HAR BRACHA WINERY
The Lavi family set down their roots In Har Bracha – Mount Grizim – because they believe that Samaria is the geographic cradle of Jewish culture. The biblical landscapes and intensely present Mediterranean atmosphere in this strip of land are what convinced Nir to plant vineyards there. The back of the mountain that overlooks the Jordan Valley and the Gilad mountains to the east and the Mediterranean Sea to the west creates a sense of incredible height.
When our fifth daughter, Tama Naomi, was born in 2007, and because our grapes were in high demand, we decided to establish Har Brach Winery. It is considered an estate winery as it produces wine from grapes it grows itself. The entire family is involved in various tasks in both the vineyard and the winery, fulfilling the blessing. “Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine, in the innermost parts of thy house; thy children like olive plants, round about thy table.” (Psalms, 128:3). The winery is situation in the warm atmosphere of the courtyard adjacent to the family home, and quality control is constantly supervised. In 2007 the winery produced 3000 bottles and the number grew to 5000 a year.
The unique climate of hot days and cold nights convinced us that planting vineyards in Nachalat Efraim was inevitable. So we did it and over the years we became known as the Central Mountain wine-growers.
The first vines of two noble varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot – were planted in 1998. In 2002 the grapes were sold to Carmel Winery, and when their Vineyard Label was released on the market we realized that our grapes were of the highest quality. In 2009 Cabernet Franc, Shiraz and Petit Verdot grapes were added.
Growing conditions on the mountains are very harsh, with shallow soil, a strict water regimen and good drainage. Each plot has a different soil type so that the grapes grow with a variety of flavors. The land is seasoned with clay and limestone and in some places is no deeper than 30 cm above the mother rock, so the vine is constantly struggling. Traditional growing methods are used and harvesting times are determined by selective checking between the rows in order to ensure uncompromising quality. The grapes are harvested manually and the harvest in Har Bracha is one of the latest that takes place in the whole of Israel.
Nir Lavi specializes in working vineyards and vines planted in harsh mountainous soil, where he does everything himself. He clears the stones, plants the vines and works the land slowly and with great perseverance. He studied in the Secret of Wine Winery and started to make wine in 2003. In 2006 he worked in Alexander Winery. In 2008 Nir took a course in Boutique Winery Management, given by Ido Levinson at the Judea and Samaria College in Ariel.
Our dream is being realized through genuine investment and total determination.
Highlander Label – named for the Central Mountain range in which we live.
Highlander Reserve – a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot, aged for 12 months in new French oak barrels.
Highlander Merlot – 100% Merlot, aged for 24 months in new French oak barrels.
Port – aged for 24 months in used barrels.
“O God of hosts, return, we beseech Thee; look down from heaven, and behold, and be mindful of this vine.
And of the stock which Thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that Thou madest strong for Thyself.” (Psalms, 80:15-16).
Members of the extended Lavi/Levi family were among the founders of Kfar Pines in 1933. Moshe Levi, a family member, is the winegrower in Ramat Arad vineyard, where I learned a lot of what I know. My work motto, from the planting stage, is “very slowly, but surely”. It sounds better in German. The combination of the family’s German and very old Hungarian roots from Transylvania resulted in a special taste for excellent wine, and returning to our [Jewish?] roots feels as exciting as the act of creating wine.
The winery’s Visitors Center, “Blessing on the Mountain” (Bracha al Ha’Har), was opened as a tourist venue 2000 near the home of the Samaritan (Shomronim) community at the edge of Mount Grizim. It is a rustic wooden structure that includes a restaurant and offers visitors and tourists a cultural and culinary experience consisting of excellent food and a bit of the history of Har Bracha (Mount Grizim) – all while sipping the finest wine.
The wines are kosher le’mehadrin and are available in wine stores and in select restaurants.
Visits to the winery and to the restaurant should be arranged in advance.