From ABC News

Israeli Grape Harvest Produces One of the World’s Great Wines


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Eli Gilbert Ben-Zaken, the founder of Domaine du Castel, one of the world’s most prominent wineries, had a gut feeling that Monday was the perfect time to harvest his grapes.

wine harvest

Thai workers, Israeli soldiers and about 45 students participated in the annual wine harvest at Israel’s world-renowned Domaine du Castel winery.


“I imagine a lot of the smaller wineries are harvesting with a scientific method and not a gut feeling. But, we are definitely operating under a gut instinct,” Ben-Zaken told “The decision of the day of the harvest is so important. It’s irreversible and it’s going to be what you’re getting for the next two years.”

On that gut feeling, about 45 students, Israeli soldiers and Thai workers woke up at 3 a.m. to handpick the ripe grapes at Ben-Zaken’s kosher winery in the Judean Hills in Moshav Ramat Raziel, just west of Jerusalem.

The harvesters, who typically wake up at 6 a.m. and work until the late afternoon or evening, represent a broad swath of cultural backgrounds all coming together to produce the kosher wine.

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