Kadma winery in the heart of Judan Hills is the only winery in Israel that uses large clay vats [or in a more scientific name, earthenware casks] for fermenting its wine. This is an ancient form of fermenting wine still somewhat popular in Eastern Europe.
The earthenware casks at Kadma Winery have the capacity to ferment 10,000 liters of wine at a time and were baked off with bee wax on the inside guaranteeing a tight seal of the clay at all times. They were sourced especially for the winery in Georgia by a specialist and then shipped over to Israel. Needless to say, no insurance company was willing to insure the unique shipment.
According to tradition, the vats are meant to be buried in the ground for long periods of time. Soil temperatures in Israel would not allow this [the winery did consult the Meteorological services initially but they confirmed Israel’s soil is too warm] As a result, the vats remain standing upright in the cool rooms of the winery.
Kadma is small family winery is headed by wine maker Lina Slutzkin who was born in Georgia and had a 20 year career at Intel before attending the Soreq Wine Making School. Lina was the person on the ground to oversee the ordering and packing of the vats when they were shipped to Israel. The winery under the consulting of Winemaker Dr. Arkadi Papikyan makes a semi sweet Chenin Blanc as well as single variety Merlot, Syrah [the later, has won a medal at the Gold Cluster competition in Israel in 2013] a dry Reserve, and a Port style wine as well.
The winery has a large visitor center with an outdoor patio in Kfar Uriya where guests can watch a movie about the unique wine making process, try the wines and inspect the vats closely.