The engineer who makes wine

By day, he’s a civil engineer. By night, Israeli Doron Yitzhaki is a winemaker, with a new label of blended global wines made from the best wines in the world.   Wine is a romantic business, says Israeli winemaker Doron …

By day, he’s a civil engineer. By night, Israeli Doron Yitzhaki is a winemaker, with a new label of blended global wines made from the best wines in the world.

 

Wine is a romantic business, says Israeli winemaker Doron Yitzhaki, but it’s a lot of hard work too, often with little financial reward. However, hard work doesn’t faze this engineer-by-day, winemaker-by-night (and weekends).

To merge his passion for winemaking with his passion for supplying people with excellent wine, in 2007 Yitzhaki started his own global label of wine blends with his brother and two other engineers from Israel, while still working as a freelance civil engineer on construction projects for large firms.

The four friends all maintain their day jobs, but run Fusion Global Winery, an international wine brand that has created 16,000 bottles of wine in Australia and Spain, in their spare time.

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Yitzhaki, who lives in Timrat, a communal settlement in the Lower Galilee, is the “tastemaker” who creates the wines. He brings the best blend of the best grapes from different parts of the world and creates individual high-quality wines.

These are wines without borders, and wine lovers around the world, have grown to trust his unique blending style, Yitzhaki tells ISRAEL21c.

Award-winning wine

The wines are now increasingly available in the US and Canada through the internet and in selected outlets, and the company is also looking to a third location now, possibly France to create its third blend of wine.

Yitzhaki decided to move into the wine business at the age of 38. He went to Adelaide University in Australia where he earned a diploma in oenology. In 2003 he founded the boutique, family run Tulip Winery in Kiryat Tivon with his father, who also made his fortune as an engineer.

In 2005, his wine at the Tulip Winery was awarded the high score of 88 from Robert Parker “the most famous wine critic in the world,” according to Yitzhaki, who adds that Parker “…can build or destroy a winery with one article.” This rating put Yitzhaki in the Number Two spot for winemakers in Israel, he says.

Not content to make fabulous wines, the company has a social conscience as well and employs mentally challenged folk to help make its wine.

“It is important to give to the community, so we’ve hired people with mental handicaps. We decided to make the wine and give back to the nearby Kfar Tikva community [a kibbutz-like community for people with special needs]. It’s a very successful boutique winery,” he says.

While Yitzhaki could have continued at Tulip and focused his energies on creating good wines in Israel, he decided to move on, and left Tulip in the hands of his father.

Why make shiraz in Israel

His vision, he explains, expands to the entire global village with a desire to sample and blend the best it has to offer. Why for example, he asks, should I make a shiraz in Israel when the best shiraz grapes come from Australia?

Tulip remains a family business, however, and when he’s not hard at work as an engineer, or building Fusion Global Wines on his evenings off, Yitzhaki still lends a hand.
Boutique wineries have to be a family affair, concludes Yitzhaki, whose children Adi and Tal (17, and 13 respectively), are also sometimes drafted in to help out.

“Everyone lends a hand. It’s not a hard job for them,” he tells ISRAEL21c, adding that “sometimes extra people are really needed to help out at wine parties or during harvest time.”

Wines from Fusion Global Winery are available at select locations in the US, Canada and Israel. In the US, look for them at the online store America Stateside Cellars, or in Mill Valley, California.

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About Karin Kloosterman

Karin Kloosterman is an award-winning environment news publisher who founded Green Prophet (www.greenprophet.com) to connect North Americans to issues that matter in the Middle East. She is the CEO of the Internet of Things startup flux, a company that is making social grow tools for urban farmers everywhere (www.fluxiot.com). Karin can be reached at karin (at) fluxiot.com.