The Ella Valley Winery is among the few wineries in Israel producing 300,000 bottles a year, which have their own vineyards, enabling them to rely solely on their own produce without needing outside growers.
The winery owns 700 dunams (173 acres) of land; part of the produce is used by the winery and the rest is sold to others. The winery team chooses the appropriate plots and varieties to be planted in each plot, and is responsible for the entire cultivation process, including determining the correct harvest time. This complete control allows the winery to produce high quality uniform wines year after year. The grapes are the winery’s raw ingredient and their quality determines the quality of the wine. Thus careful attention and precision are dedicated to caring for the grapevines.
The winery controls all the parameters affecting the vineyard – foliage, water, soil, trellising and more. All of these factors affect the crop yield and are highly significant for the quality of the grape: too large a yield impairs the strength of the fruit and the characteristics of the cultivar, while too small a yield is also not desirable. The secret is finding the correct balance.
Treating the vineyards is done by combining old European and New World traditions, plus innovative modern technology, thus ensuring quality grapes. Great effort is invested in preventing harmful chemicals from leaching into the soil, by fertilizing with natural materials such as compost, and the use of advanced methods of biological pest control.
Three Regions of Cultivation
The Ella Valley was chosen after a long search. The area is marked by aerated clay soil, with good drainage, rich in minerals, and has a diverse topography which enables growing different cultivars in various terroirs. The climate is characterized by cool nights, humid, foggy mornings and moderate heat even in summer; ideal conditions for grapevines. The winery has three vineyard plots of about 800 dunams (197 acres), each one with unique topography and soil.
- Aderet Vineyard
The largest vineyard (about 400 dunams/98 acres) nestled at an altitude of 350-400 meters (1150-1300 feet) in the Adullam Hills, between Aderet, Yeshayahu Hill and Tzafririm. It has a diverse topography and soil with variable limestone content; an ideal terroir for growing high quality grapes. The conditions contribute to the health of the grape and strengthen the fruit, thus achieving the classic qualities of the cultivar and the region. Cultivars: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Petite Syrah, Muscat and Chardonnay.
- Ness Harim Vineyard
A 300 dunam (74 acre) vineyard at an altitude of 700 meters (2300 ft.), at the foot of Moshav Ness Harim in the Judean Hills. Marked by deep clay soil, high limestone content and low salinity. The altitude and the soil are suitable for growing more indulgent wine varieties. Cultivars: Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
- Ella Valley Vineyard
The vineyard closest to the winery, with an area of 100 dunams (25 acres), at an altitude of 320 meters (1050 feet) in a gully on the outskirts of the Ella Valley. The location is characterized by a unique microclimate and offers excellent conditions for
The grape harvest is a critical step in wine production and therefore it is important to pay attention to every detail, including the harvest day, time, manner, and the elapsed time until the grapes reach the winery. The location of the winery was chosen due to its proximity to the cultivation areas in order to allow close supervision and shorten the time between the grape harvest and delivery to the winery. At Ella Valley Winery we insist on manual harvesting, at night, to preserve the integrity and quality of the fruit.
When the grapes reach the winery they undergo an additional manual sorting and are then transferred to stainless steel containers to begin the fermentation. The harvests from each plot are put into separate containers. The winery’s sophisticated fermentation containers enable variable processing, regulations, and close surveillance of the fermentation process. This way, comprehensive information is gathered concerning each plot and its unique qualities.
During fermentation the natural yeasts on the grape skin digest the sugar in the grape juice and produce alcohol from it.
Once the fermentation process is complete, the wine is transferred to wooden barrels for aging, which lasts between 14 and 17 months. The aging takes place in an aging room – cool, ventilated basements, with constant temperatures and humidity. The majority of our wines are aged in French pine wood barrels, while a small portion is aged in American pine wood to emphasize woody aromas. The winery uses wooden barrels from second and third harvests, in order to prevent a dominance of woody flavors and to preserve the unique quality of each variety and plot. In this manner wines whose flavor is not dominated by wood are produced, but where the wood adds an additional essence which emphasizes and underscores the flavors of the regional grape. Some wine from each plot is aged in new barrels to allow the addition of woody flavors to the final blend, as necessary.
At the end of the aging process, the final mixing (blend) takes place; the vintner builds a precise mix of tens of barrels, where each one has its own unique characteristics, to achieve the color, flavor and aroma of the wine. This is a personal and meticulous process that requires a lot of concentration and knowledge, combined with some alchemist charm. At the end of the process, the unique flavor of the wine is determined, which will continue to deepen and mature in the bottle.