Treasure Trove celebrates Passover and remembers Israel’s first vineyards

As we drink our four cups of wine at the Passover seder, many of us will be drinking wine from Israel.

We’ll be continuing a tradition which began in 1882 when the first experimental vineyards were planted in Rishon LeZion with the financial and moral support of Baron Edmond de Rothschild, a French Zionist, philanthropist and owner of the Chateau Lafite winery in Bordeaux. French rootstock was imported and Rothschild sent his own wine experts to advise the Jewish pioneers.

The Carmel Wine Company was formed in 1895 to export wine to Poland, Austria, Great Britain and the United States. Carmel Mizrahi was founded in 1902 to market and export the wine within the Ottoman Empire. 

As illustrated on this label, a Carmel wine won a gold medal at the Paris World Fair of 1900, and it was also presented in 1906 in Vienna at the International Exhibition of Hygiene, which presumably was comforting for consumers of Israeli wine in the early 1900s.

This label depicts two of the 12 spies who were sent by Moses to inspect the Land of Israel and report back on their findings. They came back with a cluster of grapes that was so large it had to be carried on a stick.

The label was printed by A.L. Monsohn Lithographic Press, founded in 1892 with a printing press in the Old City of Jerusalem. The business closed in 1992, but a grandson of the founders helped establish Keter Press, one of Israel’s leading printing establishments.

The winery in Rishon LeZion closed in 2017, but the Carmel Winery continues to produce 20 million bottles of wine a year from its other properties. If one of those bottles finds its way to your seder table, enjoy this taste of Israel and have a Kosher and Happy Passover. L’chaim.