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Binyamina Winery

Binyamina Winery

Country: Israel
Wine Maker(s): Sasson Ben Aharon & Asaf Paz

Binyamina Winery was established in 1952 by Joseph Zeltzer, who immigrated to Israel with a burning desire to produce wine as he did in the country of his birth, Hungary. Initially called Eliaz Winery—named after the owner's son who fell in battle during Israel's War of Independence, the winery started out in a region considered at that time to be Israel's wine region.
In 1925 a perfume factory was establish by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, after whom the town of Binyamina is named. The factory site was chosen due to the jasmine plants that grew profusely in the area, and which were needed to produce perfume extracts.

After independence, Joseph Zeltzer found himself in Binyamina - close to the vineyards in the heart of a famous wine-growing region and in a building with an interesting history – in order to fulfill his aspiration to produce sweet wines and liqueurs.

The winery originally produced sweet wines, simple table wines and liqueurs. As all winegrowers at the time were bound to the Carmel Mizrahi cooperative, it was David Ben Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, himself who intervened on behalf of Mr. Zeltzer, and a law was passed that allowed him to receive a small amount of grapes for wine production. The winery was mainly known for its quality liqueurs and brandy produced under the Hard Nut Liqueur label, in honor of Ben Gurion who was famously known as a “hard nut to crack".

Movie production executives purchased the winery at the beginning of the 1990's and gained full control in 1996. They immediately invested enormous resources to transform Binyamina into one of Israel's leading wineries. This included 14 years of investment in vineyards to obtain the best quality raw material, in wine production equipment and in creating one of Israel's finest barrel cellars. They also renamed the winery, which has been known as “Binyamina Winery" since the mid-nineties.

In 2008, Hetzi Hinam marketing chain purchased the winery. They recognized the winery's inherent and growing potential and identified with the winery's vision of becoming a leader in Israel's wine sector. The new owners have invested unstintingly in the winery's vineyards, premises, equipment and human capital.

Sasson Ben Aharon, Chief Winemaker, holds an MA degree from the Faculty of Agriculture in Rehovot. His thesis consisted of research on the chemistry of wine. Sasson worked for six years at the Israel Wine Institute, in the field of vine and wine R&D. He joined Binyamina Winery in 2001 and has served as the winery's Chief Winemaker since its 2002 vintage.

Asaf Paz, Winemaker, holds a BA degree in Biochemistry from the Faculty of Agriculture in Rehovot and an MA (Diplome Nationale d'Oenologue) from the Bordeaux Faculty of Oenology. He accumulated practical experience in various wineries in France, California, Israel and Australia, and joined the Binyamina team in 2006.

Wines from Binyamina Winery