A Pioneer in Kosher Winemaking Excellence

As a leader in innovative winemaking techniques, Yatir Winery is one Israel’s most distinguished kosher wine brands. Its award-winning wines have been regarded as some of Israel’s top-ranked wines both on the local level and by international wine critics. Here we look at Yatir Winery’s history, technology, and most notable wines, and how their commitment to excellence sets them apart.

Bottle of Yatir Winery wine resting on a rocky terrain at sunset, with a backdrop of the desert landscape and distant mountains.

Origins and History

The Yatir Winery sits at the foot of the archeological site of Israelite Tel Arad Fort just 10 minutes from the vineyards of the Yatir Forest. The definition of a boutique winery, it was founded in 2000 as a joint venture between local vine growers and the Carmel Winery. Now producing 150,000 bottles a year, it symbolizes the results of an ongoing commitment to perfecting the mixing of ancient traditions with modern technology. However, its unique story also speaks to the commitment of the late David Ben Gurion, Israel’s most influential and longest-serving prime minister.

David Ben Gurion consulted with selected agronomists to fulfill his vision of planting a forest to develop the Negev region. Despite their findings that the region was unsuitable for planting trees, the prime minister went against their recommendation and today the forest spans approximately 4,000 hectares as Israel’s largest forest.

Named Yatir after the ruins of the Levite biblical city, the forest now serves as a vast parkland welcoming hikers and researchers. It is in this green expanse with its lush valleys and slopes that all but the Sauvignon Blanc Yatir Winery vineyards were planted. The winery continues to practice groundbreaking agricultural and wine production methods meeting the highest kosher standards without sacrificing the unique flavor profiles of the wines they meticulously produce.

Yatir Winery wine bottle with a charcuterie board featuring various cheeses, grapes, olives, and nuts, accompanied by two glasses of red wine.

Innovative Winemaking Techniques

Israel’s red wine cultivars get their distinct flavor by inducing drought stress to increase the colors, aroma, and compounds in the berry skin. Over the long term, however, this can damage the vines resulting in reduced yields. As a result, winemaking techniques often look to cultivation research for improvements.

For example, research at the Yatir Forest examined a workaround of sorts, examining new irrigation methods using three main red wine cultivars: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Shiraz. Changes to the intervals and the water amounts used in the new method produced extensive vegetative growth and improved stem water potential compared to the common irrigation practice recommended by the Agriculture Ministry.

Although the new method produced premium Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, it was slightly lower in quality than the traditional method. However, in the case of Shiraz, there was no difference in quality at all. These ongoing innovations are closely watched by wineries like Yatir to constantly improve the distinct flavor profiles that help set each winery apart.

  • Yatir Winery white wine bottle in a fruit basket with pineapples, apples, and other assorted fruits.
  • Yatir Winery Mt. Amasa red wine bottle on a stone surface with a green, leafy background.
  • Yatir Winery wine bottle on a dinner table with a gourmet meal, including sliced steak, vegetables, and a glass of red wine.
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Exceptional Wines

The high-altitude vineyards about 900 meters above sea level are the most important factor in producing Yatir’s character. The spicy, herbal notes of Yatir’s collection could also be related to the intense flavors of the native drought-resistant herbaceous plants of the area. Clay limestone soil, combined with the dry, cold desert climate at night creates a unique terroir, producing exceptional wines, including:

  • a bottle of Yatir Forest 2020

    Yatir Forest

    A nose with hints of roasted herbs, toasted oak and freshly brewed coffee gives way to this full-bodied red’s black fruit richness and pleasingly long finish.

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  • A bottle of Yatir Winery Creek White 2020

    Yatir Winery Creek White

    A blend of Chenin Blanc and Viognier, this white is delicately complex delivering flavors of lemon peel, quince, earthy minerals, and medium-plus acidity. Oak aging enhances its medium bodied flavor with a long finish of fresh herbs and honeydew.

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  • A bottle of Yatir Winery Syrah 2014.

    Yatir Winery Syrah

    A robust red with notes of ripe raspberry, beetroot, and roasted chestnuts this Syrah finishes with a hint of white pepper.

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  • A bottle of Yatir Winery Mt Amasa Blend 2020

    Yatir Winery Mt Amasa Blend

    Lovely notes of blackberries, red cherries, hints of leather, and roasted meat on the nose lead to flavors of black forest berries, herbs, and mocha with delicate notes of spices and vanilla.

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Yatir Winery Mt. Amasa wine bottle with a beach and palm trees in the background.

Exploring Yatir Winery

Yatir Winery’s idyllic setting welcomes guests to their modern visitor center where the history and stunning, diverse desert landscape are celebrated as part of the winery’s uniqueness. The winery maintains kosher standards which means visitors are prevented from touching anything within the winery. However, wine tastings tend to be the highlight of the Yatir experience where visitors can sample the impressive aromas and flavors produced from the grapevines scattered throughout the Yatir Forest.

Yatir Winery wine bottle with a 2008 label, displayed with pink magnolia flowers in the background.

Yatir Winery's Contribution to Kosher Wine

The vineyards of Yatir are helping to lead the way in the kosher wine industry. The meticulously managed plots are each irrigated and harvested separately, monitored using computer technology at the winery’s state-of-the-art facilities. The Yatir vision focuses on a commitment to sustainable farming practices managed by principal winemaker, Eran Goldwasser. An expert in viticulture and winemaking practices, he applies his own approach combining soil conservation, water management, biodiversity promotion, and organic farming methods.

The winemakers and vine growers at the Yatir Winery strive to produce wines of the highest quality. Combining grapes cultivated on ancient lands and productive methods using the most innovative technologies and equipment, they seem to be achieving their goals.

Click here to explore our Yatir Winery collection.

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