On Friday 12th of April, 2019 JPC organised a very unique visit to the winery of Domaine du Castel near Jerusalem. The group of journalists had the opportunity to enjoy the excellent wines, learn about the production process and the importance of the region and the soil for the quality of the wine.
Eli Ben Zaken, Castel’s founder, hosted us and explained the details of the wine production and the history behind the winery. By the end of the visit we enjoyed a wine testing session with a great light brunch.
About the Winery
Domaine du Castel is a family estate winery ten miles west of Jerusalem in the Judean
Mountains, at an average altitude of 2500 feet. The winery was founded by Eli Ben Zaken in
In biblical times, wine was made in these mountains and vineyards were planted on man-
made terraces. Later on, the Crusaders built a chain of castles on the road to Jerusalem,
hence the name “Castel”. Recently, new facilities were built in Yad Hashmona. 2015 was
the first vintage to inaugurate this state of the art winery.
Because of the hilly topography our vineyard is divided into several small parcelles, a short
driving distance from the winery. The present size of the vineyard is 45 hectares with a
yearly production of 20,000 cases. As we are firm believers that wine is made in the
vineyard, we have densely planted our vineyards on slopes and deep valleys facing the sea
and the prevailing summer winds. We restrain our vines to produce low yields and therefore
high quality grapes, all handpicked. In fact, we have succeeded in re-identifying and
developing a very special legendary terroir, which combines good climatic conditions and a
typical wine country soil of well drained terra-rossa, clay and limestone.