A couple of years ago I was invited to a launch event of a new winery with old roots. 1848 was the name selected for the winery and at the time, they released a varietal Chardonnay and a couple of red vinos with hefty price tags. I was a bit skeptical at first but when tasting the wines there was no question that the people behind the 1848 winery were taking this new venture very seriously.
The history and roots of the 1848 Winery begin some 165 years ago; the year was 1848 and Rabi Mordechai Avraham Galina, followed by his son Itzhak established the first commercial, modern, family run winery in Ottoman/Turkish ruled Palestine. Itzhak Galina married into the Shor Family and as the Shor Family had a permit to sell wine from the Ottoman authorities, he adopted their surname and officially opened the winery. The winery was first set up in the narrow alleyways of Jerusalem’s old city and some say that the winery’s cellar was situated so close to the Western Wall, that worshipers coming to pray at the site, could literally see the large oak barrels resting against the wall. Due to new regulations during the British Mandate limiting the size of businesses allowed to operate within the walls of the old city, the Zion Winery was moved to the Beit Israel neighborhood and then switched several venues before relocating to the Mishor Adomim industrial area several years ago (near the city of Maale Adomim).
Today that Shor family is still a major player in the local wine industry, operating the Zion Winery, the Arza Winery and Hacormim Winery. A few years ago members of the Galina-Shor family, 8th generation descendants of the original founders established the 1848 Winery and as one can tell, the name selected is in tribute to the year in which their great great great… grandfathers established the winery inside the walls of the old city. 1848 is positioned as a boutique-premium winery and the intention is to operate the winery in complete separation from its ‘older’ siblings. At the moment 1848 is still operating as a “winery within a winery” relying on the Zion Winery’s facilities but this may change in the years to come.
I recently had the chance to sample a couple of their new vinos and found both quite enjoyable:
1848 Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve 2009 - Comprising 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 5% Syrah from vineyards in the Judean Hills and Galilee. The Cab developed separately in barriques for 12 months and after reaching the final blend, the wine was then put in oak for an additional 12 months. The result is dark-bright ruby in color, good structure with generous aromas and flavors of red berry fruits, cherries, dried figs followed by notes of roasted coffee and fresh herbs. With long and pleasant finish, this is a very enjoyable wine that should develop nicely over the next few years. NIS 180
1848 Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Seventh Generation, 2009 - 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petite Sirah and the balance Merlot developed in a mix of both French and American oak barrels. Ruby in color, full bodied, on the nose and palate dark berry fruits, plums, vanilla and Mediterranean herbs leading to a medium-long finish. NIS 110