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In the 20th century, only a small number of wineries operated in Israel, producing popular wines, in accordance with the demands of the market. It was only towards the end of the 20th century that culinary and cultural change emerged, including a wine culture.
The times were ripe for a new winery at an international level, a winery that would succeed in producing above 100,000 bottles a year, while guaranteeing premium quality for all its wines.
Danny Valero, the director of the project, completed a specialization in vineyard cultivation in the Napa Valley. Joined by a foreign investor, he started working on this complex challenge.
Following his credo, according to which "excellent wine is made with excellent grapes that grow in excellent areas", Danny embarked on a journey across Israel, at the wheel of his 4x4 car, together with his black dog, the equipment required for analyzing soil and climate, as well as an unflinching determination and imagination. After driving across the country in all directions, Danny settled for the place where it all came together - the scientific findings, historical background and a breathtaking view, together with an unfathomable sense of certainty - the Valley of Ella.
After a detailed analysis of the area, the plots of land and types of grapes were selected, and the first vineyard was planted.
The Aderet Vineyard was planted in 1998, using advanced technology brought over from California. While preparing the ground, the workers discovered an ancient wine press and the remnants of a settlement dating from the Second Temple period - Hurvat Itry. This discovery confirmed the belief that the new winery would, in fact, be continuing a historical tradition of wine production in the region.
In 2001, the winery was constructed close to Kibbutz Netiv Halamed He, led by Udi Kaplan who still manages the winery, and under close supervision of Doron Rav Hon. The most advanced and best-quality machinery in the world was purchased for the winery. Everything was ready for the first harvest.
From the beginning, it was decided that the winery would only produce kosher wines, but that there would be no compromise on quality. According to the laws of kashrut and in-depth understanding of wine, the vines reached maturity precisely at the time when they could be harvested - based on the kosher laws pertaining to the fruits from the first three years of a tree's life.
On a cold night of September 2002, the harvest started, and the first clusters of grapes were brought to the vineyard. In May 2004, following two years of tense waiting, the series of premium wines was launched, revealing a new name to the Israeli wine world: the Ella Valley Wineries.
The first wines, Ever Red 2002, Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, Merlot 2002 and Desert Muscat 2002, set a particularly high standard of depth, complexity and precision, which characterize much older and bigger wineries. The wines enjoyed immediate success in restaurants and shops, and drew praises from critics and professionals.
Today, after five years and over one million bottles released, the brand "Ella Valley Wineries" represents a seal of uncompromising quality both in Israel and among aficionados in Europe, the US, and Japan.