Israeli authorities lift wine ban

  • Wednesday 7 January 2009

Sacramental wine produced in Bethlehem for a Christian charity based in the UK has finally been cleared for export by Israeli authorities following months of embargo.

Cremisan wine label

Approximately 12,000 bottles of Cremisan Vineyards wine, destined for parishes across Great Britain, had been held in the Israeli port of Haifa since October 2008.

‘The soldiers have told Cremisan that the wine constitutes "a security risk”,’ said the Independent Catholic News last month.

According to UK importer, 5th Gospel Retreats, Israel has now cleared the wine for shipment.

The wine is made in Beit Jala, a suburb of Bethlehem, and although the winery’s main building is officially in Jerusalem, Israel, the storeroom on the other side of its parking lot is in Palestinian territory. It is produced by a Roman Catholic Order, the Salesians of Don Bosco.

The Order produces several wines, including dessert and sparkling styles. Four wines are imported to the UK, mainly for religious purposes, including a dry white altar wine called Messa, and Star of Bethlehem, a Cabernet Sauvignon.

The wines are organically produced, and harvested mainly by local Palestinian families.

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