In 1863, a young Italian missionary priest living in Bethlehem, Fr. Antonio Belloni, began to take care of many poor Christian orphans in the town by offering them shelter and a proper religious and vocational education. For this purpose, he opened two orphanages, one in Bethlehem and one in Beit Gemal, and still, nowadays he is remembered as Abu El Yatama, the “Father of the orphans”…

Location and origin of the name

Cremisan 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.

the “fruits” of cremisan

The Cremisan Winery has been managed for more than a century by the Salesians, and still today, its revenues represent a valuable source of support for the variety of educational, socio-recreational, and spiritual advancement activities and opportunities they provide to most disadvantaged children and young people in the Middle East, a region dramatically torn by war, poverty, and instability.

Part of the local grapes used for our wines is grown in the Salesian vineyards of Beit Gemal and Cremisan, while the rest are supplied by small local farmers, therefore supporting local economic development


The Salesian Province of the Middle East, the legal owner of the Winery, runs and manages the property with the support of Fadi Batarseh (Winemaker / Executive Director), Jabra Taweel (Accountant), and several lay professionals and employees.

Since 2007, the winery has benefited from the precious support and technical advice provided by Dr. Riccardo Cotarella, renowned worldwide. and Dr. Stefano Cimicchi, in the promotion of the Cremisan experience on the Italian territory. Since 2008, the Italian NGO VIS, thanks to several international donors, has contributed to enhancing the wine’s quality by providing training to local staff, and upgrading building capacities, machinery, and promoting products at a local and international level.


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-vinifications, 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. Nowadays, these local wines represent 95% of the winery’s export.

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