The Hans Sternbach Winery offers a wonderful and unique combination that can’t be found anywhere else in Israel. A visit to the first rate winery involves a great meal and a magical view of Givat Yeshayahu. This magnificent combo of good food and wine at the look-out point has already earned the winery a name – so if you’re planning to come on a Friday or Saturday like we did, I recommend you make some reservations – the restaurant was full!
We decided to start our visit at the winery, where we met Gadi, a farmer, cook and winemaker. Gadi has a few vineyard plots – the ‘Janaba Reserve’ (named after ancient Arab ruins next to the vineyard) is the house wine produced from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, is suited to long aging, and is made exclusively from grapes Gadi has grown in the area. The winery’s second wine – ‘Nachal Hakhlil’ is meant to be drunk sooner and is made from Gadi’s grapes, as well as the grapes of additional regional neighbours. A tasting of a number of the wines reveals that Hans Sternbach wines (the winery is named after Gadi’s father Hans) only improve over the years.
After the visit to the winery we headed over to the restaurant. Gadi and his wife are responsible for the menu and are joined by an additional two cooks on the weekends. “Everyone makes his menu favourites,” says Gadi “ this morning I felt like making herring salad” he says. That’s when my friend and I decided to start our meal off with the herring – the perfect Jewish dish with which to start out the morning.
After the excellent herring salad we decided to talk to Gadi about his kitchen’s personality. It’s a kitchen that, first and foremost, likes flavourful food of any kind. Many of the salads and dishes come from the Palestinian kitchen, which, in Gadi’s opinion, is an amazing cuisine, rich and flavourful. We tried the greens soup as an example, made mostly from sorrel and various other local seasonal greens. The soup that arrived on our table was yellowish-green, thick, with a green vegetable scent and rich, tart flavour. A fabulous Palestinian dish and one you won’t find just anywhere. Gadi expertly added this dish to his menu, knowing that grass soups of various sorts are now popping up on menus all over the world, including in Provence, France.
Along with Palestinian dishes, there are also many dishes using the winery’s wines that get their inspiration from the French kitchen. For our main dishes we ordered the French dish ‘Coq au vin’ (chicken in wine) which was tender, juice, and deep purple in colour just like Gadi’s wines. Along with the chicken we also enjoyed beef stew in wine sauce. We also didn’t miss the cold meat platter, made up of roast beef and bresaola – a dried Italian style cold cut that Gadi’s makes himself using his wine top quality wine.
The food at Hans Sternbach Winery is delicious and the winery is splendid, but actually, the two of them together are even more than the sum of their parts. The combination of food know-how, Gadi’s landscape and the handmade dishes eaten opposite the local view is an impressive and unforgettable culinary and human experience.
83 Givat Yeshayahu, Ella Vallery 99825, Givat Yeshayahu