Cremisan was founded in 1885 by the Italian missionary priest Antonio Belloni to guarantee work opportunities for the poor people in the area. Now days it is still run by the Salesian of the Monastery, and lies on the northern slope of Mount El Ras, beside Beit Jala, the biblical Gilo (Joshua 15:51). It is a beautiful and serene area, only 5 km away from Bethlehem and 12 km from Jerusalem. According to the most reliable etymological interpretation, the actual name Cremisan comes from Kerem Zan-Vineyard of the Zan grapes- and refers to a variety of autochthonous origins. The name already reflects the typical agricultural vocation of the area, which has been devoted over centuries to vineyards, as well as the growing of olive and fruit trees.
Cremisan Winery was the first winery to produce wines from local Palestinian grapes, which was an eye-opener to many Palestinian and Israeli wineries to the potential of these local table grapes.
It all began with the thesis of Fadi Batarseh (Trento and Udine University) in collaboration with Hebron University and the genetic center at San Michele All’Adge.
Testing over 64 different samples from all around the West Bank to establish the number of different genotypes that exist in Palestine. The results where astonishing, only 21 different genotypes were identified and documented in an international publication with the name Molecular Identification and Genetic Relationships of Palestinian Grapevine Cultivars!
After several micro-vinification, the winery decided to use only 4 varieties to make their special local wines. Dabouki, Hamdani and Jandali were the 3 whites chosen and the only red grape variety was the Baladi.