Eran Goldwasser is the gifted young man who oversees Yatir’s vineyards and winemaking processes.
Eran has brush-cut black hair and a handsome, happy smile. There is an air of contentment about him: he is clearly satisfying a deep personal passion with the wines he produces, utilizing the experience he has gained while working at wineries in Australia, and through his inspiring explorations in India and Japan. He is a happy and successful winemaker.
Eran explains that the dryness of the Negev Desert can actually be an advantage, if the balance of everything is right:
The goal in growing grapes that produce quality wine is to balance vine growth (both leaves and bunches) and create an efficient “sun-harvesting machine.” When supplied with too much water, the grapevine grows excessively and the grapes can’t fully ripen. It is no longer efficient in transforming sunlight into sugar, aroma, and color molecules. So an arid region has an inherent advantage in limiting vine growth, and can potentially produce very high-quality wines. But too much stress [from lack of water] can also throw the vine off-balance and hinder quality.
We describe Yatir Forest as a “semi-arid region.” It is not a desert, but the rainfall here—about twelve inches annually—is less than the Mediterranean standard. So, with a measured addition of drip irrigation, we are able to grow vines that are naturally balanced. That’s the basis of our winemaking.