From its very beginning, the Zauberman winery has been shrouded in mystery and secrecy. The exclusive wines are available only in a few wine stores, and they are sold in a small number of luxury restaurants. There are few visitors to the winery, and those who visit it are captivated by the wine and the winery.
The winery has four partners – Itzik Zauberman The original owner and founder of the winery over 20 years ago, Raz Dahan joined the first, an architect in the profession “Love wine”, Sharon Nahum Construction contractor and son of the vineyard and farmers family and Eli Peretz recently joined, photographer and event producer. For them, traveling around Israel and the world has always been combined with wine. For a while, they toyed with the idea of going from wine consumers to wine producers. On one of his trips to France, Itzik went through a profound experience following a wine tasting of a 20 years old wine from the legendary “Chateau Petrus” winery. So, he set himself a goal, to produce a wine that will be up to the standard of “Petrus” and its friends. Itzik and his friends started planting grapevines from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon varieties, each in his own garden. Itzik purchased equipment and tried producing small quantities for himself and his friends. After successfully making it through the “baptism of fire” he came to a decision – to produce the best wine ever!
Those who follow the winemaking process, notice that in the wine production process there is no compromise all along, including investing all the necessary means regardless of financial costs. Only small quantities are produced, up to 5000 bottles per year. Itzik Zauberman believes that the wine is “a partner in the process”, therefore the contact with the wine and its handling occurs only when the feeling, mood and energy flow are positive.
After trying and testing different production processes in 1999, Itzik built his own winery equipped with the best technology – from the newest pumps, and small stainless steel wine fermentation tanks, to the finest French wood barrels. The winery counts with state-of-the-art equipment, which ensures maximum control over the wine fermentation and aging process.
The winery is managed with the aim of producing top-quality wine and the most unique one, and the financial – commercial aspect, is just a secondary consideration. The work in the winery is conducted by Itzik and his friends alone, with no employees and with the help of friends who came, “loved it” and who were enthusiastic and happy to come and share the experience.
Itzik Zauberman, Raz and Sharon harvest the grapes with their family members and friends in the vineyard of the Heyman family. The vineyard is located near the community settlement of Karmei Yosef, on the border of the inner plain of the Judean Mountains, 220 meters (723 ft.) above sea level, on a western steep slope with natural drainage. The slope is exposed to the wind blowing from the sea and it cools the grapes down on summer nights. The vineyard is planted in limestone soil which gives grapes (and wine) a unique taste. As you enter the vineyard you can feel the special atmosphere that surrounds the place. The harvest is manual, selective, and the product is packed in small boxes to ensure the integrity of the grapes.
The production process is based on an ancient method developed in Italy and known as “Amarone”.
According to this method, after the grape harvest, the grapes undergo a drying process in a straw basket in the open air. The drying goal – concentrating and intensifying the flavors and aromas that are present in the grape, is done by reducing the amount of liquids while increasing the percentage of solid matter. In the Zauberman winery, this method has been adapted to the climate conditions and the Israeli fruit characteristics.
According to this unique method developed at the winery, the grapes undergo a slow and controlled process of drying at very low temperatures and minimum humidity percentages, through a dedicated cooling facility.
The raw material obtained from the drying process contains a concentration of extremely powerful flavors and aromas, and a high amount of sugar.
The wine produced in the winery is unfiltered; the fruit aromas are preserved throughout the production process and during the bottle aging. The final result is a truly unique incomparable wine, a full-bodied and powerfully fruity wine. In addition, it contains a high percentage of alcohol (15.5% – 17.5%) and sometimes it also contains refined notes of sweetness.