Cremisan 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 grapes Zan - a very delicious types of local grapes. The etymology of the name already testifies to the typical agricultural vocation of the area, which has been devoted to vineyards all along.
In 1863, a young Italian missionary, Fr. Antonio Bellone, began to take care of many poor christian orphans in the Bethlehem area by offering them shelter and a proper religious and vocational education. For this purpose he opened the orphanages of Bethlehem and Beit Gemal.
Cremisan was founded a few years later as a religious educational house for the congregation of the Holy Family established by the same Italian priest. And in 1885 the Winery was opened to guarantee the self-sufficiency of the institute and also to give work to the poor people in the area.
A few years before his death, Fr. Bellone met Don Bosco, the founder of the Salesian congregation, and after considering their parallel missions of caring for poor young boys, he decided to become a Salesian and ask the community to support his social activities in the Holy Land. In addition, from 1957 to 2004 Cremisan has become an institute for philosophical and theological studies.
Today the area of Cremisan is one of the most beautiful localities in Judea, not only owing to the safeguarding of its ecological surroundings, but also owing to the patient work of the Salesian community which terraced the slopes, cultivated vineyards and olive groves, and afforested wide areas with one of the oldest pine-woods of the region during the last 100 years. Because of this, Cremisan is one of the most desirable destinations for picnics and excursions.
World renowned enologist Riccardo Cotarella – most noted for his Falesco winery in Italy – is now part of the Cremisan Winery, lending his professionalism and talent.