The community settlement of Psagot is located on the peaks of the Benjamin region mountains, 900 meters above sea level, east of the city of Ramallah, overlooking the Wadi Kelt basin, the Jericho Valley, the Dead Sea and the Edomite Mountains. On the eastern side of the settlement, facing the breathtaking scenery, the Berg family planted vineyards and orchards. In the course of working the ground, an opening was discovered which led the family to an amazing cave from the period of the Second Temple. The cave was part of an ancient array of caves, which according to one archaeological version, equates the location with the Biblical city of Ai, one of the cities conquered by Joshua bin Nun. Slightly above the cave, a second cave was discovered in which an olive press and wine press from the Second Holy Temple era were uncovered. In the 1980s, the Berg family settled in Psagot. The father, Meir, an engineer and mathematician, planted vines for grape consumption and expanded the agricultural area to plant cherry and nectarine orchards. In 1998, he planted the first grape vineyard for wine production, 18 dunam of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The winery concept took root deeply within the son, Yaakov, and his wife Naama. In 2002, the winery was established by the young couple in the heart of the vineyard which had expanded, and it, too, grew. Today it stands on 40 dunam of wine vineyards owned by the Psagot Winery.
The ancient cave serves as a large wine barrel cellar next to impressive stainless steel tanks and other winemaking equipment. The wine passes from the stainless steel tanks to the oak wood barrels in the cave in which the wine is aged. The cave’s cooling system rarely needs to be activated, as the naturally cool conditions preserve the constant temperature, which during the winter does not go below 12 degrees Centigrade, and during the summer does not rise above 18 degrees Centigrade. The natural humidity stands at 90%.
The Psagot vineyards are planted on hard, rocky limestone terrain which is terraced in the Mediterranean Greek-Italian fashion. In order to facilitate the vine’s absorption into the ground, holes were drilled into the ground so that the vine’s roots would take hold well below the ground surface. The distance between vines is one meter, and the yield is low – about 600 kilograms per dunam. The terraced terrain makes harvesting difficult, but the 900-meter altitude and the snow which covers the vineyard in the winter compensate for the aforementioned difficult growing conditions ultimately yielding extremely high-quality grapes. The entire harvest is performed by hand in the early morning hours. The short distance between the vineyards and the winery enables the grapes to arrive at the winery within an hour from the time they are harvested.
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