The story in which Yossi recalls his first wine making experience under the tutelage of an elderly Persian woman [a mother of a friend] is a funny one. Persian Jews used to produce wine at home in Iran before the fall of the Shah and when Yossi had been asked to supply 400 KG of wine grapes to the woman back in Israel, he said that he would do so but would be interested in making the wine together with her.

On the specified day, anxious to begin the process, Yossi washed the grapes before the lady arrived. As soon as his teacher walked in the room, he understood that he made a mistake. The lady was “blessing” him with an entire arsenal of cuss words that would make anyone who understood Farsi, blush.

The following day, Yossi brought new grapes, this time he did not wash them, and made his first batch of wine alongside his teacher. Fifteen years have passed since Yossi made his first wine and realized that this was his calling. He then planted his own vineyards in the hills of Nes Harim, overlooking Jerusalem.

Katlav Winery is currently producing between 20 – 25K bottles a year and Yosi Itach is both the Vintner and the Wine Maker of this winery. Yosi is using an old world systme to cool his barrels of wine. There are 5 manmade caves at Katlav, all of which are insulated from outside temperatures. Keeping the barrels cool and conserving energy throughout the aging process of the wine.

On the day we visted Katlav winery as a part of our Judean Hills Wine Tour , Yosi treated us to a barrel tasting of his 2012 Cabernet Sauvinion well as the two special blends that are already available in the open market. The first is Nes Harim 2010 which is a blend of Merlot and Petit Verdot in equal parts. This is a unique blend for this winery and a great overall t. The 2nd blend we tried was Wadi Katlav 2010 which has a Cabrnet Sauvinion base [50%] as well as Merlot [25%] Petit Verdot [15%] and Cabernet Franc [10%], a wonderful wine that I simply had to take home.