Tel Arad Fort, Israel…Yatir Winery is not your typical Israeli winery. Nor is Eran Goldwasser, its chief winemaker. Located at the foot of the Israelite Tel Arad Fort (an archeological site), Yatir is but 10 minutes from the vineyards of the Yatir Forest. Eran studied at the University of Adelaide in Australia, where he majored in viticulture and viniculture. Eran also partook in grape harvests and winemaking in Barossa and McLaren Vale in Southern Australia. Upon his return to Israel and after a stint at Carmel Winery, in 2000 he became the founding chief winemaker for the new Yatir Winery, which was a joint venture between local vine-growers and the iconic Carmel Winery.
“We have the ideal climate,” says Eran, stressing the mix between a Mediterranean and desert climate. At close to 3000 feet above sea level, Eran grows premium grapes that ultimately become premium wines including Bordeaux’s all 5 tirah, sauvignon, and chanin Blanc. Within a year after the first harvest in 2001, Yatir began exporting its premium wines. Today, Yatir wines do well in the US including some of its more popular wines: Mt. Amasa ($42), Forest 2017 Red ($84.99), Petit Verdot ($44.99) and Forest 2018 ($76.99). Eran says that the robust sales are due to the efforts of its importer, Royal Wine Co. Nathan Herzog of Royal returns the compliment citing the winery’s quality wines and production. Of the 200,000 bottles, Yatir produces annually, 25% is for export, mostly to the US.
So how did the Covid pandemic affect sales? “Sales went up significantly,” responds Erin, which was in most part due to people staying home, and his plans for the future are predictably very upbeat.