The Yatir Winery is a small and high-quality winery. It is located in the Judean hills, south of
Jerusalem on Tel Arad, about 2,700 feet above sea level on the outskirts of the Yatir
Forest. The Tel and the winery lie about 18 miles west of the Dead Sea and about 18 miles east of
the city of Be’er Sheva.
Modern planting of Yatir Winery’s vineyards commenced in 1997. The winery began producing on two
levels of wine: Yatir and Yatir Forest, the latter being the winery's flagship
series. In 2004, Yatir introduced a Sauvignon Blanc wine and the following year a single-varietal
Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. In 2006, it came out with a varietal Viognier.
The Yatir region, located in the southern tip of the Judean Hills, has a rich and fascinating
history of wine production. The region’s wine industry dates back more than 2500 years, to the
first reign of the kings of Judah. A large center of Jewish settlement existed in this region
between the destruction of the Second Temple and the introduction of Islam. The region was
known as one of the finest for growing grapes for winemaking and from this very region, wines
were later exported to Egypt, Rome and across Israel.
David Ben Gurion had a dream of making the Negev region bloom and blossom. So when he wanted
to plant a forest in the Yatir region, he consulted experts to guide him through the process.
After numerous discussions and assessments, the agronomists determined that the region, which
was overly dry and warm, was unsuitable for planting trees. So, Ben Gurion said: “Replace
the experts!” and proceeded to plant the Yatir Forest. The forest, which borders the Negev
Desert and which was planted in a semi-arid region, became one of Israel’s largest forests.
The Yatir Forest was named after the Levite biblical city of Yatir located there.
The Yatir Winery itself was built at the foot of the Israelite Tel Arad Fort (an archeological
site), located 10 minutes away from the vineyards of the Yatir Forest. On the grounds of the
Yatir Winery, 180 ancient wine presses have been discovered. This small and exclusive winery is
a joint venture between local vine-growers and the Carmel Winery, who recognized the extraordinary
potential of the Yatir region. These days the winery produces 150,000 bottles of wine annually.
Over the years, this southern winery has turned into a symbol of the region. In recent years,
its wines have been rated among Israel’s top wines by local and international wine critics.
Shown below are photos taken at the Yatir Winery