Two blends are available, a white blend produced from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Gewürztraminer grapes and another produced from Morbader, Syrah and Merlot grapes.
By United with Israel Staff
Shalva, the Israel Association for the Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, has reason to say, “L’Chaim! To Life!” Yossi Samuels, 35, the son of Shalva founders Malki and Kalman Samuels, in partnership with Herodion Winery, recently launched YOSSI wine, the first Israeli wine made by a blind and deaf person. It may also be the first wine bottle to include a Braille label.
“Yossi is a role model not only for the members of Shalva but for the world as a whole,” Kalman Samuels said, The Jerusalem Post reported. “We continue to learn from him that no dream is too big. We aspire [to a reality where] people with disabilities will integrate into all areas of life. Creating this wine is another of Yossi’s dreams fulfilled. Yossi’s connection to his environment, through taste and smell, and the fact that he is a sommelier, express themselves in the wine’s taste and the bottle’s design.”
Yossi, born healthy, was severely damaged after receiving the routine DPT shot when he was 11 months old, which left him blind, deaf and acutely hyperactive.
He is able to communicate only through sounds and by outlining Hebrew letters on his brother’s palm. However, due to his disabilities, he has heighten senses of smell and taste. These skills enhance his wine-making capabilities. He studied wine in Israel and France until he became a sommelier, a lifelong dream.
Two blends are available, a white blend produced from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Gewürztraminer grapes and a handshake blend produced from Morbader, Syrah and Merlot grapes, the Post reports..
YOSSI is presently available at Shalva’s gift shop in Jerusalem and James Richardson duty-free shops.
Shalva Founded After Miraculous Breakthrough
The Samuels couple founded Shalva in 1990 after they promised God that they would help disabled children if their own son, Yossi, would have a communication breakthrough. “My mother was distressed and friends, relatives and doctors urged us to have him put in an institution,” Avi, Yossi’s brother, said while touring the UK with Yossi to promote Shalva, according to The JC news. “My mother said she made a deal with God, that if she could find some way to communicate with her son, she would dedicate her life to helping people like him.”
It took eight years until a breakthrough was made. “We had a moment with a therapist – Shoshanna Weinstuck – when she was spelling Hebrew letters on his palm,” Avi continued. “Yossi understood his first word, ‘table’. His prison was broken down. Now he’s a challenging conversationalist.”
“I want to travel across the world, to Australia, South Africa, Japan,” Yossi said, according to JC. “I hope I can influence people and inspire them. I try to show them how I can get through my difficulties with happiness. I prefer to be open and out-going.”