It all began with a blackberry bush…
When Shraga and Tamar z”l Rozenberg moved to Efrat some 25 years earlier, Shraga planted a couple of fruit trees in the garden. Among them was a small blackberry vine. In the 1990’s this small blackberry bush produced fruit each and every year, and over time grew so large that there was no longer room to store the fruit or use it in a timely fashion. Shraga began to learn and implement the fermentation process and tried his hand at producing blackberry liqueur. It was a success, and after some time the Rozenbergs became tired of making and eating blackberry cakes and ice-creams with the excess crop and began to look for alternatives uses for the fruit. When a friend suggested to Shraga that maybe he begin to produce wine from the blackberries he reacted enthusiastically and with excitement. Always up for a challenge, Shraga thought “why not”? and so it all began. A year later Shraga decided to produce wine from the grapes and a family trip to Tel Arad ensued late one night to collect the remainder of grapes following a harvest. In those years, the amounts were small, but slowly slowly the winery began to grow and takeover many more parts of the house. At first, the family protested - after all who wants large wooden barrels in the center of the living room? Eventually, Shraga’s dream was unstoppable. Shraga took more and more interest in the winemaking process and began to plant some grape vines in the family’s backyard. As time passed Shraga’s passion for wine making grew and his basement became a small winery in which he produced 700 bottles a year. Among the varieties were Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Within a few years the wine making business became the Rozenbergs primary profession. Plans were drawn up to create a winery at The Gush Etzion junction and the Rozenbergs partnered with local Kibbutzim to plant vineyards and revive the wine industry in the Gush Etzion area. Today, there are more than 600 dunams of grape vines planted in and around the area.
By 1995, a decision was made to expand the varieties of wine being made and we chose to focus on growing the business. That very year the winery produced an estimated 5,000 bottles of wine. The following year the grapes began to be picked from the Gush Etzion area and what had been Shraga’s dream was now very much a reality. It was when the Rozenbergs reached this point that both Shraga and Tamar z”l left their previous positions in other fields and focused fully on this new endeavor.
At this point in time the surrounding Kibbutzim joined in what the Rozenberg family began and the renewal of vineyard growing in the area began as it was once before in ancient history. In 2005 a new boutique winery was inaugurated - The Gush Etzion Winery. Today, over 600 dunams of vineyards are planted throughout Gush Etzion, and at its center proudly stands the Gush Etzion Winery still run by the Rozenberg family. The Gush Etzion Winery portrays the renewal of wine tradition and Jewish agriculture which took place on this very land over hundreds of years ago. Its purpose is to establish the Gush Etzion region as one of the most important and abundant wine regions in the country of Israel and the world.
After the successful establishment of the winery, Shraga and Tamar z”l decided to expand the winery and build a tourist center beside it. Today, the winery has expanded even more with a dairy and fish restaurant, the Events Garden, a tourist garden and more. The Visitor’s Center has daily wine tours and tastings as well as an archeological garden that teaches about ancient wine making and it shows the great similarity between the traditional wine making process and its parallel of the modern process. Shraga, along with his son, Assaf, are present at the winery daily making sure that the experience is as exciting as ever.