Landing back in Israel after 3 months in Italy was a bit surreal but I was ready for it. In the weeks leading up to the winter break I sent my mind spinning with ideas for day trips and producer visits. Suddenly, the place I was eager to leave I was now anxious to return to. Early Monday morning, Shay and I rented a car and pointed ourselves north out of Tel Aviv. First on our trip would be Ramat Hanadiv, a stretch of nature parks, gardens, and archeological sites. Established in memory of Baron Edmond de Rothschild (1845-1934) it’s nestled between Zikhron Ya’akov and Binyamina on hills overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. I’ve written about these landscapes before but they are always worth returning to both in my mind and in person. On our hike we came upon an area inhabited in various capacities between the 1st and 7th century CE. The area, dotted with olive trees, figs and grapevines, echoes of the ancient productions managed there. It was the perfect start to the day and beckoned for a sip of wine down the road.
We called a few wineries in the area before getting in touch with Yossi of Poizner Winery in the center of Zikhron Ya’akov. I knew from the phone call this wouldn’t be a Napa Valley style visit, in fact the winery is located behind the family’s house. Down a long drive way off the town’s main street we were greeted by several cats shading themselves under a large tree. In my book this is always a good sign. Shaking Yossi Poizner’s hand I could feel the years of knowledge gained amongst the vines and earth. His family has managed their vineyards for 130 years since arriving from Romania with a large wave of immigration in the 1880s. Like many families in the area, the Poizners began as part of a collective that supplied grapes to the Rothschild established Carmel Winery. Today, the Poizners supply enough grapes to Carmel Winery to produce ~150K bottles each year. Yossi’s son, Yoav, a lawyer by day, became a wine maker by night just 10 years ago. They began producing their own boutique wine after Yoav traveled the world to learn from winemakers in South America and Europe. Now they bottle 3000 bottles a year offering 3 international varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot.
Each spring they host a wine tasting event onsite to debut a new vintage year to the public. Selling directly to attendees, they are sure to sell out again this year. Coming up April 4-5, 2014 they are unveiling their 2010 bottles along with a new blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec.
71 Hameyasdim St.
Zikhron Ya’akov, Israel