Our story

In 1988, almost by chance, Eli Ben Zaken planted the first modern-day vineyard to be found in the Judean Hills, in the backyard of his home in Ramat Raziel. Within four years’ time, family and close friends came together to harvest the grapes that would become the winery’s very first wine – Castel Grand Vin 1992.
Though he was a novice pioneer, Eli was a “very serious amateur” from this first harvest – he aimed for the highest, most meticulous standards, as accustomed in the finest wine regions. He envisioned a thriving family winery that would offer future generations the chance to take part in a shared creation, for generations to come.

the family

Eli’s children, Ariel, Eytan and Ilana, carry on the tradition. Ariel, who spent two years studying winegrowing and winemaking in Beaune, France, the wine capital of the Burgundy region, has been CEO of the winery for over 15 years. Eytan was entrusted with managing the family restaurant in Jerusalem, while continuing to study the art of winemaking with Eli, and holds the position of winemaker beside him to this day. Ilana, the eldest daughter, is the winery’s Director of Export & Procurement. All of the grandchildren have vineyards bearing their name in the kibutz of Ma’ale HaHamisha – Malbec “Na’ama”, Malbec “Itamar”, Cabernet “Bat-Ami”, Cabernet “Gideon”, Petit Verdot “Polly”, Merlot “Alon”, and Chardonnay “Aviv”.