Share |

The Birth Of Carmel Winery and Its Royal Parent

Long before Israel became a state in 1948, Baron Edmond de Rothschild had his eye on the terroir of this Middle Eastern country that borders on the Mediterranean Sea. 

Baron Edmond de Rothschild Photo courtesy of Carmel Winery

Although this area has a 5000-year history of winemaking, it didn’t become a “modern wine industry” until the 19th century. It was 1882 when the first Israeli settlers from Europe asked for Baron Rothschild’s help after encountering many problems in cultivating the land. They needed guidance due to their lack of expertise and unfamiliarity with the soil. The Baron known as the “Benevolent Provider” and owner of the famous Chateau Lafite Winery in Bordeaux sent representatives to Israel to assess the situation. Once there, they discovered that the climate and growing conditions in Israel were quite similar to that of Bordeaux and suggested planting wine vineyards. Acting on their advice, French rootstocks were imported from Bordeaux to Israel in 1882, along with the Baron’s advisory committee to help the settlers.

By 1889, with the Baron's financial assistance and instructions, construction of a winery in Rishon Lezion in the Galilee region was almost completed and it eventually became Carmel’s first winery and head office. And, by 1890, the first grapes were harvested. His second winery was built in Zikhron Ya’akov on Mount Carmel in 1892 and in 1895 Carmel Wine Co. was formed to export wines.

In 1957 James Rothschild, son of the ” Benevolent Provider”, passed ownership of the winery to the Winegrowers Association. The Carmel winery continued to grow and in 2013 a private investors group acquired control of Carmel Winery.

Not only is Carmel Winery the first winery in Israel, but it is also the largest wine producer here with four wineries and five wine collections. They have vineyards all over the country with the largest vineyards on the slopes of Mt. Carmel.  Approximately 3,472 acres of vineyards extend from the Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights in the north to the Negev in the south. The majority of Carmel’s most recent vineyards are planted in the Upper Galilee region, which is the source for most of the finest wines produced by the Carmel Winery.

Kayoumi vineyard near Meron Mountain in the Upper Galilee. Photo courtesy of Carmel Winery

I recently received three samples of Carmel Winery wines from their Private Collection. The Private Collection series consists of varietal and non-varietal high-quality wines from grapes that are grown in top vineyards throughout Israel. These wines are characterized by their fruit-forward styles and easy food pairing qualities.

Photo credit:  Penny Weiss

Carmel Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes that were harvested in the Galilee region. The wine is aged for eight months in French and American oak barrels. A lovely bouquet of berries, cherry, spice and chocolate pave the way for a juicy blend of blackberry, blueberry, plum, spice, licorice and chocolate. Vanilla and pepper round out a long finish.  It is nicely balanced with silky tannins.
Alcohol:  14%
SRP:  $15

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

Carmel Shiraz 2018 is 100% Shiraz grapes that were harvested in the Shomron, south of Galilee and a key wine region in Israel where Mount Carmel is. The wine is aged for eight months in French and American oak barrels. This is a very aromatic wine with notes of strawberry, spice, and hints of floral and earth. The palate is layered with blackberry, red raspberry, plum, cranberry spice, cloves and vanilla. Tannins are smooth and sweet spice lingers on a long finish.
Alcohol:  13.5%
SRP:  $15

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

Carmel Winemakers Blend 2018 is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot. The grapes are harvested from the Galilee region and the wine is aged for eight months in French and American oak barrels. A bouquet of red fruit, spice and floral set the stage for a palate filled with black raspberry, plum, pomegranate, vanilla and spice. A nice blend of fruit and savory with mocha and tart black cherry are the grand finale on a long finish.
Alcohol:  14%
SRP:  $15

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

All of the above wines are dry, refined and refreshing. Their easy-drinking style allows for pairing with a variety of dishes.  And the price to value ratio is impressive. All Carmel Winery wines are certified OU Kosher.

Until next time…



No votes yet

Recommended Reading

No related items were found.