Cremisan Winery, the First Winery in Palestine
Cremisan Winery is the first winery in Palestine, established in 1885 by Italian Monks to ensure the survival of the congregation and to help poor people and orphans. Also, to give work opportunities to local people and provide wine to churches around Bethlehem and Jerusalem Area. Don Antonio Belloni came up with the idea of winemaking when he started working to take care of poor and orphaned children in 1863. His missionary purchased 64 hectares of land between the Beit Jamal, and Cremisan Valley and built the first wine cellar. The cellar was in the hill’s natural caves where used to be the 7th-century Byzantine monastery. Today, the new cellar, olive groves, and vineyards are inside the wall of the Gilo settlement. Nearby are pine forests, a sports center, and a small cemetery.
First Winery to Test the Genetic Analysis of the Local Palestinian Grapes
Cremisan was the first winery to produce wines from local Palestinian grapes and compete in different international competitions and the first winery to test the genetic analysis of the local Palestinian grapes to see how many different varieties Palestine really has. The main grape varietals that grow in their vineyards are Dabouki, Hamdani, Jandali, Baladi, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Petit Verdot and Merlot. The best grapes are used to make their distinct red and white wines. Cremisan has a unique distillery from 1974 made from copper, from which Cremisan produced its Brandy now aged for 35 years in oak barrels. In 2020 Cremisan also started to make a unique Arak from Dabouki grapes at 53%.