In 1889 Baron Edmond De Rothschild started a new town in the ever growing Zichron Ya’akov.
This picturesque little town by the name of Bat Shlomo, sits on the lower slopes of Mount Carmel, and still features its original buildings (and in most cases descendants of the original families that lived there). It was named after Betty Salomon, the daughter of Salomon Mayer von Rothschild (the Baron's grandfather).
It was here in 1889 that Baron Rothschild planted some of the first vineyards in Israel, which were eventually abandoned.
Fast forward to the modern day. Serial Entrepreneur Elie Wurtman made Aliyah and soon after achieved significant success in high tech. He then decided to follow his dream and become a ‘pioneer’ by opening his own winery. In his search for the right location, Elie stumbled upon Bat Shlomo and decided to rejuvenate the vines planted over a century ago.
Now with the vines in hand, Elie called on a friend of his - Ari Erle, who studied winemaking for six years in Napa Valley.
Together with some of Elie’s other friends and colleagues, they cleaned up the Vineyards and rejuvenated the vines for a proper crop.
Elie then went and purchased one of the original houses in Bat Shlomo with the goal of renovating it and converting it into a Visitors center. In the process, however, he uncovered an ancient Roman house. Once he was granted clearance from the archeologists, he converted that house into the barrel cellar.
Elie then found a school nearby that works with troubled religious kids, and after meeting with the head of the school, a program was started whereby the students study agriculture and the religious laws of farming, combined with working in the vineyards.
Here’s what came of all this effort…
Bat Shlomo Sauvignon Blanc – Probably the best Sauvignon Blanc I have ever tasted. A clear crisp wine with well-balanced citrus flavors, this is a perfect wine for a fish dinner or as a classy wine for a nice hot day. (95 NIS) - Avaialbe in the US via Amazon for $30, click here.
Bat Shlomo Rosé – This perfectly balanced rosé in deep blush, it’s on my list of the top 5 rosés in Israel. The blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc is sure to compliment pasta, tomato based sauces, or fruit. (95 NIS)
Bat Shlomo Chardonnay – Complex and buttery, this wine has so many great things going on! For those who don’t want a completely oaked chardonnay, you can’t go wrong! Good to go with heavier cheesy meals or Turkey dinners, or just sit and sip with some good friends on a hot day. (120 NIS)
Bat Shlomo Betty’s Cuvee - The first red wine from Bat Shlomo – This red blend is exactly the same as the rosé in its composition (The rose is simply removed after a short time and fermented without the skins). This in turn means an even deeper color and texture for the red. The wine is young, and needs substantial time to breathe before drinking. In my opinion this is a great wine for the collector as it will continue to improve in the bottle over the next 4-5 years. If you are a collector – it is a great wine at the great price of 160NIS, as this vintage bottle will be worth much more as it matures.
Bat Shlomo Wines are only available in restaurants or in the winery, but most exclusively through the Jerusalem Wine Club!
Eli Poch is the Founder of the Jerusalem Wine Club.
You can book all your Israeli Wine tours and/or purchase wine through the club through their website: