"The time is right for us as a wine company and for me personally," said owner and winemaker Ernie Weir. "There's been a big demand from people who want to come and taste our wines, and we want to accommodate that."
Though Weir is still in negotiations with the county, he said he hopes to break ground on March 1 and complete the facility in time for this year's harvest. He described the barn-shaped winery as "fairly simple," with a stone building that will serve as a tasting room. Weir plans to increase Hagafen's production, which currently ranges from 6,000 to 9,000 cases a year, to 10,000 cases in the first year the winery is open.
Hagafen, which means "the vine" in Hebrew, produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and white Zinfandel. The winery is adding to its line-up with a Merlot and a sparkling wine to be released this year, followed by a 1999 Syrah. All the wines are certified Kosher, and all (except the 1991 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve) are "mevushal" -- flash-pasteurized to permit non-kosher individuals to handle the wines without compromising the wines' religious integrity.
For more on other Kosher wineries: