Ruth and Elie Benhaim founded Benhaim Family Winery in 1970 but its history goes back generations.
Our love affair with wine goes all the way back to 1880 to the village of Botoşani in Romania’s Kutner province, an area famed as Romania’s principal wine region.
Ruth’s great-grandfather, Aharon Binder, who came from a family of barrel-makers, lived in the village and was renowned for making wine barrels from the oak trees growing in that region (the name Binder means “large barrel builder”). Shmuel Boutnarou, the son of another family of barrel-makers in the same village (the name Boutnarou means “builds small barrels”), worked for Binder and later on married his daughter Haya.
In 1932, the couple established their own barrel-making company in the village where Haya produced wine that she sold in the workshop.
After World War Two, at the beginning of 1947, Shmuel and Haya Boutnarou made Aliyah, bringing their children to Israel. He rebuilt his workshop in Haifa, continuing his profession as barrel-maker together with his two sons, providing barrels to Carmel Mizrachi Wineries. Haya continued to make wine at home for her family.
In 1964 Elie Benhaim met Ruth and started to work as an apprentice barrel-maker in the large wine barrel factory that the Boutnarou family had built in Migdal HaEmek.
At their wedding in 1968, Ruth and Elie received a gift of a beautifully decorated oak wine barrel that was hand-made by the family, and they started making their own wine.
In 1970 Ruth and Elie Benhaim founded their eponymous family winery, making and selling wine at their house in Ramat Gan, and after 27 harvests opened a boutique winery in Kfar Azar. A decade later the winery moved to a large, new building in Ramat Hasharon – where it continues to operate today.
But despite all the changes and expansions, history and tradition is carefully maintained in the basement of the family home, where Ruth and Elie keep their collection of hand-made wines from the last 47 harvests.