In 1984 when the first Yarden and Gamla wines were launched, they were recognized as Israel's first world-class wines. Since then, the Golan Heights Winery has repeatedly won the highest recognition at major international wine exhibitions when competing against fine wines from around the world. The gold medals, awards and certificates that now decorate the winery's hospitality room would satisfy many famous established wineries, let alone one that is only 18 years old. The story began when the Golan Heights was identified as being ideal for the production of premium wine grapes.
The chief winemaker is Victor Schoenfeld, a graduate of the University of California at Davis. His team includes three associates, all professional winemakers educated in California, Burgundy and Bordeaux. Between them they have experience in California, France, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina. In addition, the winery consultant, Peter Stern, from California, also remains actively involved. The winemakers ensure that the special benefits of the grapes from the Golan Heights are transformed into one of the many wines they produce under 3 labels: Yarden, Gamla and Golan. The establishment of a microwinery for experimental winemaking enables them to use the very latest scientific advances in winemaking and grape growing techniques.
The Galilee (or Galil) is the most northern, and generally considered the best, appellation in Israel. The highest quality area within the appellation is the Golan Heights (or simply the Golan), the coldest region in Israel. The vineyards on this volcanic plateau rise from 400 meters (1,300 feet) above sea level to 1,200 meters (3,900 feet) and receive snowfall in the winter. The Golan Heights Winery is located in the town of Katzrin, in the central Golan.