There are wine lovers who are fascinated about wine but only outside the gates of the winery. The drinking of wine, maybe matching wine with food and endless discussions about the merits of this wine against that, provides adequate satisfaction. Then there are a growing number who want to be a witness to the creation of a wine, to participate in how it is made. They yearn to smell the aromas during fermentation and have the challenge of blending aiming for that elusive result of 1+1=3, when the finished wine is hopefully better than the sum of its parts. Others are fascinated with the vineyard and the differences of ‘growing wine’ and ‘growing grapes.’ They want to experience working the land, coping with the vagaries of the seasons. For them, the question is how something as ancient and well established as a vine, with the humble, unpretentious grape as its fruit, can produce something as exalted and celebrated as wine. For these people buying, drinking, talking about wine is not enough. They want to become more involved, to get dirty in the earth and the wine itself. For those who want to participate more there are options.
Planting vines and making wine in the Land of Israel.
Any student of Zionism or wine lover knows Carmel Winery was founded by Baron Edmond de Rothschild in 1882. If we forget, just look at the winery logo. The founding of the future winery towns of Rishon Le Zion and Zichron Ya’acov was in that particular year, but it was also when the first experimental vineyards were planted. Carmel’s first winery, Rishon Le Zion Cellars, was established only in 1890 and the first time the brand name ‘Carmel’ was used was not until 1896, and that was initially for an export marketing company. The root of the word is Kerem-El, God’s vineyard. Of course, the founding of a winery usually dates from the first harvest or when the first wines are launched. In this case, it was when the very first vines were planted. Agudat Hacormim (the wine growers cooperative), registered in French as “SCV des Grandes Caves”, was founded in 1906.