Carmel Winery

Carmel Winery

Infobox Company
name = Carmel Winery

type =
genre =
foundation = 1882
founder = Edmond James de Rothschild
location_city = Rishon LeZion
location_country = Israel
location =
origins =
key_people =
area_served =
industry =
products =
services =
revenue =
operating_income =
net_income = $65million
num_employees =
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subsid =
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slogan =
homepage = []
dissolved =
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Carmel Winery is a vineyard and winery in Israel. Founded in 1882 by Edmond James de Rothschild, its products are exported to over 40 countries.

Company Profile

*No.1 producer of wine in Israel - 50% of market
*Two largest wineries in Israel
*Three new boutique wineries
*Israel's first & oldest exporter
*Largest Israeli exporter of wines, brandy, grape juice
*One of largest wine producers in the Eastern Mediterranean
*Largest producer of kosher wines in the world
*Parent Company: Societe Cooperative Vigneronne des Grandes Caves Richon e Zion & Zikhron Ya'akov Ltd (S.C.V.)
*Ownership Private vineyard owners -75% ; The Jewish Agency -25%.
*Core business Wines, Grape Juice & Brandy
*Wineries Rishon Le Zion; Zikhron Ya'akov; Yatir (50%);Ramat Dalton
*Vineyards 1,500 hectares (3,750 acres)
*Production 25 to 30 million bottles
*Export US $ 5 m. to 40 countries


Wine making in Israel can be traced to Noah as recorded in the Bible: Genesis 9:20,21 "And Noah began to be an husbandman and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken".

At the end of the 1870s groups of Jews immigrated to Palestine from Eastern Europe. Early setters often had no agricultural experience and the land in Palestine was difficult for farming. The earlier settlers sought support from outside Palestine. Representatives of the early settlements traveled to France where they met Baron Edmond de Rothschild, owner of Château Lafite. As a Zionist, Rothschild provided financial and moral assistance to the earlier setters. His first vineyards were planted near Rishon LeZion, south east of Jaffa/Tel-Aviv. In 1882, French rootstock was imported, and the Baron sent his own wine specialists to advise the pioneers in this enterprise. Construction began on a large wine cellar in Rishon LeZion. Later, a second winery was established in Zikhron Ya'akov, situated in the Carmel hills just south of Haifa .

In 1896, the first Carmel wines were presented at the International Exhibition of Berlin at a special pavilion devoted to the industries of the Jewish colony in Palestine. Over a hundred thousand people visited the exhibition, looked at the products, and drank a glass of Rishon LeZion wine.

A year later, a world gardening exhibition was held in Hamburg where the pioneers' wines were well received. Rishon wines won a gold medal at the Paris World's Fair in 1900.

In 1906, both the vineyards and the management of the two wineries were deeded to the winegrowers forming the "Societé Cooperative Vigneronne des Grandes Caves, Richon le Zion and Zikhron Jacob Ltd."

An interesting side not is that many of Israel's historical figures worked in the vineyards and in the wineries, and perhaps the two most famous were the first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion and his successor, Levi Eshkol.

Through the early decades of the twentieth century the wine business bloomed. Branches of Carmel Wine Co., were opened in Damascus, Cairo, Beirut, Berlin, London, Warsaw, and Alexandria and sales increased; particularly during the First World War when allied troops passed through Palestine. However, business fell sharply when the war was over. The industry lost its principal markets in Russia due to the Revolution, the United States because of Prohibition, and Egypt and the Middle East because of Arab nationalism. Many of the vineyards were uprooted and replanted with citrus trees.

However, during the Second World War, the industry began to grow again and with successive waves of immigrants, drinking habits gradually changed. In 1957, the estate of the Baron Edmond de-Rothschild deeded over the two wineries to the Cooperative of Winegrowers, the Societé Cooperative Vigneronne des Grandes Caves, by then, better known under the trade name Carmel Mizrahi in Israel and Carmel worldwide.

For some years after the end of the war, Carmel 's output was focused on sweet wines used for sacramental purposes. However, with the emergence of the new world in winemaking, Israeli winemakers sought new varieties of grapes and in 1971 Cabarnet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, the first varietal wines from Israel, were presented in the United States market.

In the early 80's, the wine industry in Israel fell upon hard times, but in the second half of the decade, wine became more popular and demand for quality stimulated tremendous improvements in the varieties of grapes being grown, cultivation of new growing regions and an updating of fermentation and production techniques.

Over the past few years, new state of the art wineries have been built, the existing wineries have been renovated and a new team of young, highly qualified winemakers have been employed. The constant search for improvement is now part of the fabric of the cooperative.

Exporting to over 40 countries, Carmel products are found in wine stores and retail chains around the globe.

Synopsis History

*1882 - Baron Edmond de Rothschild, co-owner of Chateau Lafite, first offered support to new villages of Rishon Le Zion & Zikhron Ya'akov; Recommended planting of vineyards
*1889 - Rothschild started to build wineries at Rishon Le Zion & Zikhron Ya'akov
*1895 - Carmel Wine Co. formed, to export wines of Rishon Le Zion & Zikhron Ya'akov, first in Poland, then in Austria, Britain and USA
*1902 - Carmel Mizrahi founded in Palestine to market & distribute wines to the cities of Ottoman Empire
*1906 - Cooperative formed - S.C.V. des Grandes Caves, Richon Le Zion & Zikhron Jacob Ltd (registration in French.)
*1957 - James Rothschild donated Rishon Le Zion & Zikhron Ya'akov Wine Cellars outright to S.C.V.

