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Tulip Winery – a kosher family owned winery in the Galilee with an altruistic purpose

Tulip Winery frontIn 2010 a few wineries went kosher, including Flam Winery and Tulip Winery. I already wrote about the Flam Winery before here and again recently here, but now I am getting the chance to write the story of the Tulip Winery that is rightfully deserves. The tulip winery is a very different beast, a winery that was built in and around a city of disabled individuals and one that takes its advocacy for disabled citizens of Israel quite seriously. I wrote initially about the winery here, but I will take a bit more time to talk about them now, in this space.

Until 2010, Roy Itzhaki, the CEO of Tulip winery would often say that he was the biggest non-kosher winery in Israel. But, not entirely by his own choice. The issue other than having supervision, in this case was the fact that many of the inhabitants of Kfar Tikvah (City of Hope), which is a city for teaching its inhabitants skills to interact with the world around them, work at the winery. Kosher supervision has some issues around disabled people working around wine, for many technical and complicated reasons. That said, in 2010, after YEARS of working hard to make his dual desires a reality, Itzhaki finally succeeded in convincing a kosher supervision that he can make things work. The kosher supervision world is one that is not too fast to take on hard challenges and changes. Still, Itzhaki did not give up and after 20 organizations came and left, they all said the same thing, fire the disabled employees or we cannot help you. Finally, according Deborah Raub, from, in an article on Tulip Winery, Itzhaki ran into a Rabbi Chazkal and things changed very quickly. Itzhaki was not going to undermine the very reason for his winery’s existence in Kfar Tikvah, nor was he going to undermine the work and conviction he showed by hiring 30 of its inhabitants to work in his winery. Still, the real reality of business was staring him in the face. He could not continue to produce wine at the scale he was at and not sell them in a kosher wine store, supermarket, or abroad. He had to find a way out of the conundrum, and the rest of the story is the kind of thing that makes me proud of being a Jew!

Tulip Winery Tasting BarRabbi Chazkal looked at the situation and realized that this was too unique a story and Itzhaki was truly building his winery, its reputation, and advocacy, for altruistic reasons, not for a gimmick or a nice sales pitch. So, Rabbi Chaski advised he come and meet Rabbi Shmuel Vozner with him. As Raub describes, Rabbi Shmuel Vozner is a Rabbi with hardline leanings, but as the story shows, he is also filled with the kind of intelligence and Chachma that makes me so proud to be Jewish. Vozner listened carefully to Itzhaki and said something that none of his 20 predecessors had: “There is a conflict between the mitzvah of halakha and the mitzvah of employing these people. It is such an important mitzvah that you are doing with these people, let’s find a way.”

Reading the story, it was clear that Rabbi Chazkal and Rabbi Vozner were the Chachamim here. Rabbi Chazkal knew that every supervisory organization was not going to take a chance and go out on the limb. Rather they would use the classic hacksaw approach to pruning a rose, way over the top. What was required here was a very precision and tactical approach, something that had not been done before, and something that no organization would do on its own, Rabbi Chazkal knew that the only real answer is to go to a man that had the strength of conviction and Torah and knowledge, that NO ONE would doubt, and let Itzhaki prove his conviction to the man and than if it is meant to be, it will happen. Read the rest of this entry

2010 Tulip Just Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 Dalton Rose, and 2010 Golan Moscato

We were hanging with friends this weekend and we brought over a few wines and they were so kind to host us for the Shabbos. These are the wines we enjoyed. The wines were all from the 2010 vintage, which was a total accident, but funny. Also, there was a wine that is all new to the kosher world, Tulip Winery. Tulip is a winery that has long been one of Israel’s top wineries. On an aside, the 2010 Dalton Rose had no finish, and was somewhat of a dud. I am not sure if it was the bottle or me, but clearly others like this bottle and I did not have the same wonderful experience. I will try this bottle again soon, so that I can either corroborate or change my tasting notes.

In 2003, the Yitzhaki family fulfilled a special dream of theirs and established a boutique winery that combines top quality wine production, alongside contribution to the community. The family chose to locate the winery on a hillside, in the northern edge of the Carmel Mountain, in a small pastoral village, Kfar Tikva, overlooking the magnificent views of the Jezreel Valley.

Kfar Tikva – “Village of Hope”, is a community settlement for people with special needs, which strives to allow the disabled community to develop and realize their potential. The wonderful combination of the village’s vision and the family’s desire to make wine, resulted in an exciting wine industry model that employs members of the village and provides them with a business platform that integrates them in the labor force, just like any other person.

Tulip Winery produces about 100,000 bottles of wine per year, sold all over Israel, and in several countries around the world.

There was a very long conversation on Rogov’s forum about Tulip going kosher, you can find that here.

Thanks so much to our wonderful friends for hosting us over this past Shabbat, my wines notes follow below:

2010 Tulip Just Cabernet Sauvignon – A-
The nose on the dark garnet colored wine saris off closed but quickly explodes with chocolate, cedar, tobacco, black currant, raspberry, plum, and vanilla. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is rich in the mouth with almost mouth coating tannins, nicely integrating tannins, raspberry, black currant, almost tar flavors that remind me of netofa’s blend, and plum. The mid palate flows off the mouth with lovely acid, more tannin, cedar, chocolate, tobacco, and tar. The finish is super long and spicy with lovely acid, chocolate, plum, black currant, and vanilla.

2010 Dalton Rose – Score: B to B+
The nose on this rose colored wine starts off nicely with peach, quince, plum, strawberry, floral notes, and ripe and sweet kiwi. The mouth on this medium bodied wine starts off nicely but ends with a complete dud. The mouth starts with more quince, plum, peach, kiwis, flowers, and strawberry. The mid palate is balanced with nice acid and a bit of orange peel. The finish is a nowhere to be found. There was no real outward sign of impact for this bottle, but I will try another bottle soon.

Golan 2010 Moscato – No Score – Just to say it was nice and pleasant, and a fine Moscato!

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