THE CREMISAN MONASTERY & WINERY

THE CREMISAN MONASTERY & WINERY

The Cremisan Monastery stands on a hilltop between the village of Al-Wallajah and the city of Bethlehem. Its ancient terraces of fruit trees and vines plunge into Wadi Ahmed (Ahmed Valley), an area of outstanding natural beauty where gazelles still run until this day.

The Cremisan cellars have been in operation since the establishment of the Cremisan Monastery in the 19th century. Besides the winery, the site also houses the Salesian Sisters’ Convent and School. The land on which the winery lies is one of the only large agricultural areas remaining in the district of Bethlehem, with 55 families owning land there, along with the Salesian Sisters. The story of the wine produced in Cremisan goes back to the times of the Roman-Byzantine Empire when rock outcrops were cut and shaped for the different winemaking processes in the area where the Monastery now stands, leaving behind the 'tools of the trade.’ Wine production was introduced to the Monastery in the 1880s when the Salesian father Antonio Belloni planted the vineyards, which persist until this day.

Initially, Cremisan wine was transported to Bethlehem and Jerusalem on the backs of mules. With the increasing numbers of pilgrims, there was an increased demand for the wine, and since the mid-1990s, Cremisan wine has increased its production exponentially. To meet demand, the winery has recently acquired new machinery, rehabilitated the land, and sent the young men of the Monastery to Italy to develop the skills of fine winemaking. Today, the demand for Cremisan wine comes from both local and international markets. The blend of the indigenous Hamdani and Jandali grapes is a specialty of the Cremisan Winery.

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