THE NEGEV – THE GATEWAY TO THE DESERT
The Negev has been the stage of great moments of history. Abraham established his home in Be’er Sheva, the Nabateans passed through it on caravans of camels laden with precious goods. The Negev today has become one of Israel’s most popular tourist sites.
Many different peoples have populated the Negev since times immemorial. The unusual climatic conditions in the Negev desert together with the loamy soil combine to give the grapes a unique taste. Moreover, the Negev’s scarce rainfall, temperatures plunging to 4 degrees Celcius and soaring up to 40 degrees Celcius during the day creat uniquely tender grapes.
A DREAM BORN IN THE DESERT
The very first boutique family-owned winery in the Negev, was created in 1997 by Alon and Nira Zadok. Their dream was to establish a winery with grapes grown in the Negev-Desert. First they planted 2.47 acres of the Cabernet Sauvignon near Kadesh Barnea village, despite the sceptics view that that quality grapes could not grow in the desert. Their first wine production went to market in 2000 and lo and behold, sold out immediately, for the unusual climatic conditions combined with their tender loving care of the vines, turned out to be a big advantage rather than a disadvantage like they had initially thought.
Inspired by this success, they planted an additional 2.47 acres of Merlot and once again they rapidly ran out of stock. Litlle by little Alon planted larger and larger crops and produced larger quantities of wine. His wine’s resounding success convinced his family to join in and launch the Kadesh Barnea Winery. But they didn’t want to be just another home-grown winery; they had greater aspirations. So the couple send their eldest son, Yogev and his wife Eden off to study the secrets of winemaking in Italy. The young couple put their noses to the grindstone, and did a 3-year course in wine technology in Florence, Italy, and upon their return applied their knowledge to the burgeoning family enterprise. With such valuable input and such enthusiasm it is hardly surprising that the enterprise grew steadily.
Over time Kadesh Barnea winery has branched out to a larger area of land all over the Negev, and is now called Ramat Negev. The family has planted plots of Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay grapes as well. The purchase of cutting-edge winemaking equipment has helped create top notch boutique wine that is pleasing palates far and wide.