Recent Developments
*2000 - Yatir Winery built at Tel Arad
*2003 - Boutique winery built at Zikhron
*2003 - Carmel agree to sponsor 'Carmel Trophy for Best Eastern Mediterranean Producer' at I.W.S.C. in London
*2004 - Peter Stern (ex Mondavi & Gallo) from California appointed winemaking consultant
*2004 - New winery built at Ramat Dalton, Upper Galilee
*2004 - 'Handcrafted Wines of Israel' founded by Carmel

Rishon LeZion Winery

*Situated at Rishon LeZion, south of Tel Aviv, Israel 's fourth largest city
*Company head office
*Winery built 1890 by Baron Edmond de Rothschild
*Largest winery in Israel in terms of production
*Oldest industrial building still in use
*David Ben Gurion, Israel 's first Prime Minister, worked there
*First establishment in Israel to install electricity & telephone
*Renovation program in 1990's
*Used for production & bottling of wines, spirits & grape juice

Zikhron Ya'akov Winery

*Situated at Zikhron Ya'akov, south of Haifa
*Winery built 1892 by Baron Edmond de Rothschild
*Zikhron Ya'akov means 'in memory of Jacob', named after James Jacob Rothschild, Baron Edmond's *father, who bought Chateau Lafite
*Largest winery in Israel in terms of grapes received at harvest
*New boutique winery built in 2003
*Pilot, micro-winery for research & development
*Used for production of wine & blending of olive oil

Yatir Winery

*Winery situated at Tel Arad, north east Negev
*Tel Arad an archaeological site with 3,000 years of history
*Joint venture between Carmel (50%) and Gadash 'local wine growers ( 50%)
*Vineyards 'Yatir Forest , southern Judean Hills
*Small winery, state of the art equipment, receives grapes only from its own vineyards

Ramat Dalton Winery

*New winery at Ramat Dalton in Upper Galilee
*Receives grapes from Upper Galilee & Golan Heights

Carmel's Vineyards

Israel’s registered wine regions cover the country. Exported wines will show the growing region on the label.

The coastal regions of Shomron & Samson are Israel ’s traditional grape growing areas where vines were originally planted. The higher & cooler Upper Galilee , Golan & Judean Hills is where the focus is on quality. The main areas of recent development have been in the Upper Galilee and the Negev . The official wine regions are listed below.

Carmel has extensive vineyards throughout Israel , including some of the finest individual vineyard sites in the country. On average Carmel harvests about 25,000 tonnes of grapes – which is approximately 50% of Israel ’s total harvest.


This area, made up of the Upper Galilee, Lower Galilee and Golan Heights, extends southwards from the Lebanese border and covers the north of Israel . The Upper Galilee and Golan are generally accepted as Israel’s finest wine growing areas because of their cooler climate and higher altitude. The Upper Galilee is a mountainous area of plunging peaks & stony ridges, and the soils are heavy, gravelly but well drained. The Golan is a volcanic plateau with basalt, tuff soil. Both have snow in winter.

Carmel has vineyards in the central & northern Golan and is the leading winery presence in the premium Upper Galilee . The grapes from the finest vineyards go to Carmel ’s new winery at Ramat Dalton in the Upper Galilee .


This is Israel ’s largest wine growing region, benefiting from the Carmel Mountain range and breezes off the Mediterranean Sea . The main concentration of vineyards is in the valleys surrounding the winery towns of Zikhron Ya’acov & Binyamina. Soils are heavy, limey and the climate typically Mediterranean.

This is the largest region for Carmel which surrounds the Zikhron Ya’acov Winery. Zikhron Ya’acov receives more grapes at harvest than any other winery. The Zikhron Boutique Winery receives grapes from the Upper Galilee & Golan.

It was announced in early 2008 that a convert|150|acre|km2|sing=on wine park would be created on the slopes between Zikhron Ya'akov and Binyamina in order to promote tourism in the area and wine tourism in Israel in general. [Citeweb | url= | title=Israel seeks to become wine tourism destination | publisher=Globes | accessdate=2008-01-17 | date=2008-01-17]


The central coastal plain (known as Dan) and the rolling hills of the Judean Lowlands make up this region, which is the second largest in Israel. The soils are limestone, alluvial clay and loam and the area has a coastal Mediterranean climate: hot, humid summers and warm, mild winters.

A large region for Carmel , which supplies the Rishon Le Zion Winery. This is Carmel’s main blending and bottling facility.

=Judean Hills=

An underdeveloped but quality wine region . The central Judean Hills, west of Jerusalem and the southern Judean Hills have proved to be wine growing regions of the highest quality. Region is characterized by warm days and cool nighttime temperature. The soils are thin limey, stoney and the higher mountains receive snow in winter.

Carmel has premium vineyards in Yatir Forest, the largest forest in Israel, which is situated in the southern Judean Hills. These vineyards, which are up to 900 meters above sea level, supply the boutique Yatir Winery.


A popular area for vine growing in ancient times has recently been planted with vineyards in the higher regions. These range from the southern Negev Hills, which is dessert, to the semi arid north east Negev Hills. Soils are sandy to loamy (loess). The temperatures range from very hot during the day , with cooler evenings and cold nights. The vineyards are often shrouded in mists during the morning hours.

Carmel is the pioneer of the Negev with its high quality Ramat Arad vineyard situated in the north east Negev plateau – 500 meters above sea level.


External links

* [ Official website]

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