the hill beneath the forest. Hushan 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 most of our Chardonnay. In 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 Vineyards unique approach yields a greater number of vines per dunam, 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 Fishel, to ensure that our vineyards boast a diverse and balanced ecosystem, rich in natural predators. Rather than spray insecticide, we plant flowers that naturally bring in wasps and beetles that keep the disastrous mealybug species at bay. These flowers flow through the space between the vines, acting as a cover crop that adds nutrients to the soil and prevents erosion.
Honoring Jewish tradition, we used flowers inspired by the ingredients for the “ketoret besamim,” the precise mixture of 11 holy spices central to all the ceremonies conducted in the ancient Temple. These spices are aromatic flowers from the time of King Soloman, and they have modern ancestors in this region which we planted as our cover crop, connecting to our ancestral story while promoting harmonious agricultural practices that heal the earth.
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.
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