Tura Winery.

A Family-Run “Estate Winery”.

Vered and Erez Ben Sa’adon founded Tura winery as a family-run estate-winery. To gain the definition “estate winery”, the winery needs to be the owner of the vineyard, and the wine must be produced at the winery through fermentation, aging and bottling. The vineyards do not have to be adjacent to the winery, but they should be in the same geographical area.

Vered and Erez Ben Sa’adon are very connected to Israel and to the land. They are visionaries with attention to even the smallest details. Half a year after they married, they took all their savings and bought 5 acres of vineyard in the village of Bracha. At first they sold their grapes to other wineries, but once political considerations entered the equation, those wineries encountered difficulties from European customers.

The couple decided to take a course in winemaking to produce wine themselves. Their decision proved to be exactly right, and Tura winery has become a great success story. In blind taste tests, where politics are not a factor, Tura wines have gained praise and awards, and the winery has become a pilgrimage site for wine lovers from Israel and around the world.

Erez Ben Sa’adon

Erez was born in Jerusalem, son of parents who were born in Morocco and Iran. At a young age he moved to the village Kochav Hashahar. He served in the IDF’s paratroopers brigade, and after his discharge he knew he would return to working the land, his first love. Erez is an entrepreneur, a man of dreams and vision who sees the big picture and is meticulous about details. He believes in overseeing the entire production process, from growing grapes till the marketing – so it’s really not surprising that he opened an “estate winery” together with his wife.

Every stone that he touches in the vineyard, he feels that he is realizing the vision of Jeremiah “You shall still plant vineyards in the mountains of Samaria.”

Vered Ben Sa’adon

Vered’s family history is particularly impressive: her Jewish grandmother, Liesje de Vries, was 15 years old when World War II hit the Netherlands. During the war years, the family moved from one hiding place to another. At first Liesje was separated from her family and lived for a while on an island in northern Holland, while she kept a diary – just like another well known Dutch Jewish girl, Anne Frank. After the war, Liesje married a Holocaust survivor, and the couple had two sons.”When my father was 8 years old, his father passed away. My grandmother remarried, this time to a Dutch non-Jewish widower named Roel Meyer. Meyer had a daughter from a previous marriage, and that girl is my mother” recalls Vered. Liesje’s Jewish son fell in love with his non-Jewish stepsister, Els.

 

It was Els who began to get actively involved with Judaism, and interested in the cultural and religious past of her husband, Joel. They went to a local school for religions, but no one could answer the questions Els (today Rebecca) asked. The Jewish side of the family, some of which were already living in Israel, helped the young couple and finally they found themselves on the way to Israel with their two small daughters. After a long time of study, Rabbi Goren converted them.

Vered grew up in Jerusalem, and was considered a very opinionated young girl. When she was 15, she met the young man who would later become her husband, Erez. When she was at the end of the 11th grade they were engaged, and they married during her senior year. Vered was pregnant when she went to take her final math exam, and by the time she graduated with a BA in education the couple had three children. Today they are the proud parents of five children.

As a partner-founder of the Tura Winery, Vered became “the spokesperson of Samaria”. People taste their wine, listen to her personal legend and the story of the winery, and this sometimes helps to change prejudicial views.

 

History

In 1997, the young Ben Sa’adon couple looked for a place to settle down, and they decided to buy land in the village of Bracha. They took money they received as wedding gifts and invested in the purchase of 20 acres. One of the fathers helped to buy the first tractor, a grandmother and an aunt helped in the purchase of grapevines, volunteers and friends came to plant from sunrise to sunset.

After waiting four years for kashrut reasons, they sold their grapes for the first time to one of the major Israeli wineries. It was only in the summer of 2003 that they opened the Tura winery with 4 barrels, in a building that served the village’s first settlers. The entire Ben Sa’adon family took part in the work, including the small children. The grapes reached the winery with much excitement, and the work was done by hand with a lot of love and joy.

With beginners’ enthusiasm, they sent their first wine to the “Golden Cluster” competition, and surprisingly won the first medal for Tura Winery. Many more esteemed medals and honors would join it in the coming years.