The winery itself is a maze of chambers, halls, cloisters and tunnels that are closed to the public. An underground tunnel connects the monastery to the winery, allowing the monks easy access to the winery regardless of weather conditions. Even on the hottest days, the temperature remains a pleasant 18c – 20c. In the past there were huge concrete containers here but today the winery has several stainless steel fermentation tanks. The long corridors between the dark cooling chambers are currently lined with hundreds of oak barrels in several tiers that contain aging wine.
In the past these corridors served as shelters for the monks during the fierce battles that took place in the region in the 1948 War of Independence and the 1967 Six Day War.
The monastery has around 400 dunam of vineyards with over 20 vine varieties. These include Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from the Bordeaux region, Pinot Noir and Blanc from Burgundy, Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer from Alsace, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling Grenache, Muscat and Alicante. The vineyards are planted in the grounds surrounding the monastery-heavier on its north side and lighter, lime soil on its southern side. All grapes are harvested manually.
The simple Alicante variety is used as a basis for numerous wines. The monastery’s Pinot Noir, reminiscent of Burgundy Pinot Noir, has been cultivated and produced for over 40 years. The Gewürztraminer’s is reminiscent of Alsace wines and recently the winery received Tokai vines, used to produce a marvelous Hungarian dessert wine