“I have always loved wine”, says Johnny Stern of the Stern Winery at Kibbutz Tuval. “At some point I began to produce wine at home for personal consumption. The truth is”, Johnny smile, that someone commented on the quality of my wine, so I founded this winery. On principle.”
When visitor enter the Stern Winery the will notice two things: one is a wall covered with certificates, medals and trophies from competitions in Israel and around the world, and the second is Johnny Stern – the man and the winery – with all his 200cm (6.56 feet – don’t take us at our word, we didn’t have good view). Johnny, a smiley redhead man radiating serenity and confidence, came from Brazil as a young man and lives with his family at Kibbutz Gadot.
“I established the winery in 2004 with 1,200 bottles, while learning the field with the help of the internet and instruction books. Later on I extended my knowledge at the Tel-Hi College, but my main learning was from the nine grape harvests I conducted. This year I have already harvested grapes for 19 thousand bottles. As for the level of the wine goes, the proof is on the wall. The most recent medal is from last week.”
Another thing that changed for Johnny this year is the addition of white wine to the repertoire. “This year I created Sauvignon Blank. In the reds I work with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlo, Shiraz and Petit Verdure, from vineyards in Ramat Zvi, Ramot Naftali, Safsufa, Kefar Shamai and here in Tuval.”
During the visit in his kingdom, Johnny will unroll the short history of the winery before his visitors, and, to the extent of their interest, will walk them through the production process, from grape harvesting, through the giant tanks on location and the different types of barrels in the monitored rooms, up to the famous vintner’s tasting. Immediately afterwards Johnny will lead the visitors to their own wine tasting seated around a table, where he will be glad to answer any questions. Of course visitors will also be able to purchase some bottles of wine.
The Stern Winery is the life’s work of one great person with an even greater passion. “Only last year I quit my work as a regional sales manager of a large company, and thus realized, two years late, my dream to retire at the age of 55. I am happy. Here I am the only person in production, marketing and sales. I am even a charming stewardess at times.”